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How to remove Yahoo search virus (2018 update)

removal by Ugnius Kiguolis - - | Type: Browser hijacker

Yahoo Search virus – a legitimate search provider which has been actively misused by developers of browser hijackers

Yahoo Search virus
Yahoo Search virus is a term used to describe browser hijacker redirects to this search engine.

Questions about search.yahoo.com redirect

Yahoo Search virus is a legitimate search directory which is often exploited by browser hijackers while trying to reroute users' traffic. In reality, this search engine is developed by the widely known company and is entirely reliable. However, users infected with browser hijackers can often be redirected to Search.yahoo.com which has already been altered and filled with sponsored content. These redirects are typically performed on the affected web browser without the victim's permission, once he/she adds a search query to the browser hijacker's page. As a result, numerous online forums have been filled with claims about Search.yahoo.com virus.[1] 

Name Yahoo Search virus
Type Legitimate search engine misused by hackers
Danger level Low. Provides reliable services unless used by potentially unwanted programs
Main issue A vast of browser hijackers redirect users to search.yahoo.com once the search is performed via the hijacker's page
Distribution Bundling, unsafe sites, fake ads
Elimination If you notice a potentially dangerous program redirecting you to this search engine, check whether your system is infected with Reimage

The main reason why users have started discussing Yahoo Search virus is its misusage to display sponsored search results by impersonating legitimate services. Since browser hijackers are considered to be potentially unwanted programs, (PUPs) criminals try to find ways how to trick users into believing that they are trustworthy. Using legitimate Search.yahoo.com services is one of the methods to increase the program's credibility. 

If you have already noticed redirects by Yahoo Search virus on your IE, Mozilla, Chrome or another web browser, you should think what free software[2] have you recently installed on your PC. Usually, these unwanted activities are noticed after installing one of the following programs which might hide a browser hijacker inside:

  • Download manager;
  • PDF creator;
  • Video streaming software;
  • Etc.

As soon as browser hijackers are installed on the system, they initiate system changes, tracking of people's search sessions,[3] collecting their non-personally identifiable information, and causing ads or redirects to sponsored websites by using the so-called Yahoo Search virus.

Yahoo Search virus picture
Yahoo Search virus applies malicious techniques to redirect users' search query results to Search.yahoo.com site.

You could suspect that your computer is infected with Yahoo search virus if this search provider has become your default search engine suddenly. Other symptoms of the affected web browser might be:

  • inability to set preferred homepage or/and search engine;
  • an increased amount of online ads;
  • random text turned into hyperlinks;
  • new bookmarks added;
  • redirects to suspicious sites.

If any of these activities can be noticed on any of your web browsers, be aware that your browser might be hijacked. Usually, Yahoo services are categorized as malicious and should not be. However, experts note that Yahoo Search virus term stands for the potentially dangerous activity initiated by browser hijackers on user's computer without his or her authorization. 

Yahoo Search
Yahoo Search virus can hide in the system under Yahoo Powered and similar terms.

We strongly recommend choosing reliable search engines to avoid browser hijackers. If you want to protect your PC and private data, remove Yahoo Search virus after you notice any suspicious activity. Manual elimination might be tricky as there are numerous hijackers using misleading techniques to make users take them seriously. Thus, scan your system with a professional security tool, like Reimage, to see if your system is infected. 

After Yahoo Search virus removal, you should take a look at the affected browsers. Usually, browser hijackers modify browser settings to stay on the system as the primary search provider. Likewise, it is essential to reset the altered settings to default and uninstall all questionable entries. For that, we suggest reading detailed instructions at the end of this report. If, after rebooting your computer, hijacker comes back, it means that it has installed browser helper objects on your computer that help this PUP come back. The easiest way to find them is by using anti-virus or anti-spyware software. 

Advertising activities help PUP developers generate revenue

It is evident that Yahoo has been used for advertising purposes and gaining easy income. Usually, users infected with so-called Yahoo Search virus can notice a significant increase in online ads, the survey offers or other commercial content. Keep in mind that developers gain pay-per-click[4] or pay-per-install[5] revenue and might even promote potentially dangerous applications and websites thru this legitimate search provider. 

Therefore, if you happen to suffer from unexpected redirects to a site filled with commercial content, do not ignore this matter. You should leave the site immediately and consider Yahoo Search removal from the system. For that, we recommend scanning your computer with Reimage to see if there is any hijacker hiding in it. Anti-malware/anti-spyware[6] software helps identify computer infection and clean device safely.

Yahoo.com Search virus
Yahoo.com Search virus has been misused by numerous browser hijackers without company's notice.

Yahoo search virus can be found under different names

Colleagues from Germany[7] have warned Internet community that PUPs have been abusing Yahoo under different names. Keeping them on the system can lead you to danger as they can not only collect non-personally identifiable information but sometimes try to get access to personally identifiable details.

It goes without saying you need to uninstall the following apps if you want to protect sensitive information. If your logins, banking information and other details are visible for cybercriminals, you might suffer from money loss or identity theft:[8]

Yahoo Toolbar

Yahoo Toolbar is the most popular variant of Yahoo-related apps which promises personalized web browsing experience. However, the rating of this plugin has decreased because of its aggressive distribution which can take over the web browser and then start showing Yahoo search results without your approval. If you prefer, let's say, Google, such discovery can really disrupt your work online. The next issue regarding this toolbar is that it fails to leave the system when you use the traditional techniques. You should be especially careful with Yahoo toolbar 1.4.1 which is vulnerable to HTTP Yahoo Toolbar Helper ActiveX BO and can be used for attacks.[9]

Yahoo Powered

Yahoo Powered has mostly been used by its developers to redirect users to us.search.yahoo.com page. As we have mentioned several times, all these pages are legitimate, but there is a risk of being presented with altered search results that are filled with sponsored links or ads. The distribution technique used by the PUP involves third-party software which typically presents such apps as “free offer”. However, the developers intentionally fail to mention what system changes can be made after accepting this offer and letting Yahoo Powered into the system.

PUP.Optional.WinYahoo

Alternatively known as WinYahoo, this virus has been mentioned in Malwarebytes scan reports. This potentially unwanted program has been known for its persistent trying to stay on the affected computer system and reappearance that is typically noticed after the computer's reboot. In this case, it is highly recommended to check the system for browser helper objects (BHOs) used for such cases. While you can't find such components manually, run the previously-mentioned app or your own anti-virus.

Yahoo Redirect virus

There are thousands of browser hijackers released continually, and many of those redirect their searchers to Yahoo. This is because Yahoo offers third-party advertisers to participate in their affiliate program and allows potentially unwanted program authors to use a well-established search engine. However, this redirection practice comes with a price, and users the ones who are paying for it. Because the hijacker is linking people to Yahoo, it intercepts the search results, providing multiple sponsored links at the top, preventing users from getting the genuine information they need.

Therefore, if you want to use Yahoo search engine, do so without the help of browser hijackers that redirect you there anyways (besides adding unnecessary and fake search results as the primary ones).

Yahoo Community Smartbar Engine 

Yahoo Community Smartbar engine is the add-on from Linkury Inc. The main executable – smartbar.exe. The PUP has been spreading around for several years now and, because of its intrusive activity, been found under different names, including Adware.Linkury.B, Adware.Linkury or PUP/Linkury. You can find this smart bar added to your browser without expecting this because it has been actively downloaded by unaware users as an optional component of other apps. However, if you like other search providers, not Yahoo, you should decline offers to add it to your web browser.

Yahoo Startnow

Yahoo Startnow browser hijacker changes search engine of the browser to StartNow and sets homepage, as well as new tab address to yahoo.startnow.com. It establishes itself after a browser extension developed by Zugo Limited is installed on the machine. In most cases, users are tricked into installing applications that are entirely worthless and bring no benefit to their browsing experience or inject the add-on when they install freeware or shareware (software bundling method). Yahoo Startnow is most prevalent in India and the United States.

Us.yhs4.search.yahoo.com

Us.yhs4.search.yahoo.com is yet another version of Yahoo redirect virus. Note how browser hijacker authors include Yahoo's name in the address, resulting in the illusion of legitimacy. Users are more keen to trust websites that are associated with reputable names, and PUP authors are well aware of that.

Therefore, gullible users should not be tricked by such techniques, and rather opt for a legitimate search engine, such as google.com, yahoo.com, bing.com, etc. If you see your web browser redirecting you to Us.yhs4.search.yahoo.com and your search result are filled with sponsored links, it is time to take care of a browser hijacker removal. You will find all the instructions below this article.

At.yhs4.search.yahoo.com

At.yhs4.search.yahoo.com is another browser hijacker that belongs to Yahoo redirect virus category. While the URL is almost identical to the above-mentioned hijacker, this variant is quite a bit different. The main website looks plain, but has Yahoo logo right on top of the page, again playing on users' trust. Additionally, the applications are designed to German-speaking users.

While possessing certain differences, the distribution method of potentially unwanted programs remains the same – users install if with bundled software or click on deceptive links online. Furthermore, the primary goal of At.yhs4.search.yahoo.com is gaining revenue by linking users to sponsored sites, providing fake search results and prompting them to install useless software.

Product bundling allows browser hijackers to enter the targeted systems

A vast of potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) use the same distribution techniques to reach targeted computers. One of the most popular ones is called bundling which allows browser hijackers to travel as one program with third-party Spigbot apps, including the following:

  • Extensions[10];
  • Plug-ins;
  • Add-ons;
  • Toolbars.

As soon as the person installs the software-bundle, the computer is infected with a browser hijacker. This issue shows up on all the most popular web browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer. To prevent this from happening, you should always pay an appropriate amount of attention to the freeware's installation process.

It's advisable to read EULA, Privacy Policy, and other accessible information about your selected program. By the way, you should opt for Advanced or Custom installation option and carefully check the entire process.

During software installation, your main task is to find the list of “optional downloads” and opt out of all programs that are promoted there. NEVER agree to set an unknown search site as your start page and search provider because you may later experience various issues.

Uninstalling so-called Yahoo Search virus requires professional help

Even though you might find Search.yahoo.com among Yahoo redirect virus reviews, this application is not categorized as a malicious program. In fact, it is classified as a potentially unwanted program which does not perform system changes. However, experts warn that browser modifications are not essential for an enhanced browsing experience. Thus, it is better to remove Search.yahoo.com.

For that, we present you two different options – manual Yahoo Search removal and automatic elimination option. According to PC security experts, the first option can be used only when you know the names of potentially unwanted programs that are causing redirects to this search engine.

To take care of Yahoo Search removal on Mac, you should also know names of related adware. If you are not sure what cyber parasite infected your device, you should opt for the automatic Search.yahoo.com removal and let anti-malware program to identify and remove it.

 

You can remove virus damage automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes. We recommend these applications because they detect potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

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Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.
search.yahoo.com redirect snapshot
Yahoo Search PUP

To remove search.yahoo.com redirect, follow these steps:

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove search.yahoo.com from Windows systems

To uninstall Yahoo manually, you need to check recently installed programs. If you find some unknown software, uninstall it immediately. It might be responsible for hijacking your browser.

  1. Click Start Control Panel Programs and Features (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs).Click 'Start -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features' (if you are 'Windows XP' user, click on 'Add/Remove Programs').
  2. If you are Windows 10 / Windows 8 user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once Quick Access Menu shows up, select Control Panel and Uninstall a Program. If you are 'Windows 10 / Windows 8' user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once 'Quick Access Menu' shows up, select 'Control Panel' and 'Uninstall a Program'.
  3. Uninstall search.yahoo.com and related programs
    Here, look for search.yahoo.com or any other recently installed suspicious programs.
  4. Uninstall them and click OK to save these changes. Right click on each of suspicious entries and select 'Uninstall'
  5. Remove search.yahoo.com from Windows shortcuts
    Right click on the shortcut of Mozilla Firefox and select Properties. Right click on browsers' icon and select 'Properties'
  6. Go to Shortcut tab and look at the Target field. Delete malicious URL that is related to your virus. Select 'Shortcut' tab and delete 'http://isearch.babylon.com...' or other suspicious URL

Repeat steps that are given above with all browsers' shortcuts, including Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. Make sure you check all locations of these shortcuts, including Desktop, Start Menu and taskbar.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Get rid of search.yahoo.com from Mac OS X system

To remove this hijacker from Mac, you should uninstall every application that was installed on your computer on the same day when this search engine showed up on your computer. If you found search.yahoo.com set as your default search engine, make sure you reset all web browsers.

  1. If you are using OS X, click Go button at the top left of the screen and select Applications. Cick 'Go' and select 'Applications'
  2. Wait until you see Applications folder and look for search.yahoo.com or any other suspicious programs on it. Now right click on every of such entries and select Move to Trash. Click on every malicious entry and select 'Move to Trash'
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Eliminate search.yahoo.com from Internet Explorer (IE)

To delete the cause of Yahoo hijack, you have to eliminate all suspicious components. We highly recommend resetting the browser.

  1. Remove dangerous add-ons
    Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top right corner of the browser and choose Manage Add-ons. Click on menu icon and select 'Manage add-ons'
  2. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for search.yahoo.com and other suspicious plugins. Disable these entries by clicking Disable: Right click on each of malicious entries and select 'Disable'
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the gear icon (menu) on the top right corner of the browser and select Internet Options. Stay in General tab.
  4. Here, remove malicious URL and enter preferable domain name. Click Apply to save changes. Delete malicious URL, enter your desired domain name and click 'Apply' to save changes
  5. Reset Internet Explorer
    Click on the gear icon (menu) again and select Internet options. Go to Advanced tab.
  6. Here, select Reset.
  7. When in the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete search.yahoo.com removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall search.yahoo.com redirect from Microsoft Edge

Follow the instructions to fix Microsoft Edge after the hijack.

Reset Microsoft Edge settings (Method 1):

  1. Launch Microsoft Edge app and click More (three dots at the top right corner of the screen).
  2. Click Settings to open more options.
  3. Once Settings window shows up, click Choose what to clear button under Clear browsing data option. Go to Settings and select 'Choose what to clear'
  4. Here, select all what you want to remove and click Clear. Select 'Clear' button
  5. Now you should right-click on the Start button (Windows logo). Here, select Task Manager. Open the start menu and select 'Task Manager'
  6. When in Processes tab, search for Microsoft Edge.
  7. Right-click on it and choose Go to details option. If can’t see Go to details option, click More details and repeat previous steps. Right-click 'Microsoft Edge' and select 'Go to details' Select 'More details' if 'Go to details' option fails to show up
  8. When Details tab shows up, find every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right click on each of them and select End Task to end these entries. Find Microsoft Edge entries and select 'End Task'

Resetting Microsoft Edge browser (Method 2):

If Method 1 failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method.

  1. Note: you need to backup your data before using this method.
  2. Find this folder on your computer: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  3. Select every entry which is saved on it and right click with your mouse. Then Delete option. Go to Microsoft Edge folder on your computer, right-click every entry and click 'Delete'
  4. Click the Start button (Windows logo) and type in window power in Search my stuff line.
  5. Right-click the Windows PowerShell entry and choose Run as administrator. Find Windows PowerShell, right-click it and select 'Run as administrator'
  6. Once Administrator: Windows PowerShell window shows up, paste this command line after PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> and press Enter:
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml -Verbose}
    Copy and paste a required command and press 'Enter'

Once these steps are finished, search.yahoo.com should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Erase search.yahoo.com from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

If your default search engine was changed to search.yahoo.com, you need to delete suspicious add-ons and then reset the browser.

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Mozilla Firefox, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Add-ons Extensions. Click on menu icon and select 'Add-ons'
  2. Here, select search.yahoo.com and other questionable plugins. Click Remove to delete these entries. Select 'Extensions' and look for malicious entries. Click 'Remove' to get rid of each of them
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the menu (top right corner), choose Options General.
  4. Here, delete malicious URL and enter preferable website or click Restore to default.
  5. Click OK to save these changes. When in 'General' tab, delete malicious URL from 'Home Page' section or click on 'Restore to Default' button. Click 'OK' to save changes
  6. Reset Mozilla Firefox
    Click on the Firefox menu on the top left and click on the question mark. Here, choose Troubleshooting Information. Click on menu icon and then on '?'. Select 'Troubleshooting Information'
  7. Now you will see Reset Firefox to its default state message with Reset Firefox button. Click this button for several times and complete search.yahoo.com removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Delete search.yahoo.com from Google Chrome

One of the reasons why search.yahoo.com appeared on Chrome is infiltration of potentially dangerous extension. To fix Chrome, your task is to find this PUP and uninstall it. We also suggest resetting the browser in order to get rid of tracking cookies.

  1. Delete malicious plugins
    Open Google Chrome, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Tools Extensions. Click on menu icon. Select 'Tools' and 'Extensions'
  2. Here, select search.yahoo.com and other malicious plugins and select trash icon to delete these entries. Look for malicious entries and delete each of them by clicking on the Trash bin icon
  3. Change your homepage and default search engine if it was altered by your virus
    Click on menu icon and choose Settings.
  4. Here, look for the Open a specific page or set of pages under On startup option and click on Set pages. After clicking on menu and 'Settings', select 'Set pages'
  5. Now you should see another window. Here, delete malicious search sites and enter the one that you want to use as your homepage. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  6. Click on menu icon again and choose Settings Manage Search engines under the Search section. When in 'Settings', select 'Manage search engines...'
  7. When in Search Engines..., remove malicious search sites. You should leave only Google or your preferred domain name. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  8. Reset Google Chrome
    Click on menu icon on the top right of your Google Chrome and select Settings.
  9. Scroll down to the end of the page and click on Reset browser settings. When in 'Settings', scroll down to 'Reset browser settings' button and click on it
  10. Click Reset to confirm this action and complete search.yahoo.com removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove search.yahoo.com from Safari

To forget about this virus on Safari, you should check the list of extensions and uninstall unknown entries. It is also recommended resetting the browser.

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu at the top left of the screen. Once you do this, select Preferences. Click on 'Safari' and select 'Preferences'
  2. Here, select Extensions and look for search.yahoo.com or other suspicious entries. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid each of them. Go to 'Extensions' and uninstall malicious add-ons
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Open your Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu section. Here, select Preferences as it was displayed previously and select General.
  4. Here, look at the Homepage field. If it was altered by search.yahoo.com, remove unwanted link and enter the one that you want to use for your searches. Remember to include the "http://" before typing in the address of the page. When in 'General', delete malicious URL and enter your desired domain name
  5. Reset Safari
    Open Safari browser and click on Safari in menu section at the top left of the screen. Here, select Reset Safari.... Click on 'Safari' and select 'Reset Safari...'
  6. Now you will see a detailed dialog window filled with reset options. All of those options are usually checked, but you can specify which of them you want to reset. Click the Reset button to complete search.yahoo.com removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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References

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