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removal by Linas Kiguolis - - | Type: Browser Hijackers is a potentially unwanted program that claims to increase the safety of the web browsing but instead hijacks browsers and displays ads is a browser hijacker that directs traffic to affiliated websites and shows unwanted ads is one of many browser hijackers that claims to focus on online security – and many users are concerned about it due to numerous data breaches and increased malware activity worldwide. However, these “security” tools are often PUPs themselves and do not provide the functionality they claim to. Instead, users are shown pop-ups, flashing windows, pop-unders, banners, and other ads during their browsing sessions.

Search Defender Live is the application that causes numerous changes on Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, MS Edge, or another browser. The first sign of a browser hijack is that its homepage and new tab URL get set to hxxps://, and a customized engine applied. All the search queries are then redirected to, and the search results are not genuine – users will see multiple sponsored links at the top. This way, hijacker alters the way users browse the web.

Type Browser hijacker, potentially unwanted program
Associated app Search Defender Live
Developer Femto Media
Offered functionality The browser extension offers users an indication markings for harmful websites
True purpose There are no criteria that are used to allegedly indicate harmful sites, making the functionality of the app questionable. Additionally, Search Defender Live tracks various user browsing-related activities in order to show ads and promote affiliated sites for profits
Infiltration Potentially unwanted programs are either installed via bundled software packages or after being tricked by an attractive ad or fake update
  • Unwanted extension Search Defender Live installed on the web browser
  • Homepage, new tab and the search engine altered (set to hxxps://
  • All searchers directed to and are filled with sponsored links at the top
  • Unwanted advertisements show up on various websites that do not come from them
Removal You can check the instructions on how to terminate the PUP manually below; additionally, we recommend scanning the machine with anti-malware software to check for other unwanted apps or malware 
Recovery & optimization To recover from infections and prevent system crashes and errors, we recommend resetting all the installed browsers and run a scan with repair tool ReimageIntego

Despite claiming to focus on users' privacy and security, Search Defender Live tracks users' anonymous and personal information obtained during the registration process. removal is highly recommended, as the traits of a potentially unwanted program make this hijacker an unneeded addition to the system.

As stated on the official site, the following data might be collected:[1]

We gather Personal Information and Non-Personal you provide to us directly or that is obtained from you use of our Services. “Personal Information” means information, such as your first and last name, email address, physical address, telephone number, billing information, or social security number, that is able to personally identify you. “Non-Personal Information” means information that is not capable of personally identifying you.

Besides, the collected information can be shared with commercial and third-parties for various purposes, including the distribution of advertising material via e-mail or other means. Such data is tracked and collected with the help of monitoring tools like Flash Cookies, web beacons, web server log information, and other methods. In other words, turns the collected details into profits by sharing it with affiliates that provide you with ads as long as Search Defender Live is installed on your browser. Without a doubt, information tracking can cause serious privacy and security issues to end-users. is website that distributes Search Defender Live - a PUP that gathers various user web browsing and personal data

Additionally, inserted browser cookies and other tracking means might be still present even after you remove hijacker from your machine. For that reason, we highly recommend resetting your browsers as per the instructions below.

Because Search Defender Live is distributed via software bundling, there is a high chance that other potentially unwanted programs or malware might be present on your machine. To ensure it is not the case, experts recommend performing regular scans with anti-virus software. After termination of such infections, however, computers might experience slow response times due to such issues as the corruption of certain registry files. To prevent system crashes and fix virus damage, we advise scanning the computer with ReimageIntego.

Avoid potentially unwanted programs by following simple security tips 

Potentially unwanted programs usually enter users' machines unnoticed, i.e., they are not installed deliberately. Even if they are, users are mostly unaware of underlying tasks (such as unwanted ads display) that the app can create post-installation. In other words, potentially unwanted programs are truly unwanted, although they cannot be called malware as users generally install them deliberately themselves (note that malware uses completely different infiltration techniques, including malicious installers, spam emails, exploits,[2] weak RDP connections, and similar). Despite that, the installation process of third-party programs is often deceptive, as the developers or/and host site owners consciously try to hide optional components from users.

Although, users are also to blame, as they often do not pay close attention to the installation instructions of bundled applications, and end up with tools they never wanted to install in the first place, and not all of them perform browser changes as browser hijackers do, so the intrusion might not always be apparent. All in all, it is best to avoid PUPs in the first place – here are some tips from security researchers:[3]

  • Before installing any application, read up on it online – check out reviews, blog posts, tech forums, etc.;
  • Make sure the app provides access to Privacy Policy and Terms of Service before proceeding;
  • When prompted, always go for Advanced/Custom installation settings that often reveal the underlying programs;
  • Beware of tricks used by bundled software installers: watch out for misplaced buttons, misleading deals, fine print text, pre-ticked boxes, etc.;
  • Employ a security application that specializes in PUP detection and removal.

Search Defender Live extensionUsers might install Search Defender Live extension via the official website

Remove Search Defender Live and other PUPs and use reputable tools that provide additional browsing safety

If you are looking for a tool that can enhance your web browsing experience and protect you from potentially malicious websites, Search Defender Live is not the application you should be going for, as all your web browsing activities will be tracked and used for marketing purposes. There are plenty of other free programs and browser extensions that do not engage in such activities and are capable of providing relevant information when it comes to online safety. In fact, many AV vendors include such functionality in their comprehensive plans.

If the virus managed to hijack your computer, you should hurry up with Search Defender Live removal. As we previously mentioned, its functionality is questionable at best, as it does not provide any details on how the extension works – which criteria the websites are marked as insecure.

You can remove relatively easily if you opt for a browser reset – all the extensions will be deleted. However, because the PUP might not be the only one on your machine, we highly recommend a scan with anti-malware software.

You may remove virus damage with a help of ReimageIntego. SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and Malwarebytes are recommended to detect potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

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Reimage Happiness
Intego Happiness
Compatible with Microsoft Windows Supported versions Compatible with OS X Supported versions
What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

To remove, follow these steps:

Remove from Windows systems

To get rid of potentially unwanted programs on Windows, follow these steps:

  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 and related programs
    Here, look for 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 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 '' 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.

Delete from Mac OS X system

The instructions for Mac users as follows:

If your macOS is displaying some infection symptoms, proceed with the following guide:

Remove from Applications folder:

  1. From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  2. In the Applications folder, look for entries.
  3. Click on the app and drag it to Trash (or right-click and pick Move to Trash)Uninstall from Mac 1

To fully remove, you need to access Application Support, LaunchAgents, and LaunchDaemons folders and delete relevant files:

  1. Select Go > Go to Folder.
  2. Enter /Library/Application Support and click Go or press Enter.
  3. In the Application Support folder, look for any dubious entries related to and then delete them.
  4. Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the entries.Uninstall from Mac 2

Erase from Internet Explorer (IE)

Remove dangerous add-ons:

  1. Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top-right corner of the browser
  2. Pick Manage Add-ons.
  3. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for and other suspicious plugins. Click on these entries and select Disable.Remove add-ons from Internet Explorer

Change your homepage if it was altered:

  1. Open IE and click on the Gear icon.
  2. Select Internet Options.
  3. In the General tab, delete the Home page address and replace it by your preferred one (for example,
  4. Click Apply and then select OK.Reset IE homepage

Delete temporary files:

  1. Press on the Gear icon and select Internet Options.
  2. Under Browsing history, click Delete…
  3. Select relevant fields and press Delete.Clear temporary files from Internet Explorer

Reset Internet Explorer:

  1. Click on Gear icon > Internet options and select Advanced tab.
  2. Select Reset.
  3. In the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Get rid of from Microsoft Edge

Delete unwanted extensions from MS Edge:

  1. Select Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and pick Extensions.
  2. From the list, pick the extension and click on the Gear icon.
  3. Click on Uninstall at the bottom.Remove extensions from Edge

Clear cookies and other browser data:

  1. Click on the Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and select Privacy & security.
  2. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  3. Select everything (apart from passwords, although you might want to include Media licenses as well, if applicable) and click on Clear.Clear Edge browsing data

Reset MS Edge if that above steps did not work:

  1. Press on Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details arrow at the bottom of the window.
  3. Select Details tab.
  4. Now scroll down and locate every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right-click on each of them and select End Task to stop MS Edge from running.Reset MS Edge

If this solution failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method. Note that you need to backup your data before proceeding.

  1. Find the following folder on your computer: C:\\Users\\%username%\\AppData\\Local\\Packages\\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  2. Press Ctrl + A on your keyboard to select all folders.
  3. Right-click on them and pick DeleteAdvanced MS Edge reset 1
  4. Now right-click on the Start button and pick Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  5. When the new window opens, copy and paste the following command, and then press Enter:

    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\\AppXManifest.xml” -VerboseAdvanced MS Edge reset 2

Instructions for Chromium-based Edge

Delete extensions from MS Edge (Chromium):

  1. Open Edge and click select Settings > Extensions.
  2. Delete unwanted extensions by clicking Remove.Remove extensions from Chromium Edge

Clear cache and site data:

  1. Click on Menu and go to Settings.
  2. Select Privacy and services.
  3. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  4. Under Time range, pick All time.
  5. Select Clear now.Clear browser data from Chroum Edge

Reset Chromium-based MS Edge:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. On the left side, pick Reset settings.
  3. Select Restore settings to their default values.
  4. Confirm with Reset.Reset Chromium Edge

Eliminate from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Don't forget to reset Mozilla Firefox after you terminate hijacker:

  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 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 removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Uninstall from Google Chrome

  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 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 removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Remove from Safari

  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 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, 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 removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

Access your website securely from any location

When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address.

If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for the server or network manager that needs to monitor connections and activities. VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world.


Recover files after data-affecting malware attacks

While much of the data can be accidentally deleted due to various reasons, malware is one of the main culprits that can cause loss of pictures, documents, videos, and other important files. More serious malware infections lead to significant data loss when your documents, system files, and images get encrypted. In particular, ransomware is is a type of malware that focuses on such functions, so your files become useless without an ability to access them.

Even though there is little to no possibility to recover after file-locking threats, some applications have features for data recovery in the system. In some cases, Data Recovery Pro can also help to recover at least some portion of your data after data-locking virus infection or general cyber infection. 


About the author
Linas Kiguolis
Linas Kiguolis - Expert in social media

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