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Remove (Removal Instructions) - Mar 2020 update

removal by Lucia Danes - - | Type: Browser Hijackers is a fake search engine that tries to imitate Google is a potentially unwanted application that seeks to earn revenue by making users click on ads and sponsored links is a browser hijacker designed to change the way users' browsers, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, or MS Edge, operate. These alternations are performed as soon a potentially unwanted program is installed on the targeted system – it typically occurs without users' notice, as PUPs are usually spread via a deceptive marketing method called software bundling.

As soon as hijack occurs, users might not even immediately notice changes to their homepage, as it is designed in a way to imitate possibly the most well-known brand in the world – Google. Developers of the hijacker use the word “Search” instead, but keep Google's color pallet, which is a typical social engineering trick.

Questions about

However, users should not become deceived, as virus is produced for only one reason – to generate ad revenue from users' clicks on links or redirects to sponsored sites. Besides, the PUP also tracks information that relates to users' web browsing habits and uses it to deliver persistent, targeted ads. Users also reported that removal proved to be difficult, as, upon installation, the app modified group policy settings without permission.[1]

Type Browser hijacker, potentially unwanted program 
Associated app Search Engage, Search Solutions
Developer Cro-bit Ltd
Distribution  Most of the potentially unwanted applications and browser extensions travel within software bundle packages that users download from third-party sites; in other words, they agree to install software they did not intend to in the first place unintentionally
  • Unknown browser extension installed on the browser
  • New tab URL and homepage set to hxxp://
  • All searchers are redirected to
  • Top search results are filled with sponsored links and ads
  • Slow operation of the web browser
Dangers  Installation of malware or other PUPs, personal information disclosure to unknown parties, money loss due to encountered scams 
Termination  You can get rid of unwanted extensions via the browser (resetting the browser also works), or by terminating an app installed on your system as per our instructions below. In case of the app does not go away, you should scan your machine with reputable anti-malware software 
Recovery Search Engage may alter some system settings as well as the registry, corrupting original Windows files. If you notice some instability issues after you get rid of the hijacker, scan your computer with repair software Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego has been around for quite a few years now and used to insert links to its main page. These links used to serve as shortcuts to users to reach Facebook, YouTube, Linkedin, and other popular domains quickly. However, this functionality is now implemented within each of the modern browsers, and there is no need letting your browser be hijacked to use this functionality.

After a few years of operation, changed its design and began imitating instead. This is done deliberately in order to confuse users and make them associate the hijacker with a legitimate company, which is absolutely not the case.

Even though Search Engage will redirect all the searches to Yahoo (a legitimate search engine), search results will not be authentic. Instead of seeing organic links, users will be shown a multitude of sponsored links at the top – these generate revenue for browser hijacker developers after each click made by users.

Besides, when the virus is installed, users may also face redirects to scam, phishing, and even malicious pages, where background scrips could inject malware automatically under certain circumstances.[2] The encountered scam may trick users into disclosing personal information to unknown parties (potentially, cybercriminals) or paying for fake services. is a browser hijacker that is associated with Search Engage or Search Solutions browser extensions

If intrusive ads and redirects are not a big enough reason to remove extension from your computer, you should also take into consideration that the PUP is also tracking all your online moves. Developers employ various technologies (flash cookies, web beacons, pixels, etc.) to harvest data from you, as disclosed in Search Engage Privacy Policy statement:[3]

We may collect information from you that may identify you, such as your name, address, email address, and telephone number and anonymous Information, such as the number of your page views, link clicks, and login times. Your information may be kept in an identifiable format, or in an aggregate format which means that you cannot reasonably be identified from it.

To make matters worse, SearchEngage claims that it “may disclose any or all of the collected information to third parties.” If anything, we suggest you limit the number of online trackers to a minimum, and it is unknown whether the company uses adequate practices to protect the collected information in the first place.

To make matters worse, the browser hijacker also engages in unfair and even malicious persistence techniques. As reported by users, some of the web browser extensions by the same developer engaged in Windows registry and group policy file modification, which prevented its termination from the web browser.

We highly advise staying away from the Windows registry, as incorrect modification might result in system file corruption. Instead, we recommend using automatic repair software like Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego

To get rid of virus and its changes, you should either refer to our manual guide below or employ reputable anti-malware to do it for you. Nevertheless, due to the deceptive Search Engage/Search Solutions extension operation, experts[4] also advise resetting the installed web browsers.

Browser hijackers sneak in via software bundles downloaded from third party sites

Potentially unwanted programs like Search Engage hijack computer systems via bundling – a software distribution technique that is extremely successful when it comes to PUP and malware circulation. The developers of the potentially unwanted software bundle their products with well-known free programs and create software packages.

Such multi-software packs can be downloaded from third-party sites and other untrustworthy sources. Many computer users do not know that they CAN refuse to install objectionable programs when installing the desired program. It is, in fact, very easy to do it – all you need to do is to adjust the program’s installation settings and set Custom or Advanced mode. After that, you need to uncheck the boxes next to suggestions to install optional programs alongside the main software.

It is also important to note that users who use high-end security software will also be warned when a PUP is about to be installed. In fact, there are plenty of security applications that focus on the prevention, detection, and removal of unwanted applications like Search Engage. PUPUsers reported that they could not remove extension easily removal guide

If you would like to forget the problems with your web browser, remove virus from your computer. It is up to you how to perform this: you can utilize the instructions we provide below to get rid of the PUP manually or use an anti-malware tool instead. The latter is much easier and quicker – simply perform a full system scan.

However, as mentioned above, removal might be much more complicated due to its persistence techniques used, such as Windows registry modification. Therefore, if you cannot get rid of unwanted extension or a standalone app yourself, you should employ anti-malware software and then reset all the installed browsers as we explain below.

You may remove virus damage with a help of Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego. 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:

Uninstall from Windows systems virus can be removed from Windows systems – follow the guide below:

  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.

Get rid of from Mac OS X system

macOS users should perform the following actions when trying to eliminate the hijacker:

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

Remove 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

Erase 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)

  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

Delete from Google Chrome

Reset Google Chrome if you can't get rid of an extension manually:

  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

Uninstall 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

Choose a proper web browser and improve your safety with a VPN tool

Online spying has got momentum in recent years and people are getting more and more interested in how to protect their privacy online. One of the basic means to add a layer of security – choose the most private and secure web browser. Although web browsers can't grant a full privacy protection and security, some of them are much better at sandboxing, HTTPS upgrading, active content blocking, tracking blocking, phishing protection, and similar privacy-oriented features. However, if you want true anonymity, we suggest you employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN – it can encrypt all the traffic that comes and goes out of your computer, preventing tracking completely.


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
Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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  1. lepsa says:
    April 7th, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    I am really dissapointed with Thanks for providing this removal guide!

  2. Salli says:
    April 7th, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    Cannot believe how easy it was to remove this threat. I shouldve tried to remove it earlier!

  3. scott89 says:
    April 7th, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    thanks 🙂

  4. Hzeaz says:
    April 7th, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    finally wiped this virus off my pc

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