Severity scale:  
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Remove Searchou (Easy Removal Guide) - Jul 2019 update

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

Searchou – a browser hijacker that can come in a bundle with Privitze VPN

Searchou browser hijacker

Questions about Searchou

Searchou is described as a browser-hijacking application that enters systems with additional content such as Privitze VPN. Once you end up with this browser hijacker, unpleasant alterings will be spotted by the default search engine, address bar, and homepage modified to google.com/webhp. After Searchou virus places itself on your machine, you can expect several suspicious activities that are going to be carried out in the meantime. Mostly, these PUPs are closely related to redirecting to affiliate websites, placement of advertising content, browser history enhancing, injection of odd extensions, and similar.

Name Searchou
Type Browser hijacker
Additional software Privitze VPN which travels with MagniPic
Engine google.com/webhp
Found in thepiratebay.se and other unsecured networks
Activities Alterings of browser settings (engine, homepage, new tab URL)
Manual removal Look for instructions at the end of this page
Automatical elimination Download Reimage Reimage Cleaner and try removing the potentially unwanted program with this tool

Reports about Searchou triggering users have flooded the Internet in the past. You can find Malwarebytes forums wild with reports about this browser-hijacking app. One user has claimed that the modified search settings appear each time while entering web browsers such as Chrome, IE, and the computer has been put in the mode of sluggishness. Besides, the user commented that even reliable anti-malware tools can hardly remove every single component of the hijack.[1]

Another person revealed that Searchou.com appeared after downloading a component from the well-known piracy network – thepiratebay.se. After the unsuccessful download, he received the browser hijacker together with the beforementioned Privitze VPN component. It is considered to be a Virtual Private Network[2] that arrives not only with Searchou but also together with MagniPic (an adware program).

As you can see, Searchou can be easily bundled through third-party networks and come with additional software. However, this might be potentially dangerous as different malware strains (Trojan viruses, ransomware, cryptocurrency miners, worms, etc.) are also put up on piracy sites such as The Pirate Bay. Note that browser hijackers are one of the main ways of how malware reaches computer systems.

Searchou virus
Searchou is a browser hijacker that comes together with Privitze VPN component

Another unpleasant feature of Searchou is redirecting that can be caused to take the user to affiliate websites. This is one of the main ways how third-party developers promote their products, for example, rogue security software. However, in some cases, redirecting actions might relate to landings on malicious websites. This is another way how dangerous infections reach the targetted machine/device.

Continuously, Searchou might be capable of collecting results that relate to your browsing activities. Potentially unwanted programs like this can gather information such as your IP address, type of web browser used, commonly search pages, offers requested, online accounts visited, clicks made on specific ads or hyperlinks, saved bookmarks, and even your geographic location and email address.

Later on, the browser hijacker might pass on all collected details to other parties for income-gaining purposes. Avoid this type of unfair activities by performing Searchou removal. You can try eliminating the threat with tools such as Reimage Reimage Cleaner , SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, or Malwarebytes. Also, you can find manual instructing steps at the end of the article. These guidelines will help you to clean all web browsers on yourself.

However, to remove Searchou fully, you need to get rid of all additional content that the potentially unwanted program has brought together with it. This includes all beforementioned components such as Privitze VPN or even MagniPic if it appeared also. Furthermore, you should definitely check the browser settings for questionable extensions, plug-ins, or add-ons injected.

Searchou PUP
Searchou is a browser hijacker that travels through piracy networks

Browser-hijacking apps are delivered via third-party networks

There are plenty of unsecured sources lurking out in the cyberspace and many users enter such networks every day. They are known as piracy, adult-themed, gambling, or online-gaming websites. According to experts from LosVirus.es,[3] the lack of security in these sources allows various hackers to plant PUPs and even malware in them. Another popular browser hijacker distribution technique is by using software bundles. 

If you are looking for ways to avoid potentially unwanted programs such as browser hijacker or adware, you should:

  • Keep a proper distance from third-party websites. 
  • Stop using services that are not provided by their original developers.
  • Avoid downloading programs by using “Quick” modes. Choose “Advanced” instead.
  • Install a reputable security tool and keep it regularly updated. 

Searchou virus removal tips

You need to remove Searchou from your computer system if this potentially unwanted program appeared on your browser unexpectedly and started altering your browser settings. Remember, the longer you keep this threat on your machine, the worse its activities might get and start intruding you even more.

Searchou removal can be carried out in two ways. You can download a reputable anti-malware tool or you can use the below-provided guidelines to clean web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and Safari from questionable extensions and add-ons.

You may remove virus damage with a help of Reimage Reimage Cleaner . 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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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage Reimage Cleaner, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Reimage Cleaner has a free limited scanner. Reimage Reimage Cleaner 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 Reimage Cleaner, try running Combo Cleaner.

To remove Searchou, follow these steps:

Get rid of Searchou from Windows systems

Erase suspicious content and programs from Windows. Use these instructions to help you:

  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 Searchou and related programs
    Here, look for Searchou 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 Searchou 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.

Eliminate Searchou from Mac OS X system

  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 Searchou 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'

Delete Searchou from Internet Explorer (IE)

  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 Searchou 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 Searchou removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again

Remove Searchou from Microsoft Edge

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, Searchou should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

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

Uninstall Searchou from Google Chrome

Clean and refresh your Google Chrome web browser after the browser hijacker has modified it:

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

Get rid of Searchou 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 Searchou 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 Searchou, 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 Searchou removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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References


  1. Bill says:
    April 15th, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Spyhunter is just extra spyware.

  2. Ahseya says:
    July 5th, 2013 at 11:24 am

    THANKYOU, SO MUCH!!!!

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