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Remove virus (Removal Guide) - updated Sep 2017

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Browser hijacker serves questionable search results 

Privacy Search virus is a browser hijacker[1], so make sure you are not tempted by its looks or name. Keep in mind that its owners are working hard on making it look like a useful search tool that is capable of protecting you while you are browsing the Internet. However, virus cannot be considered a trustworthy program no matter what.

Questions about virus

The main fact which is related to this browser hijacker is that it is capable of tracking its users and collecting non-personal information which is related to their searches. No matter that the biggest amount of information which is collected by this virus is not personal, you can easily reveal your email address or PC's IP address to strangers.

What is Search Privacy?

Search Privacy is a dangerous browser extension that changes default search settings in Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer and provides untrustworthy search results. It advertises itself as a tool that can protect user's privacy, however, it tracks user's search terms, IP address and similar data to provide third-party ads.

In addition, this questionable browsing tool can easily hijack your computer “bundled” with the freeware. In most of the cases, it does that without your permission asked and takes over your homepage, the default search engine and new tab URL. If you are dealing with this issue right now, you need to remove from your computer. To find all components that belong to this PUP, you can use Reimage.

It seems that this browser hijacker belongs to a new generation. Its creators are promising to help users improve their browsing activity by deleting their search queries, disabling tracking cookies, and preventing other unwanted activities that can be initiated behind their back. However, you need to install Search Privacy add-on on your computer to use these promised services.

Besides, since Privacysearch me is a browser hijacker, it spies on its users and collects non-personal data. While the majority of unwanted browsing tools employ the collected data for marketing purposes, this one uses it for creating more user-oriented results and pop-up ads which can easily start interrupting each of your searches. redirect virus virus alters browser's settings and tracks user's browsing habits although it claims that it doesn't do so.

Within the time of using this browsing tool, you will also notice redirect problem. After entering the required web page, you can fail to access it because you get misled to a different domain. You should not ignore this phenomenon as you can get redirected to a web page which is infected with less or more serious malware[2].

However, the most important issue related to this browser hijacker is that it disables all security plug-ins that can be found on your computer. Such behavior should not be tolerated because you can get infected without a warning. Thus, do not waste time and start removal. Let Reimage assist you.

Ads and programs that suggest installing this suspicious program

You might have accidentally installed the hijacker along with another free program. experts[3] claim that while hopping through the steps of the installation wizard, users rarely see tiny attachments. Under one of them might hide this potentially unwanted program. There is a way how you can avoid stealth infiltration of unwanted applications.

Upon starting the installation guide of a new program, select “Advanced” settings. Only when you are sure that no additional add-ons will be installed, finish the installation. Generally speaking, cautiousness will not only save you from Privacy Search hijack but more treacherous hijackers as well. 

However, the described browser hijacker is closely associated with several domains that suggest adding versions of this questionable software. If these websites continuously pop-up on your screen although you haven't agreed to install Search Privacy Chrome or SearchPrivacy Firefox, we strongly recommend checking your PC for adware programs that might be sending these ads to you.

  • virus. This suspicious domain advertises an extension for Chrome, promising to launch versions for Firefox and Chrome shortly. The suspicious extension asks to change user's search settings to At first, the user won't see any visible changes in the browser because this potentially unwanted program affects browser's default search settings. Therefore, the user runs into Privacy Search results only after entering a search query into browser's URL bar. It then sends user's query to its servers and displays customized results for the user.
  • virus. This web page is extremely similar to the previously described one. It also promotes an extension that modifies browser's settings. However, the extension has a different name –
  • virus. It is a slightly modified version of the original browser hijacker that works identically as other rogue “privacy-protecting” browser extensions.
  • virus. This browser redirect virus takes control over browser's default search without user's knowledge. It can be installed directly from its main page or arrive as an additional component in unison with some potentially unwanted free program.
  • Search-Privacy.Space virus. Yet another vague web page dedicated to promoting Search Privacy Chrome extension. The extension wants the user to allow it read and change all data with cooperating websites and modify the default search setting to Again, the user has to deal with sponsored search results while looking for relevant information online.

Get rid of without problems

You should read the tutorial we provide to learn how to uninstall Search Privacy virus right away. It will help you to escape more annoying effects this hijacker might cause. You can do it manually and automatically. If you opt for the former solution, be very attentive not to miss any important detail.

Otherwise, there will remain a significantly high probability of getting infected with the hijacker. Therefore, we recommend more time-saving option. Install an anti-spyware program which will remove virus for you.

The program will also serve as an invaluable tool protecting your computer. Finally, do not forget to review all installation stages before hitting the “Install” button and review privacy policies before installing a new application.

Users looking for a more speedy Privacy Search removal option should consider using a program that can remove spyware or malware automatically. You can find some of the programs we tested and recommend using below.

You can remove virus damage automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, 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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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove virus, follow these steps:

Uninstall from Windows systems

When infected with Privacy Search virus, you need to uninstall all entries that could be related to this hijacker. Make sure you uninstall Search Privacy 1.19,, Privacy Search and similar entries.

  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.

Remove from Mac OS X system

To eliminate hijack from Mac OS X, you need to uninstall all entries that look suspicious to you. We highly recommend eliminating all related entries. The latest its version is 1.19.

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

Eliminate virus 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, should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

Get rid of 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

Erase from Google Chrome is widely popular among Chrome users. If this hijacker has affected this browser, you need to go to Extensions directory, select this add-on and click on the rubbish bin. Then, make sure you reset your browser

You need to get rid of the following extension to remove from Chrome.

The image showing Search Privacy add-on in 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

Uninstall from Safari

If Safari browser is affected by virus, you need to remove Search Privacy 1.19 add-on from this browser. To remove the malicious search engine, you should reset Safari as well.

 The image showing Search Privacy hijack on 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

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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  1. Henry says:
    June 20th, 2016 at 4:26 am

    Where is “Secure Privacy” if I cant even read their privacy policy?

  2. Colin says:
    June 20th, 2016 at 4:29 am

    Just stay with your ordinary search engine. Thats what you get from searching for “something fresh.”

Your opinion regarding virus