Severity scale:  
  (12/100)

Remove SearchZone (Removal Instructions) - Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge

removal by Ugnius Kiguolis - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

SearchZone is yet another useless browser extension that hijacks web browsers to deliver altered search results

SearchZoneSearchZone is a potentially unwanted program (PUP) that changes homepage and new tab URL to feed.search-zone.com

SearchZone is a browser hijacker[1] that might appear on Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or another web browser unexpectedly, as potentially unwanted programs like this one are typically distributed via software bundle packages, resulting in unintentional installation. Once established, the app changes the web browser settings and sets the web address of the homepage and the new tab to portal.search-zone.com or feed.search-zone.com.

As a result, users are forced to perform searches via the SearchZone search engine, which redirects all results to Yahoo. However, these results are not the same as those that users would see if they would use Yahoo without having a hijacked browser. Instead, they would see a bunch of sponsored links and ads that are inserted at the top.

Besides altering the way users browse the web, the SearchZone virus is also set to collect certain personally identifiable and anonymous information in the background, which may be shared with third-parties.

Name SearchZone
Type Browser hijacker, potentially unwanted program
Also known as Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic
Distribution  In most cases, potentially unwanted applications are delivered through software bundle packages downloaded from software distribution sites, although can also be installed intentionally by the user via various methods
Symptoms 
  • SearchZone browser extension is installed on the web browser
  • Homepage or new tab address is set to portal.search-zone.com or feed.search-zone.com
  • All the search queries are redirected to search.yahoo.com
  • Search results are filled with sponsored links
  • Overall slowdown of the web browser or difficult to reach certain websites
Dangers In some cases, users might visit sites that ask them to download and install suspicious applications, resulting in additional PUP infiltration. Besides, since most of such apps are set to track users' online behavior, it can cause certain privacy issues
Elimination You can get rid of unwanted applications manually by following our step-by-step guide below or by scanning the machine with reputable anti-malware software
Optimization You can optimize your computer after infection with tools such as Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego 

Since the unwanted browser extension might get installed without permission, the SearchZone hijack might not be that apparent straight away. However, as soon as the web browser is opened, you will see a feed.search-zone.com in the URL bar at the top, and you are likely to notice that the search engine of your web browser changed. In other words, the presence of the add-on can be noticed almost immediately due to visual changes in the web browser.

More clues follow right away – in case you would enter a search query into the provided search engine, you would soon notice that all your searches are redirected to search.yahoo.com. While Yahoo is a legitimate search provider and one of the major tech companies around, these results are not genuine, since you would look at the SearchZone ads instead. These are typically placed at the top, increasing the chances of users clicking on them.

Even if you would not use the provided search engine and instead use the URL bar, you would still be redirected via the third-party website/extension. As a result, you would not be able to find genuine results without performing SearchZone removal, which can be accomplished in either manual or automatic ways.

Just as many other similar potentially unwanted programs, this app pretends to be a useful search tool that would enhance web browsing experience to its users. However, instead of doing that, the SearchZone virus delivers sponsored links and ads to acquire revenue from user clicks.

To make these search results more attractive, SearchZone Search developers use a variety of data tracking technologies (cookies, web beacons,[2] etc.) in order to gather information about users' web browsing activities. This helps the app authors to provide targeted ads to users, increasing the chance of them clicking on sponsored content. Besides, such information like the IP address, browser type, language preferences, visited websites, ISP, search logs, and other data can be shared with certain third-parties:[3]

We may share Non-Personal Information with our trusted Service Providers only to the extent required to fulfill the purposes of providing the services.

Other third parties (including retailers, media networks, feed providers) in any of the above circumstances, as well as for the purpose of developing or delivering content

In case the information gets transferred to a suspicious third-party, it may cause serious privacy issues and also make ads to appear on the web browser more often than it should.

SearchZone hijackerSearchZone is a browser hijacker that delivered sponsored search results via Yahoo search provider

All the described SearchZone features above are very similar to those of other browser hijackers, such as Screen Dream Osalo APP, Mazy Search, and many others. They all pretend to be “useful browsing tools” that do not benefit users in any way. Instead, they employ tracking technologies to follow their online activities and deliver ads. Thus, we suggest you remove SearchZone from your system immediately.

You can eliminate the unwanted applications by following our detailed instructions below. If you want an automatic option, you can simply scan your machine with reputable anti-malware. Besides, to ensure that your machine is operating as good as prior to the infection, you can use repair tools such as Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego and reset the installed web browsers in case other unwanted apps are present.

Your browser was hijacked due to software bundling

Software developers often employ the freeware monetization principle in order to acquire monetary returns for certain applications that users believe that they are installing for free. However, these apps might engage in potentially harmful activities on the host computer (information tracking, active promotion of other potentially unwanted software, ad delivery, etc.), so each of free programs should be treated with caution. In fact, one of the main reasons why users get infected with browser hijackers is that they believe in their allegedly useful functionality.

To make apps more popular, software developers and third-party websites often include several components into a single package/installer. This technique is called software bundling and, while initially not harmful, can cause troubles to inattentive users.

During the installation process of freeware, users are often offered optional applications in various ways. Unfortunately, these are often hidden under the Advanced installation setting, and most go for the Recommended one. As a result, third-party apps end up installed on the system without consent. Thus, be careful when installing new apps from third-party sites – always pick Advanced/Custom method, untick all the pre-ticked boxes and read the installation instructions carefully.

Methods to eradicate SearchZone

SearchZone virus is just another potentially unwanted program that will clutter your web browser, track your online activities, and provide this information to other parties for marketing purposes. It is always a good idea to stay away from such browser extensions and applications, as they clutter the web browser without providing real benefits for the user.

SearchZone potentially unwanted appSearchZone delivered sponsored search results in order to monetize on users' clicks

You can remove SearchZone either manually or automatically – the choice is yours. If the hijack is related to a browser extension, you can usually terminate it by right-clicking on it. However, if such extension is not visible, or sets the “Managed by your organization” status, the termination process might get a bit more complicated.

If you are having difficulties, you can always perform SearchZone removal with the help of reputable anti-malware software. Additionally, a browser reset is also an excellent method to get rid of unwanted components, as some malicious settings might still remain within Google Chrome or another web browser.

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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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 SearchZone, follow these steps:

Get rid of SearchZone from Windows systems

Get rid of potentially unwanted programs as per instructions provided 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 SearchZone and related programs
    Here, look for SearchZone 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 SearchZone 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 SearchZone from Mac OS X system

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

Remove SearchZone from Applications folder:

  1. From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  2. In the Applications folder, look for SearchZone-related 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 SearchZone, 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 SearchZone and then delete them.
  4. Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the SearchZone-related entries.Uninstall from Mac 2

Uninstall SearchZone 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 SearchZone 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, Google.com).
  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 SearchZone removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Remove SearchZone 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 SearchZone-related 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

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

Delete SearchZone from Google Chrome

Reset Google Chrome if ads, sponsored links, and other intrusive content does not go away:

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

Get rid of SearchZone 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 SearchZone 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 SearchZone, 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 SearchZone 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. It is a hassle when your website is protected from suspicious connections and unauthorized IP addresses.

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 server or network manager that need to monitor connections and activities. This is how you bypass some of the authentications factors and can remotely use your banking accounts without triggering suspicious with each login. 

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. It is better to clock the access to your website from different IP addresses. So you can keep the project safe and secure when you have the dedicated IP address VPN and protected access to the content management system.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.

About the author
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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