Speed Dial Search browser hijacker (virus) - Free Instructions

Speed Dial Search browser hijacker Removal Guide

What is Speed Dial Search browser hijacker?

Speed Dial Search hijacks the browser to monetize and monitor user activity

Speed Dial SearchSpeed Dial Search can change the main settings of the browser

Speed Dial Search is classified as a browser hijacker because it can change the main settings, like the homepage, new tab address, and search engine. It takes over the browsing experience by forcing users to search only through selected channels. This introduces many user privacy and security concerns.

Being in charge of the main settings gives the opportunity for browser hijackers to lead users to dangerous websites that could trick them into providing their personal information, download PUPs (potentially unwanted programs),[1] and malware. Web-based apps can start displaying ads, injecting promotional links in the search results, and promoting misinformation with fake search engines.

The extension was recorded redirecting users' queries through addonsearch.net to Yahoo. Even though Yahoo is a well-known and legitimate engine, a lot of times fraudsters add searches that are malicious and do not provide accurate results. If you experience such symptoms you should read our guide to learn more about infection methods, and the removal process.

NAME Speed Dial Search
TYPE Browser hijacker; potentially unwanted program
SYMPTOMS The main settings of the browser get changed, like the homepage, new tab address, and search engine
DISTRIBUTION Shady websites, deceptive ads, software bundling
DANGERS The extension may lead to dangerous websites; display misinformation, inaccurate search results; track browsing activities
ELIMINATION Remove the extension by going to your browser settings
FURTHER STEPS Use ReimageIntego to fix any remaining damage and optimize the machine

Distribution methods

Users usually infect themselves with browser hijackers like Speed Dial Search by browsing through shady websites that are full of deceptive ads and sneaky redirects. Crooks sometimes even create dedicated promotional websites for these browser plugins that use social engineering to convince users to download them.

You may see that often fraudsters try to make it look like the extension is recommended by Chrome or created in collaboration with a well-known company like Google. They might also write about all the non-existent functions to make it look very useful and needed.

You should never download plugins from random pages. Use official web stores or developer websites because it is the safest way you can get them. Add-ons that get listed on web stores go through a lengthy review process. However, that does not mean that you do not need to do any research.

You should always make sure that apps are safe to install and read the reviews, look at the ratings, and how many users they have. You are much better off choosing popular plugins that have plenty of feedback. You will often find that if you enter the name of a hijacker into the search, not many results pop up.

Speed Dial Search browser hijackerSpeed Dial Search might track users' activity with cookies

That being said, not being careful while surfing the web is not the only way users get their browsers hijacked. The symptoms can also be caused by a PUA hiding in the system. Such apps sneak into the system as bundled software from freeware[2] distribution platforms, so if you have installed anything recently, there is a big chance you may have it.

Remove the unwanted extension

You can remove browser add-ons by going to your settings. Find the list of extensions installed in your browser and remove Speed Dial Search. We show how to do that in the guide below:

Google Chrome

  • Open Google Chrome, click on the Menu (three vertical dots at the top-right corner) and select More tools > Extensions.
  • In the newly opened window, you will see all the installed extensions. Uninstall all the suspicious plugins that might be related to the unwanted program by clicking Remove.Remove extensions from Chrome

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

MS Edge (Chromium)

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

Mozilla Firefox

  • Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click on the Menu (three horizontal lines at the top-right of the window).
  • Select Add-ons.
  • In here, select unwanted plugin and click Remove.Remove extensions from Firefox

Safari

  • Click Safari > Preferences…
  • In the new window, pick Extensions.
  • Select the unwanted extension and select Uninstall.Remove extensions from Safari

When you get rid of any potentially malicious add-ons, you should take care of your browsers. Websites and web-based applications use tracking technologies to record your IP address, geolocation, pages you visit, links you click on, and things you purchase online. To stop any shady sites from following your browsing activities, clear cookies,[3] and cache.

These small data files can also be sold to rogue advertising networks or other third parties and used to target you with unsafe ads even more. A maintenance tool like ReimageIntego can delete cookies and cache automatically with a click of a button. Besides that, this powerful software can fix serious system errors, corrupted files, and registry issues, which is especially helpful after a virus infection.

Scan the system for PUPs

Sometimes removing only the extension does not get rid of the symptoms and users still have their settings changed. In that case, you will probably have to scan your machine for PUPs. Simply removing the add-on will not be enough, and the settings will keep changing until you completely eliminate a PUA from your machine.

One of the most common ways that PUAs are spread is through freeware installation sites. The creators of these platforms have learned that they can include additional programs in the installers and earn money. This method is known as software bundling and is very effective as most people rush through the installation process and do not notice the apps.

Another thing that makes the removal of PUPs complicated, is the fact that often they are disguised as “handy” tools. It could look like an antivirus, system optimizer, media player, etc. Manual removal sometimes also fails because users fail to eliminate all the related files and entries.

We suggest using SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes anti-malware tools that will scan your machine, eliminate it, and prevent such infections in the future by giving you a warning before a PUP can make any changes. If manual removal is what you still prefer, we have instructions for Windows and Mac machines:

Windows 10/8:

  1. Enter Control Panel into Windows search box and hit Enter or click on the search result.
  2. Under Programs, select Uninstall a program.Uninstall from Windows 1
  3. From the list, find the entry of the suspicious program.
  4. Right-click on the application and select Uninstall.
  5. If User Account Control shows up, click Yes.
  6. Wait till uninstallation process is complete and click OK.Uninstall from Windows 2

Windows 7/XP:

  1. Click on Windows Start > Control Panel located on the right pane (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs).
  2. In Control Panel, select Programs > Uninstall a program.Uninstall from Windows 7/XP
  3. Pick the unwanted application by clicking on it once.
  4. At the top, click Uninstall/Change.
  5. In the confirmation prompt, pick Yes.
  6. Click OK once the removal process is finished.

Mac:

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

If you want to avoid PUAs during the installation, always choose “Custom” or “Advanced” methods, read the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use to find out what information will be collected and what the application will be allowed to do in your machine. The most important part is to check the file list and untick the boxes next to any items that you think are suspicious or unrelated.

Keep in mind that adware[4] and other potentially unwanted programs are mostly distributed through freeware, torrent, and peer-to-peer file-sharing platforms. By getting software the legal way, you will most definitely slim your chances of getting infected. Even though it might get costly, you will most likely save in the long run by maintaining a healthy system.

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Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix 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.

How to prevent from getting browser hijacker

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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