Severity scale:  
  (9/100)

Remove Universalsearch.co virus (Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge) - Simple Removal Guide

removal by Lucia Danes - - | Type: Browser hijacker

Should you rely on Universalsearch.co search engine?

Universalsearch.co virus is an irritating browser hijacker that aims at various web browsers. It usually comes inside the computer bundled with freeware or shareware. On the affected computer it alters web browsers’ settings and forces people to use Health New Tab search engine developed by Upwords Publishing. This website becomes default browser’s homepage and search engine. What is more, users are often prevented from getting rid of it easily. Browser hijackers are often capable of altering Windows shortcuts and registry or install helper objects[1] that help to remain on the system. Moreover, Universalsearch.co browser hijacker might be called advertising tool. In the Terms of Website Use, the developers reveal that they might deliver third-party ads and promotions in various forms and methods. Often commercial content shows up as pop-ups, banners, in-text ads or other types of online ads. Furthermore, the hijacker might initiate unwanted redirects to the promotional websites. Unfortunately, Universalsearch.co redirect tendencies might not be pleasant. You may end up on a malicious site where you can get infected with ransomware[2] or tricked to reveal personal information.[3] Also, we want to mention that sometimes hijackers might alter search results and replace organic links with sponsored third-party links. Though at the moment this search engine provides results from Bing, the situation might change at any time.

The developers of so-called Universalsearch.co virus are not responsible for any damage that might be caused by the third-party content. Thus, you should be extremely careful when browsing the Web because even one accidental click might cause you serious problems, such data loss or identity theft.[4] Browser hijacker cannot harm you or your PC itself; though its redirect tendencies are worth paying attention. However, it’s not the only one reason to remove Universalsearch.co from the machine. This little cyber parasite might also collect information about the users. This information is mostly related to the browsing history and habits; however, the hijacker might access other details as well. Usually, aggregated information is used to build users’ profiles to deliver targeted ads. However, in some cases collected data might be shared with third-parties or advertising networks. As a result, your browser and inbox might be filled with commercial offers, shopping deals, newsletters and other annoying stuff. Thus, if you found this website on your browser, scan the computer with ReimageIntego and start Universalsearch.co removal right now.

Questions about Universalsearch.co virus

The image of Universalsearch.co virusUniversalsearch.co virus might hijack popular web browsers and replace their homepage addresses with its domain.

Why was my browser hijacked?

The only one reason why was your browser hijacked is that you have chosen “wrong” installation settings when installing freeware or shareware.[5] All programs that you can download from the Internet might be hiding third-party applications. Thus, if you installed a particular program under Basic or Recommended mode, the Universalsearch.co hijack might have occurred. These settings do not disclose about extra downloads and install them by default. However, Advanced or Custom setups allows rejecting their installation. Carefully follow each installation step and look for the list of pre-selected toolbars, programs, extensions or agreements to make Health New Tab or another suspicious search engine as your homepage. Deselect these settings to prevent from negative features of the potentially unwanted programs.

How to remove Universalsearch.co from the browser?

Browser hijackers are not hard to remove manually. Thus, you can investigate the system on your own and remove Universalsearch.co browser hijacker along with its components manually. Our instructions presented below will guide you through this process. If you choose this method, don’t forget that you need to reset all web browsers that are installed on your PC as well. However, we want to suggest an easier Universalsearch.co removal option. Employ reputable anti-malware program and remove browser hijacker automatically. All you need to do is to scan the computer with one of the programs suggested below and wait for a couple of minutes.

You may remove virus damage with a help of ReimageIntego. 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 Universalsearch.co virus, follow these steps:

Erase Universalsearch.co from Windows systems

Make sure you follow the instructions carefully. If you leave some programs or files related to the Universalsearch.co virus, you might encounter another hijack soon.

  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 Universalsearch.co and related programs
    Here, look for Universalsearch.co 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 Universalsearch.co 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.

Remove Universalsearch.co from Mac OS X system

If your Mac was hijacked, please follow the instructions below to fix this problem.

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

Remove Universalsearch.co from Applications folder:

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

Delete Universalsearch.co from Internet Explorer (IE)

Sometimes hijackers install suspicious add-ons on the affected browsers. Thus, you should check, whether any questionable entries haven’t been added to the Internet Explorer.

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 Universalsearch.co 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 Universalsearch.co removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Eliminate Universalsearch.co virus from Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge might have also been affected by the Universalsearch.co hijacker. To reject all its modifications, please follow these steps:

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 Universalsearch.co-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

Uninstall Universalsearch.co from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

From the list of extensions remove all questionable toolbars, extensions, plugins or add-ons. They might be responsible for reinstalling Universalsearch.co browser hijacker.

  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 Universalsearch.co 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 Universalsearch.co removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Get rid of Universalsearch.co from Google Chrome

Follow the instructions to fix Google Chrome after Universalsearch.co hijack.

  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 Universalsearch.co 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 Universalsearch.co removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Erase Universalsearch.co from Safari

Safari might have suffered from the hijack as well. Follow the steps below to reset the browser.

  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 Universalsearch.co 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 Universalsearch.co, 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 Universalsearch.co removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are

There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.

Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.

Data backups are important – recover your lost files

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.

While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.

About the author
Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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References

  1. Sorcha says:
    March 14th, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Ohh! I thought I was crazy or something when found this search engine on my Chrome. I guess it came along with one of the graphic designed programs Ive recently installed.. But thanks for the instructions. The hijacker is gone for good!

  2. Effie says:
    March 14th, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Is there a search engine that does not collect information about us??

  3. nasir says:
    March 14th, 2017 at 9:15 am

    My browser was hijacked too. Thanks for the instructions. Indeed, easy to follow!

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