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Remove ZwankySearch.com virus (Removal Guide) - updated Jul 2017

removal by Jake Doevan - - | Type: Browser hijacker

ZwankySearch.com virus is not a reliable search engine

ZwankySearch.com virus

ZwankySearch.com is a browser hijacker which seems to be capable of infiltrating computers without asking an approval from their owners. Such browser-hijacking[1] technique can be identified by noticing specific changes in browsers' settings. Typically, that's the start page and the default search engine which is altered by Zwanky Search virus. If this site automatically opens as soon as you open Chrome, Firefox or another web browser, it means that your PC is also infected.

Unexpected homepage, new tab and default search changes in your browser indicate a browser hijack, so do not ignore them. The described browser hijacker will initiate automatic redirects to hxxp://ZwankySearch.com/ site frequently because its main aim is to make you use its search services. Beware that some of its search results are fake and can be used to redirect users to infected domains. 

Unfortunately, but there are more reasons why you should remove ZwankySearch.com from your computer. Of course, we believe that we should not even mention the fact that it won’t disappear from your browser in any other way. Besides, it's more than clear that if you continue using this suspicious search engine, you will take the risk of visiting suspicious web pages it advertises. 

Tracking is the main issue caused by this PUP

On top of that, users of this search engine can put themselves under the risk of being tracked by the developer. After analyzing ZwankySearch.com, we discovered its Privacy Policy document that informs users how the service collects user data. It turns out that this hijacker can silently gather the following pieces of data:

  • User’s IP address;
  • Type of OS and web browser used;
  • Keyword and search queries;
  • List of visited websites.

Such information falls into personally non-identifiable data category. However, we must point out that your search queries may contain some personal details. As always, the vague tool claims to be using collected data to “provide more relevant services,” which basically means that you are going to receive more ads in search results.

ZwankySearch.com hijackZwankySearch.com virus starts controlling web browsers only to push shady ads to computer users in a form of search results. Clicking on these corrupted results can redirect you to potentially dangerous Internet websites!

Besides, the way this company stores collected data is unclear. In the case of a data breach[2], collected data can fall into bad hands. Therefore, we invite you to decide what method you want to use for ZwankySearch.com removal. You can use anti-malware software like ReimageIntego or try to delete the hijacker manually.

Avoiding potentially unwanted programs, such as Zwanky Search

Potentially unwanted software tends to infiltrate computer systems alongside programs that the computer user willingly installs. Although such software distribution method seems to be highly intrusive, it is actually legitimate.

The only thing that allows potentially unwanted software to hijack your PC is user’s inattentiveness. If you tend to rush through the installation by pushing “Next > Next > Install > Finish,” you simply overlook statements written behind suggested installation options that say you agree to place a couple of third-party programs on your system.

To avoid installing those additions, you must select Custom or Advanced settings and then deselect every suggested addition. It is very easy to do so – even inexperienced PC users can perform such simple configuration of installation settings.

Removing ZwankySearch.com. The easy way

The sooner you remove ZwankySearch.com virus from your computer, the better. Keeping this program on PC makes the system vulnerable to cyber attacks[3]. Therefore, do not delay the task and complete it today. There are two ways to uninstall the unwanted and spyware-type software:

  1. The manual removal method;
  2. The automatic removal method.

If you’re willing to take the challenge and perform manual ZwankySearch.com removal, use instructions provided below. Otherwise, rely on anti-spyware programs listed down below.

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 ZwankySearch.com virus, follow these steps:

Remove ZwankySearch.com from Windows systems

Delete ZwankySearch Desktop application according to the given instructions.

  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 ZwankySearch.com and related programs
    Here, look for ZwankySearch.com 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 ZwankySearch.com 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.

Get rid of ZwankySearch.com from Mac OS X system

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

Remove ZwankySearch.com from Applications folder:

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

Erase ZwankySearch.com 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 ZwankySearch.com 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 ZwankySearch.com removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Delete ZwankySearch.com virus 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 ZwankySearch.com-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

Eliminate ZwankySearch.com from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Uninstall Firefox extensions that are called similarly to ZwankySearch, such as Zwanky Search Desktop and similar.

  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 ZwankySearch.com 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 ZwankySearch.com removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Uninstall ZwankySearch.com from Google Chrome

Remove all Chrome extensions related to Zwanky Search tool.

  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 ZwankySearch.com 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 ZwankySearch.com removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Remove ZwankySearch.com 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 ZwankySearch.com 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 ZwankySearch.com, 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 ZwankySearch.com removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

Do not let government spy on you

The government has many issues in regards to tracking users' data and spying on citizens, so you should take this into consideration and learn more about shady information gathering practices. Avoid any unwanted government tracking or spying by going totally anonymous on the internet. 

You can choose a different location when you go online and access any material you want without particular content restrictions. You can easily enjoy internet connection without any risks of being hacked by using Private Internet Access VPN.

Control the information that can be accessed by government any other unwanted party and surf online without being spied on. Even if you are not involved in illegal activities or trust your selection of services, platforms, be suspicious for your own security and take precautionary measures by using the VPN service.

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
Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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