How to Remove Google Custom Search Gone Rogue?

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How irritating is this virus?

This page aims to help you remove Rogue Google Custom Search. These Rogue Google Custom Search removal instructions work for Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer, as well as every version of Windows.

Google Custom Search is a neat and helpful feature that every customer can use to create a custom search engine powered by Google and implement it within a website of their own. It basically enables the user to have at his or hers disposal one of the best search engines out there within their own site, thus enhancing the latter with a powerful and easy to use search feature that takes about a minute to create. This is all good and useful until people try to abuse it, and exploit the said service. Some of the most notable examples are people that try to utilize Google Custom Search as means of generating income through online ads. In today’s article, we will explain how this actually works and how you know that it is happening to your PC and your browser. In addition to that, we will help you get rid of any potentially unwanted and harmful programs that you might have on your PC which exploit Google Custom Search and use it in a manner that can be potentially harmful.

How do you know that there’s an issue?

Most users first notice that there’s something off once they open their browser and see that it has been modified without their agreement. For example, if your Chrome, Firefox, IE or Edge browser front page has been changed to something that looks like Google but is instead a customized search engine that generates a lot of ads once you try to use it, then you probably have some sort of unpleasant and unwanted piece of software inside your PC that needs to be removed. Normally, such programs are referred to as Browser Hijackers or Adware due to their tendency to mess with one’s browser and fill it with nagging ads. Other potential symptoms that you might notice if you have such a program on your machine are new toolbar added to the browser, frequent page redirects that seem to be happening for no reason and a lot of banners, pop-ups and box messages that obstruct you when you try to use your browsing program.

The whole point of that is, of course, financial gain and since it is fairly easy to exploit Google Custom Search and use it for personal profit, a lot of cyber-crooks, rouge programmers and hackers tend to do it.

Is your compute threatened by such programs?

As far as the security and safety of your machine is concerned, you should probably not worry all that much. Rogue Google Custom Search software, though unwanted and irritating is usually not really that harmful as some might think. Programs like that are certainly not some sort of noxious Ransomware viruses or nasty Trojan Horses. That being said, you should still be on your guard and see to the removal of the intrusive software as soon as possible. Despite not being an actual virus, a program of this type can still cause quite a lot of problems and though probably not harmful on its own, it could sometimes expose your machine to actual software hazards like the ones mentioned earlier. Therefore, if you don’t want to land some sort of malicious Ransomware or Trojan virus, you’d better take the necessary precautions and have the unwanted program gotten rid of. If you do not know how to do that on your own, we can help you with it. There is a detailed guide down below where you can find all the instructions that you might need in order to get rid of any programs that might be messing with your browser and Internet settings.

In the meantime, we strongly advise you to avoid using the rogue custom search engine, especially if it tends to redirect you to other websites or generate obstructive adverts. As far as the ads are concerned, it is better to avoid any interaction with them since there’s no way of knowing what might await you on the other side.

How do such programs get installed?

When it comes to spreading potentially unwanted programs like the ones we are talking about, there is a big number of different distribution methods that are being used. For example, often times such software is getting spread via spam e-mails in the form of file attachments or direct download links. Another possibility is the use of shady internet offers, deceitful internet notifications and fake browser warnings. Normally, as long as you use your common sense when surfing the Internet and avoid any sketchy and obscure websites, you should be fine. Additionally, a reliable anti-malware program might greatly help you as well.

However, there’s one method that seems to be more effective than the rest since it does not raise as much suspicion. We are referring to the so called program bundles. Commonly, the unwanted piece of software would be bundled with some other, more appealing program (mostly freeware) and would get installed along with it. Nevertheless, there’s a way to avoid that as well. All you’d need to do is simply take a careful look throughout the setup wizard and see if there are any added installs. If you find out that anything’s been added and that it looks potentially undesirable, simply uncheck it and you’d be able to safely continue with the installation process.

SUMMARY:

Name Rogue Google Custom Search
Type Browser Hijacker
Danger Level Medium (nowhere near threats like Ransomware, but still a security risk)
Symptoms If your browser’s front page has been changed to a search engine that looks like Google and has its logo but generates a lot of ads and causes page redirects, then you probably have some unwanted piece of software installed on your PC.
Distribution Method A lot of different methods such as junk mail letters and shady banners/ads are being used but the most notable one is the so-called program-bundling.
Detection Tool We generally recommend SpyHunter or a similar anti-malware program that is updated daily.

Keep in mind, SpyHunter’s malware detection tool is free. To remove the infection, you’ll need to purchase the full version.
More information about SpyHunter and steps to uninstall.

How to Remove Google Custom Search Gone Rogue?

If you are a Windows user, continue with the guide below.

If you are a Mac user, please use our How to remove Ads on Mac guide.

If you are an Android user, please use our Android Malware Removal guide.


Step1

Some of the steps will likely require you to exit the page. Bookmark it for later reference.

Reboot in Safe Mode (use this guide if you don’t know how to do it).

Step2

WARNING! READ CAREFULLY BEFORE PROCEEDING!

We get asked this a lot, so we are putting it here: Removing parasite manually may take hours and damage your system in the process. If you want a fast safe solution, we recommend SpyHunter. 

>> Click to Download Spyhunter. If you don't want this software, continue with the guide below.

Keep in mind, SpyHunter’s malware & virus scanner is free. To remove the infection, you'll need to purchase its full version. More information about SpyHunter and steps to uninstall.

Press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC at the same time and go to the Processes Tab (the “Details” Tab on Win 8 and 10). Try to determine which processes are dangerous. 

malware-start-taskbar

Right click on each of them and select Open File Location. Then scan the files with our free online virus scanner:

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Maximum file size: 128MB.

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Scan Results


Virus Scanner Result
ClamAV
AVG AV
Maldet

After you open their folder, end the processes that are infected, then delete their folders. 

Note: If you are sure something is part of the infection – delete it, even if the scanner doesn’t flag it. No anti-virus program can detect all infections. 

Step3

Hold together the Start Key and R. Type appwiz.cpl –> OK.

appwiz

You are now in the Control Panel. Look for suspicious entries. Uninstall it/them.

Type msconfig in the search field and hit enter. A window will pop-up:

msconfig_opt

Startup —> Uncheck entries that have “Unknown” as Manufacturer or otherwise look suspicious.

Step4

Hold the Start Key and R –  copy + paste the following and click OK:

notepad %windir%/system32/Drivers/etc/hosts

A new file will open. If you are hacked, there will be a bunch of other IPs connected to you at the bottom. Look at the image below:

hosts_opt (1)

If there are suspicious IPs below “Localhost” – write to us in the comments.

Open the start menu and search for Network Connections (On Windows 10 you just write it after clicking the Windows button), press enter.

  1. Right-click on the Network Adapter you are using —> Properties —> Internet Protocol Version 4 (ICP/IP), click  Properties.
  2. The DNS line should be set to Obtain DNS server automatically. If it is not, set it yourself.
  3. Click on Advanced —> the DNS tab. Remove everything here (if there is something) —> OK.

DNS

Step5

  • After you complete this step, the threat will be gone from your browsers. Finish the next step as well or it may reappear on a system reboot.

Right click on the browser’s shortcut —> Properties.

NOTE: We are showing Google Chrome, but you can do this for Firefox and IE (or Edge).

browser-hijacker-taskbar-properties

Properties —–> Shortcut. In Target, remove everything after .exe.

ie9-10_512x512  Remove Rogue Google Custom Search from Internet Explorer:

Open IE, click  IE GEAR —–> Manage Add-ons.

pic 3

Find the threat —> Disable. Go to IE GEAR —–> Internet Options —> change the URL to whatever you use (if hijacked) —> Apply.

firefox-512 Remove Rogue Google Custom Search from Firefox:

Open Firefoxclick  mozilla menu  ——-> Add-ons —-> Extensions.

pic 6

Find the adware/malware —> Remove.
chrome-logo-transparent-backgroundRemove Rogue Google Custom Search from Chrome:

Close Chrome. Navigate to:

 C:/Users/!!!!USER NAME!!!!/AppData/Local/Google/Chrome/User Data. There is a Folder called “Default” inside:

Rename the Folder to Backup Default

Rename it to Backup Default. Restart Chrome.

Step6

WARNING!
To remove parasite, you may have to meddle with system files and registries. Making a mistake and deleting the wrong thing may damage your system.
Avoid this by using SpyHunter - a professional Parasite removal tool.

Keep in mind, SpyHunter’s malware & virus scanner is free. To remove the infection, you'll need to purchase its full version. More information about SpyHunter and steps to uninstall.

Type Regedit in the windows search field and press Enter.

Inside, press CTRL and F together and type the threat’s Name. Right click and delete any entries you find with a similar name. If they don’t show up this way, go manually to these directories and delete/uninstall them:

  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—–Random Directory. It could be any one of them – ask us if you can’t discern which ones are malicious.
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—Microsoft—-Windows—CurrentVersion—Run– Random
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—Microsoft—Internet Explorer—-Main—- Random

If the guide doesn’t help, download the anti-virus program we recommended or try our free online virus scanner. Also, you can always ask us in the comments for help!