Browser Redirect

Remove Defend Search “Malware” from Win/Mac (Safari/Chrome/FF/IE) Dec. 2019 Update

How irritating is this problem? (10 votes, average: 5.00)

This page aims to help you remove Defend Search “Malware”. Our removal instructions work for Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer as well as every version of Windows and Mac OSX.

Regardless of what software problem a given user may be struggling with, the first step towards dealing with the issue is understanding what’s causing it. In this particular post, we will focus on one very common problem that many users have with their browsers and that is when the browser is getting swarmed with unpleasant and obstructive advertising materials that are making it difficult to surf the Internet in peace. Here, however, we aren’t talking about ads and page-redirects that are coming from different websites. Instead, we are referring to the advertising materials spammed by the so-called browser hijacker apps – a category of software the representatives of which are able to infiltrate most of the popular browsers (ones like Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari and so on) and turn them into an ad-streaming platform by making changes to their search engines and homepage addresses and by showing all sorts of pesky advertisements in their windows and tabs.

Defend Search “Malware”

This type of problem is, as we already said, really common and many customers do not even realize that the cause behind it is a browser hijacker software component. Now, if you have a similar issue with your browser and do not know how to put an end to the continuous generation of pop-ups, banners, page-redirects, pop-unders and other intrusive content, know that the most important step to take is to uninstall the unwanted software that has latched onto your browser and that is triggering all of the unpleasant activities. There are actually thousands of browser hijackers out there but since you have landed on this particular article, you likely have the Defend Search hijacker in your computer. Below, you can find detailed removal steps and a professional removal tool both of which should allow you to make a quick work of Defend Search and rid your computer and browser of its presence.

Remove Defend Search “Malware”

If you have a Windows virus, continue with the guide below.

If you have a Mac virus, please use our How to remove Ads on Mac guide.

If you have an Android virus, please use our Android Malware Removal guide.

If you have an iPhone virus, please use our iPhone Virus Removal guide


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).

Was this step helpful? Please vote – we use the feedback to improve our guides.



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. 


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

Drag and Drop Files Here to Scan
Maximum file size: 128MB.

This scanner is free and will always remain free for our website's users. You can find its full-page version at:

Scan Results

Virus Scanner Result

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. 


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


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:


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


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.



  • 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).


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

ie9-10_512x512  Remove Defend 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 Defend Search from Firefox:

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

pic 6

Find the adware/malware —> Remove.
chrome-logo-transparent-backgroundRemove Defend 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.


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

Careful with the ads and the other commercial messages

You surely don’t want to land some malicious Ransomware, Spyware or Trojan Horse infection on your computer, yet this is exactly what could happen if you accidentally open some misleading or fake advert on the Internet. Sadly, with a hijacker in your browser, the number of ads you get exposed to on your computer would be drastically increased meaning that the chances of running into some unsafe piece of online content would also go up. Now, Defend Search itself is not a malicious virus program or some Trojan Horse or Ransomware cryptovirus. It’s an advertising-oriented tool that is supposed to make money through its ads. The problem is that you can’t really trust each and every advert that comes your way and it is always safer to simply keep away from the random commercial messages that get spammed on your screen. In fact, it’s best if you simply get rid of the app (Defend Search) that is triggering the ads generation which is why we once again remind you to make use of the guide from this page and eliminate Defend Search for good.


Name Defend Search
Type  Browser Hijacker
Danger Level Medium (nowhere near threats like Ransomware, but still a security risk)
Symptoms  A hijacker app would usually get spotted as soon as it starts to spam the browser screen with its annoying ads and page-redirects.
Distribution Method Installing software bundles is usually without checking the advanced setup menu is how most users get hijackers on their computers.
Detection Tool

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!


Leave a Comment