Remove Search Protect by Conduit “Virus” (Sept. 2018 Update)


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This page aims to help you remove Search Protect by Conduit. Our removal instructions work for Chrome, Firefox and Safari, as well as every version of Win and Mac.

Nagging ads and annoying pop-ups may appear on your screen due to many reasons. One of the most common sources of such advertising messages are the so-called browser hijackers. These pieces of software are specifically developed to get inside popular browsers (such as Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.) and to generate hundreds of pay-per-click advertisements and sponsored links on the users’ screen during their browsing sessions. They often cause unresponsiveness and automatic page-redirects to certain promotional web offers and this is how they usually create irritation and disturbance to the one’s online browsing activity. The reason for this aggressive invasion in the normal web surfing is normally the strive of the hijacker creators to earn revenue from the sponsored ads as well as to provide better exposure and promotion for specific items.

One recently reported application which operates as a browser hijacker is the irritating Search Protect by Conduit. This application is developed and programmed to serve the advertising needs of the online marketing industry by hijacking the users’ browsers and placing ads inside them. If your favorite browsing program has been invaded by it, in the next lines, you will learn how to remove it. Luckily, you don’t need to have any special skills in order to deal with it because, in the removal guide below, we have described the exact steps that need to be taken in order to safely uninstall the undesired application. To your relief, Search Protect by Conduit is not a virus program and it is different from real malware threats like Ransomware and Trojan horse viruses and if you follow the steps below carefully, you most probably won’t have any problems with eliminating the hijacker from your system. Before you scroll down to the guide, however, we suggest you complete the reading of the article because, further down, we explain how you can prevent such software from invading your browsers in the future as well as what potential issues hijackers may cause in case you keep them on the PC for too long.

Remove Search Protect by Conduit

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


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!

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.

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




Scan Results


Virus Scanner Result
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AVG AV
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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 Search Protect by Conduit 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 Search Protect by Conduit from Firefox:

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

pic 6

Find the adware/malware —> Remove.
chrome-logo-transparent-backgroundRemove Search Protect by Conduit 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

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

How can Search Protect by Conduit hijack your browser?

The people who create applications like Search Protect by Conduit are more than interested in having them installed on as many computers as possible. Naturally, the more page-redirects and paid ads their software generates, the greater the profit and the more effective the advertising would be. That’s why they often distribute the browser hijackers for free and promote them as recommended components to some other software installations. Different application bundles, games, free optimization tools, browser add-ons and torrent installers may contain similar ad-generating software and if you download such installation packages and run them on your PC, you are very likely to get a hijacker. Fortunately, if you carefully read the EULA and select the Advanced/Custom installation settings of the given bundle, you can easily detect and opt out of the additionally bundled components before they become part of your system. In order to prevent the installation of various potentially unwanted applications (and even infections with nasty viruses such as Ransomware, Spyware, Trojans, Worms, etc.) we strongly advise you to be selective about the sources of your software and, if possible, to avoid sketchy web locations, spam, torrents and shady free download platforms.

Search Protect by Conduit is not a virus but here is what issues it might cause if not removed:

We already made it clear above that neither Search Protect by Conduit nor most other representatives of the browser hijackers category would cause any serious harm to your computer. In fact, due to lack of malicious scripts, such ad-generating applications are not regarded as a high security threat even if they get installed in the system. Most web users can easily uninstall them and remove their nagging ads and browser changes with the help of a removal guide or by scanning their machine with professional security software.

While being active, however, applications like Search Protect by Conduit may consume a fair share of system resources for their advertising activity and this way contribute to some system issues such as sluggishness and unresponsiveness of the affected browser, crashes and exposure to unfamiliar or irrelevant web content. In some cases, the hijackers may run a traffic data collection service on behalf of their developers in order to keep track of and analyze the users’ searches for marketing purposes. Such activities might not be malicious but certainly could be undesirable and could give the users a good reason to uninstall the software that initiates them.

SUMMARY:

Name Search Protect by Conduit
Type Browser Hijacker
Danger Level Medium (nowhere near threats like Ransomware, but still a security risk)
Symptoms  Your homepage or search engine may be replaced by some sponsored ones. 
Distribution Method Different free download platforms, online installation managers, software bundles, torrents, spam, email attachments.
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!


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