This page aims to help you remove SafeSurf. These SafeSurf removal instructions work for Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer, as well as every version of Windows.
Your browser has been invaded by SafeSurf? Here’s what you need to know
Does your screen get covered by a wall of intrusive online adverts every time you open your browser? If so, then you’ve probably had the program SafeSurf installed onto your computer, without you even knowing about it. It is a browser add-on associated with a particular type of software called browser hijacker. Programs that are considered browser hijacker are notorious for their intrusiveness and annoying behavior. Their most infamous feature is the generation of rage-inducing ads that heavily obstruct your browsing experience. Apart from that, some browser hijacker programs might attempt to alter some of your browser’s settings. For instance, they might change your front page without allowing you to change it back as long as they remain active on your PC.
The idea behind browser hijacker programs is that their developers gain revenue through them via the pay-per-click method. That is also why the ads you see being displayed on your screen tend to be so horribly annoying – it’s just so that after some time people would give it up and would click on them, just so that they can have them removed. However, this is a bad idea and we will explain why later in this article. In addition to this, we’ve included a guide that will help you remove the annoying program in just a few simple steps.
Comparison between SafeSurf “Virus” and malware
Here;s the thing, contrary to what a lot of people think SafeSurf “Virus” is not a virus at all, nor it is a malware. It is a common misconception that programs such as SafeSurf are some kind of evil, malicious viruses that try to destroy your system, bust your passwords and spy on you. We already figured out what browser hijacker’s purpose is and it surely isn’t to annihilate your computer. There’s a very big difference between browser hijacker programs and viruses. While malicious software, such as Trojan Horses or Ransomware for example, is undoubtedly harmful to your PC, your files and your virtual security, browser hijacker applications such as SafeSurf are pretty much harmless. Of course, this does not mean they are any more wanted, which they are not. However, if you’ve gotten yourself browser hijacker, there’s no need to worry, since it is unlikely that it would damage your machine in any way.
Potential security threats you might encounter
As we already said, browser hijacker are programs that, as annoying as they might be, do not aim to harm your system. That being said, you should still keep in mind that they might still contain some security hazards you should be on the lookout for. It usually has to do with the ads that you see displayed all over your browser. You see, these ads usually redirect you to some other webpage, should you click on them. The thing is, you might get redirected to a page with questionable contents that might compromise your PC’s security, like the abovementioned ransomware, for example. Therefore, our advice for you is to avoid clicking on those pop-ups banners and box messages, even if you simply want to close them. Potentially harmful adverts are a rarity, but we believe that there’s no need to take any chances by interacting with those ads.
Distributing browser hijackers
One of the most important things that you need to know about browser hijacker programs is how they get distributed throughout the internet. There are many methods for spreading programs like SafeSurf and here we will attempt to list the most commonly used ones.
- Hidden links – some sites (usually such with questionable contents) might contain links hidden among their pages. Often clicking on such a link might result in an unwanted program starting to download itself onto your PC. Sometimes you might not even have time to react and terminate the download process. Therefore, first of all, avoid shady sites and second – if you still happen to get on some suspicious website, be very careful what you click on.
- Keep in mind that some free file-sharing sites often have big buttons that say Download – this is made to trick you into thinking that this is the download button for the file you want. In most cases this is a ruse and is in fact either a direct download link to some unwanted program or a link to a page that you’d probably be better off not visiting.
- Spam e-mails – this is one of the most commonly used methods for distributing all sorts of unwanted software, be it browser hijacker or some more problematic programs. Sure, your inbox has a spam folder, but sometimes letters containing browser hijacker might get among your regular messages Therefore, always double-check the details of newly received messages that are from an unknown sender. If any of it looks suspicious, you’d better delete that e-mail without opening it.
- Program-bundling – this is considered to be the most effective method for spreading browser hijacker programs like SafeSurf. With this method, the intrusive software is bundled with some other third-party program that is usually free or cheap. Using the regular settings to install that program would result in the browser hijacker getting on your PC as well. Therefore, always opt for the advanced installation settings. That way you’d be able to leave out of the installation any added content that you think may be unwanted. Simply uncheck the added installs that seem suspicious and carry on with the installation of the main program.
|Danger Level||Medium (nowhere near threats like Ransomware, but still a security risk)|
|Symptoms||It’s nearly impossible to miss the barrage of rage-inducing ads, falling down upon your screen as soon as you attempt to use your browser.|
|Distribution Method||Spam e-mails, deceptive links in file-sharing sites and the obligatory program-bundling.|
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SafeSurf Removal (Chrome/Firefox)
Reboot in Safe Mode (use this guide if you don’t know how to do it).
This was the first preparation.
- Do not skip this – SafeSurf may have hidden some of its files.
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.
- Remember this step – if you have reason to believe a bigger threat (like ransomware) is on your PC, check everything here.
Open the start menu and search for Network Connections (On Windows 10 you just write it after clicking the Windows button), press enter.
- Right-click on the Network Adapter you are using —> Properties —> Internet Protocol Version 4 (ICP/IP), click Properties.
- The DNS line should be set to Obtain DNS server automatically. If it is not, set it yourself.
- Click on Advanced —> the DNS tab. Remove everything here (if there is something) —> OK.
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.
Remove SafeSurf from Internet Explorer:
Open IE, click —–> Manage Add-ons.
Find the threat —> Disable. Go to —–> Internet Options —> change the URL to whatever you use (if hijacked) —> Apply.
Remove SafeSurf from Firefox:
Open Firefox, click ——-> Add-ons —-> Extensions.
Find the browser hijacker/malware —> Remove.
Remove SafeSurf from Chrome:
Close Chrome. Navigate to:
C:/Users/!!!!USER NAME!!!!/AppData/Local/Google/Chrome/User Data. There is a Folder called “Default” inside:
Rename it to Backup Default. Restart Chrome.
- At this point the threat is gone from Chrome, but complete the entire guide or it may reappear on a system reboot.
Press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC simultaneously. Go to the Processes Tab. Try to determine which ones are dangerous. Google them or ask us in the comments.
WARNING! READ CAREFULLY BEFORE PROCEEDING!
Right click on each of the problematic processes separately and select Open File Location. End the process after you open the folder, then delete the directories you were sent to.
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 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—Internet Explorer—-Main—- Random
Remember to leave us a comment if you run into any trouble!