Secured Search is a junkware extension for Windows browsers like Chrome and Firefox that some researchers label as a browser-hijacking virus. Secured Search infects the main browser and begins to redirect it to certain sites with the goal to boost their ratings and view counts.
The purpose of pretty much every browser-hijacking app is to take over the main browser of the user and begin to advertise the sites of its sponsors through page redirects, banners, pop-ups, clickbait links, and more. Unlike a virus focused on stealth, such as a Ransomware cryptovirus or a Trojan horse, a hijacker like Secured Search would get noticed as soon as it becomes a part of the browser. All of the adverts, redirects, and even some changes in the browser that these apps result in are symptoms of their presence on the computer that are nearly impossible to miss.
The search engine, the homepage, the new-tab page, and the toolbar are all elements of the browser that are likely to get modified without your agreement if a hijacker gets installed on your PC. Any such changes typically serve the purpose of further boosting the hijacker’s ability to spam you with more ads and redirects while you are on the Internet.
At times, the promoting activities of apps like this one could become so obstructive that it could be nearly impossible to browse the web normally. This, however, is not surprising, considering the fact that the people who make apps like Secured Search earn money from each ad and page-redirect that the user interacts with. There is something called Pay-Per-Click/Pay-Per-View, which is a remuneration model that allows advertisers to automatically get paid commissions for each click their ads generate and each visit the sites promoted by them receive. This remuneration model is what dictates the whole behavior of the apps that fall under the browser hijacker category. The bigger the number of ads, page redirects, and pop-ups that are put on the users’ screens, the greater the potential end-profit for the people who own and control the browser hijacker.
Of course, none of this is beneficial to the end-user in any way. In fact, there are certain risks that a hijacker may expose your computer to if it is allowed to operate on your computer for long.
The Secured Search Extension
The main threat you face if this app is attached to your browser doesn’t come from the hijacker itself but from the sites that it may potentially reroute your browser to. Since you aren’t given the option to control the stream of ads and redirects that spam your browser, it is possible that some of the sites that get promoted are not safe. Furthermore, some of them may even contain harmful downloads such as dangerous viruses, Trojans, or Ransomware that are disguised as something you may be tempted to download. In addition, some of the online locations advertised by browser hijackers could be phishing pages that try to steal money from you by obtaining your credit and debit card numbers through deceit. All in all, even though Secured Search will most likely not cause harm to any aspect of your browser and computer, it is still inadvisable to keep it there due to the external threats it may indirectly expose you to. Therefore, the wisest course of action is to uninstall Secured Search – the guide in the next lines will assist you with the removal process.
|Danger Level||Medium (nowhere near threats like Ransomware, but still a security risk)|
|Symptoms||Typical hijacker symptoms are the replacement of the default homepage of the main browser and the change of the search engine without user approval.|
|Distribution Method||Commonly, these apps are attached to spam emails, automatic software updates, and program installers.|
Some threats reinstall themselves if you don't delete their core files. We recommend downloading SpyHunter to remove harmful programs for you. This may save you hours and ensure you don't harm your system by deleting the wrong files.
How To Remove Secured Search
To try and remove Secured Search quickly you can try this:
- Go to your browser’s settings and select More Tools (or Add-ons, depending on your browser).
- Then click on the Extensions tab.
- Look for the Secured Search extension (as well as any other unfamiliar ones).
- Remove Secured Search by clicking on the Trash Bin icon next to its name.
- Confirm and get rid of Secured Search and any other suspicious items.
If this does not work as described please follow our more detailed Secured Search removal guide below.
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).
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.
Right click on each of them and select Open File Location. Then scan the files with our free online virus scanner:
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:
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:
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.
- 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.
- 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.
Remove Secured Search 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 Secured Search from Firefox:
Open Firefox, click ——-> Add-ons —-> Extensions.
Find the adware/malware —> Remove.
Remove Secured 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 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—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!