Browser hijackers, like Support.me, are software tools that advertisers and programmers widely use to display huge amounts of different ads, banners, popping boxes, links and promotional pages on the user’s screen. Support.me is one typical representative, and as such, it is developed with the idea to generate as many of them as possible.
Let’s start by stating something – Support.me is a scam, it is not a real service. Support.me is typical for its browser redirects but it might also change your search engine’s homepage, even if you are using chrome or firefox. What can you do to stop this? If this is the question that brought you here, you have come just to the right place. In this removal guide, we are going to show you how to detect and manually delete all the related files that are causing you this browser related disturbance. And since the program that is generating the ads falls into the category of the browser hijackers, in the next lines we will describe its common behavior and the ways you can prevent such software from sneaking in your system again. Not only that, but we will inform you about the possible risks of keeping browser hijackers like Support.me on your PC and the most common locations where you can find them. So, let’s begin.
Every click is converted into income.
Through a business model called Pay-Per-Click, every click is converted into income and the programmers take advantage of that. They commonly use the browser hijackers as “sponsors” that help them distribute their software for free and cover up the development costs. This method is called software bundle and usually, programs like Support.me are distributed this way when packed inside the installation wizard of another program. Users may download that program and install it on their computer, but they may not really see the bundled browser hijacker inside, that’s why it usually gets installed along unnoticed.
A common mistake that leads to installing Support.me unknowingly.
But you should not think that this is some kind of a sneaky program that installs itself without your permission. In fact, you give your permission to get it installed when you click the “OK” button in the setup. However, there is a common mistake that users make during the installation and they overlook the options that are given in the bundle. First of all, they don’t really read the EULA carefully and secondly, they don’t pay the necessary attention during the installation process where they have to choose the advanced/custom options instead of the standard/quick installation. The advanced option is where all sorts of adware, browser hijackers and other potentially unwanted programs are placed. Therefore, checking it would really save you the nerves of dealing with bloatware later.
In case you want to really stay away from such programs:
In case you want to really stay away from such programs, avoid installing software from unknown sources such as torrents, open source platforms, direct downloads or spam emails. Proper anti-malware software could also detect the browser hijacker and help you remove it, therefore it is a good idea to invest in one.
Browser hijackers’ activity may appear like a virus infection but it is not.
The constant flow of ads and popping messages as well as the numerous new tabs and page redirects that are impossible to close may make you feel that you have lost control over your machine and some malicious virus has taken over it. Indeed, this aggressive activity may easily be mistaken for some bad malware infection, but the truth is that this is just the result from the browser hijacker that is operating on your computer rather than real malware. A browser hijacker like Support.me , in fact, cannot be considered a serious threat and the main reason is that these types of programs do not contain any malicious scripts, unlike Ransomware or Trojans. They are simply developed to display ads, monitor the users’ online searches, and try to get as many clicks as possible by generating relevant ads. Some users, however, may get really irritated by these undesired activities and would prefer to completely uninstall the browser hijacker. Actually, this is a good idea if they want to eliminate the possibility of clicking on misleading ads which could indirectly infect them with some viruses or even Ransomware. The removal guide below will surely help you if you also decide to do so. Just make sure you delete the right files and you will be good to go.
|Danger Level||Medium (nowhere near threats like Ransomware, but still a security risk)|
|Symptoms||Ads, banners and messages constantly disturb your online activity.|
|Distribution Method||Software bundles, torrents, open source platforms, direct downloads or spam emails.|
|Detection Tool||Support.me may be difficult to track down. Use SpyHunter – a professional parasite scanner – to make sure you find all files related to the infection.|
Support.me Scam Removal
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).
- Do not skip this – Support.me 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.
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.
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 Support.me 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 Support.me from Firefox:
Open Firefox, click ——-> Add-ons —-> Extensions.
Find the adware/malware —> Remove.
Remove Support.me 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!