Also Known As: Webssearches.com redirect, Type: Browser Hijacker, Distribution: High
Damage level: Moderate
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
istart.webssearches.com virus removal instructions
What is istart.webssearches.com?
The istart.webssearches.com browser hijacker was created by EMG Technology Limited. This browser add-on is categorized as adware or a potentially unwanted application. Developers of this plugin employ a deceptive software marketing method called 'bundling', thus, most Internet users install this browser hijacker inadvertently without their consent when downloading free software. After successful infiltration, this adware modifies Internet browser (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox) settings by assigning the browser homepage, default search engine, and default tab fields to the istart.webssearches.com website. Computer users should be aware that this browser hijacker not only applies browser redirects, but also tracks users' Internet browsing activity by recording IP addresses, browser types, internet service providers (ISPs), cookie information, user searches performed, and webpages visited. The presence of this browser hijacker on your system can result in malware infections and identity theft.
At time of research, this adware was distributed using deceptive free software 'download clients' and fake downloads (such as fake Java and fake browser update downloads). The istart.webssearches.com browser hijacker is especially rogue since it modifies the shortcut targets of Internet browsers, thus blocking user attempts to set the homepage and default search engine settings. While this potentially unwanted program is not technically a virus, its behaviour is similar to malware infections, and therefore, you are advised to eliminate it from your computer.
The istart.webssearches.com browser hijacker is identical to previous variants, which redirect users to the awesomehp.com, sweet-page.com, and nationzoom.com websites. To avoid installation of browser settings-changing adware such as this, computer users should express caution when downloading free software. Today, most freeware download websites employ deceptive 'download clients' to trick computer users into installing advertised browser plug-ins together with the chosen free software. In most cases, advertised browser extensions add no real value, and moreover, cause browser redirects and generate intrusive ads. When downloading free programs, closely inspect each step and decline installation of any promoted browser plug-ins. When installing downloaded freeware, use the 'Advanced' or 'Custom' installation options - this will reveal any bundled adware listed for installation. Computer users who experience browser redirects to the istart.webssearches.com website, should use this removal guide to eliminate the Webssearches browser hijacker from their Internet browser/s.
Deceptive free software installers used in istart.webssearches.com browser hijacker distribution:
- What is istart.webssearches.com?
- STEP 1. Uninstall WPM126.96.36.19942 and webssearches uninstaller applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove istart.webssearches.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove istart.webssearches.com browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove istart.webssearches.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
Istart.webssearches.com browser hijacker removal:
Windows 7 users:
Click "Start" ("Windows Logo" at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose "Control Panel". Locate "Programs" and click "Uninstall a program".
Windows XP users:
Click "Start", choose "Settings" and click "Control Panel". Locate and click "Add or Remove Programs".
Windows 8 users:
Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose "Programs and Features".
In the uninstall programs window: look for "WPM188.8.131.5242" and "webssearches uninstall", select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted programs (which cause browser redirects to the istart.webssearches.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
istart.webssearches.com homepage and default search engine removal from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove browser hijackers:
Remove istart.webssearches.com virus from Internet Explorer:
Fix Internet Explorer shortcut target:
This browser hijacker changes the "Target" field of the Internet Explorer shortcut. To fix this, locate the Internet Explorer shortcut on your Desktop and click the right mouse button over it. In the opened menu, choose "Properties". In the opened window, locate the Target field and eliminate the text (hxxp://istart.webssearches.com/...), which is entered after "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe".
Change your homepage:
Click on the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer) select "Internet Options", in the opened window remove hxxp://istart.webssearches.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you launch Internet Explorer.
Change your default search engine:
Click on the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer) select "Manage Add-ons". In the opened window, select "Search Providers", set "Google", "Bing", or any other preferred search engine as your default, then remove "webssearches".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the istart.webssearches.com virus, reset your Internet Explorer settings to default.
Windows XP users: Click "Start", click "Run", in the opened window type "inetcpl.cpl" In the opened window click the "Advanced" tab, then click Reset.
Windows Vista and Windows 7 users: Click the Windows logo, in the start search box type "inetcpl.cpl" and click enter. In the opened window click the "Advanced" tab, then click Reset.
Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the "gear" icon. Select "Internet Options".
In the opened window, select the "Advanced" tab.
Click the "Reset" button.
Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the "Reset" button.
Remove istart.webssearches.com virus from Google Chrome:
Fix Google Chrome shortcut target:
This browser hijacker modifies the "Target" field of the Google Chrome shortcut. To fix this, locate the Google Chrome shortcut on your Desktop and click the right mouse button over it. In the opened menu, choose "Properties". In the opened window, locate the Target field and eliminate all text (hxxp://istart.webssearches.com/...), which is entered after "C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe"
Remove istart.webssearches.com related browser extensions:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) select "Tools" and click on "Extensions". Locate: "Quick Start", select this entry and click the trash can icon.
Change your homepage:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, click "set pages", hover your mouse over istart.webssearches.com and click the x symbol. Now, you can add your preferred website as your homepage.
Change your default search engine:
To change your default search engine in Google Chrome: Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) select "Settings", in the "Search" section click "Manage Search Engines...", remove "webssearches" and add or select your preferred Internet search engine.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the istart.webssearches.com virus, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select "Tools". From the opened menu, select "Extensions". In the opened window, select "Settings" (at the left corner of the screen). Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the "Show advanced settings…" link.
After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the "Reset browser settings" button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the "Reset" button.
Remove istart.webssearches.com virus from Mozilla Firefox:
Fix Mozilla Firefox shortcut target:
This browser hijacker changes the "Target" field of the Mozilla Firefox shortcut. To fix this, locate the Mozilla Firefox shortcut on your Desktop and click the right mouse button over it. In the opened menu, choose "Properties". In the opened window, locate the Target field and eliminate all text (hxxp://istart.webssearches.com/...), which is entered after "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe"
Change your homepage:
To reset your homepage, click on the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window) then select "Options", in the opened window remove istart.webssearches.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.
Change default search engine:
In the URL address bar, type about:config and press Enter.
Click "I'll be careful, I promise!".
In the search filter at the top, type: "webssearches"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.
Computer users who have problems with istart.webssearches.com virus removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.
Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, in the opened menu, click the "Open Help Menu" icon,
Select "Troubleshooting Information".
In the opened window, click the "Reset Firefox" button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the "Reset" button.
A browser hijacker is a type of adware that alters user's Internet browser settings by changing one's homepage and default Internet search engine to some unwanted website. Most commonly this type of adware infiltrates user's operating system through free software downloads. While browser redirects might seem as a low risk security infection, computer users should know that the websites to which they are being redirected to commonly contain deceptive online advertisements and the Internet search engine that is presented in such websites might return shady Internet search results. Using such websites for one's daily Internet searches might easily end up in privacy issues, identity theft or malware infections.
A computer that is affected by a browser hijacker is exposed to high risk security infections. To prevent further privacy and security issues it's recommended removing any Internet browser settings altering adware as soon as possible. Here are some examples of free software download clients that are used in istart.webssearches.com Virus distribution:
To avoid installation of istart.webssearches.com Virus be very attentive when downloading and installing free software. If your download is managed by a download client be sure to opt out of installing advertised toolbars or applications that seek to change your homepage and default Internet search engine:
Some of the mentioned free software download clients don't allow downloading the chosen free program if user decides to decline installation of it's offered toolbars, in such cases it's recommended to cancel the installation and look for an alternative download source.
Symptoms indicating that your Internet browsers are affected by a browser hijacker:
- Your homepage and/or default Internet search engine is changed.
- Appearance of new toolbars.
- Slow performance of Internet browsers.
- New Bookmarks or Favorites added.
- You can't change your homepage or default search engine.
- You see online ads on your screen that are not served by the website.
- You get redirected to pages you never intended to visit.
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove istart.webssearches.com Virus from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware removal forum.
If you have additional information on istart.webssearches.com Virus or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.