What is searchsecretly.net?
The searchsecretly.net website presented as a legitimate search engine. By offering a feature to search the Internet within 'incognito mode', searchsecretly.net attempts to give the impression of legitimacy, however, this site is promoted via a rogue deceptive browser extension ("Search Secretly") that hijacks browsers and stealthily modifies various options without permission.
Furthermore, searchsecretly.net generates results leading to malicious websites and records data relating to users' Internet browsing activity.
Search Secretly hijacks Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox, assigning the new tab URL, homepage, and default search engine options to searchsecretly.net. Furthermore, it reassigns these options when attempts are made to change them. This prevents users from reverting the aforementioned changes.
Therefore, users continually encounter unwanted redirects to searchsecretly.net, significantly diminishing the web browsing experience. Research shows that websites promoted via rogue browser extensions and deceptive download/installation set-ups often record information relating to web browsing activity.
The data often contains personal details that developers sell to third parties (who generate revenue by misusing private information). Therefore, data tracking can result in serious privacy issues or even identity theft. We advise you to remove all suspicious applications/browser plug-ins and never to visit searchsecretly.net again.
|Name||searchsecretly.net browser hijacker|
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Symptoms||Manipulated Internet browser(s) settings (homepage, default Internet search engine, new tab settings). User's are forced to visit hijacker's website and search the Internet using their search engines.|
|Distribution methods||Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers.|
|Damage||Internet browsing tracking (potential privacy issues), displaying of unwanted ads, redirects to shady websites.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
These websites claim to enhance the web browsing experience by generating improved results, however, fake search engines are designed only to generate revenue for the developers and are useless for regular users.
Fake search engines generate results leading to other potentially malicious websites. In addition, they display intrusive online advertisements not relevant to regular users. Promotion of third party websites and display of intrusive advertisements (via the "Pay Per Click" advertising model) allows developers to generate revenue.
How did searchsecretly.net install on my computer?
Potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) are usually distributed using a deceptive marketing method called "bundling" - stealth installation of third party programs with regular software/apps. There is a high probability that Search Secretly is also distributed in this way.
Developers hide bundled apps/extensions within the "Custom/Advanced" settings of the download or installation process. Rushing these procedures and skipping steps often leads to inadvertent installation of PUPs.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
To prevent this situation, be cautious when downloading and installing software. Carefully analyze each step and decline offers to download/install third party applications.
If you notice any suspicious behavior (for example, unwanted redirects, intrusive advertisements, etc.) or reduced computer performance, we strongly advise you to go through the list of installed applications and browser extensions and remove any dubious entries, since existing PUPs are designed to intermittently install additional rogue programs. The key to computer safety is caution.
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is searchsecretly.net?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Search Secretly application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove searchsecretly.net redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove Search Secretly browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove searchsecretly.net homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove searchsecretly.net redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Search Secretly browser hijacker removal:
Windows 11 users:
Right-click on the Start icon, select Apps and Features. In the opened window search for the application you want to uninstall, after locating it, click on the three vertical dots and select Uninstall.
Windows 10 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.
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.
macOS (OSX) users:
Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.
In the uninstall programs window: look for any recently-installed suspicious applications (for example, "Search Secretly"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted programs that cause browser redirects to the searchsecretly.net website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Search Secretly browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove browser redirects:
Remove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:
Click the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for any recently-installed suspicious extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".
Change your homepage:
Click the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Internet Options", in the opened window, remove hxxp://searchsecretly.net and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you launch Internet Explorer. You can also enter about: blank to open a blank page when you start Internet Explorer.
Change your default search engine:
Click 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 and then remove "search secretly".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the searchsecretly.net browser hijacker, 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 malicious extensions from Google Chrome:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate "Search Secretly" and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, select these entries 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, look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.searchsecretly.net) below the “Open a specific or set of pages” option. If present, click the three vertical dots icon and select “Remove”.
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 engine" section, click "Manage search engines...", in the opened list, look for "Search Secretly", and when located, click the three vertical dots near this URL and select "Remove from list".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the searchsecretly.net browser hijacker, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.
After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click "Extensions" and remove "Search Secretly", and all other recently-installed browser plug-ins.
Change your homepage:
To reset your homepage, click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), then select "Options", in the opened window, remove hxxp://searchsecretly.net and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.
Change your 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: "searchsecretly.net"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.
Computer users who have problems with searchsecretly.net browser hijacker 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 Help.
Select Troubleshooting Information.
In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.
Remove malicious extensions from Safari:
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click Safari menu, then select Preferences...
In the preferences window select the Extensions tab. Look for any recently installed suspicious extensions and uninstall them.
In the preferences window select General tab and make sure that your homepage is set to a preferred URL, if its altered by a browser hijacker - change it.
In the preferences window select Search tab and make sure that your preferred Internet search engine is selected.
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...
In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.
Remove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:
Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Locate any recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.
Change your homepage and new tab settings:
Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section look for the name of the browser hijacker and click "Disable".
Change your default Internet search engine:
To change your default search engine in Microsoft Edge: Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Privacy and services", scroll to bottom of the page and select "Address bar". In the "Search engines used in address bar" section look for the name of the unwanted Internet search engine, when located click the "Disable" button near it. Alternatively you can click on "Manage search engines", in the opened menu look for unwanted Internet search engine. Click on the puzzle icon near it and select "Disable".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the searchsecretly.net browser hijacker, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.
In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.
Select Restore settings to their default values. In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Microsoft Edge settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
- If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.
A browser hijacker is a type of adware infection that modifies Internet browser settings by assigning the homepage and default Internet search engine settings to some other (unwanted) website URL. Commonly, this type of adware infiltrates operating systems through free software downloads. If your download is managed by a download client, ensure that you decline offers to install advertised toolbars or applications that seek to change your homepage and default Internet search engine settings.
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