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Privacyassistant.net Redirect

Also Known As: privacyassistant.net browser hijacker
Damage level: Medium

What is privacyassistant.net?

Similar to g-search.pro, privacyassistant.net is a fake Internet search engine that falsely claims to enhance the web browsing experience by generating improved results. Judging on appearance alone, this site barely differs from legitimate search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.

Therefore, many users believe that privacyassistant.net is also legitimate and useful, however, developers promote it via rogue downloaders/installers that modify browser options without permission. Furthermore, this site continually records various information relating to browsing activity.

privacyassistant.net browser hijacker

Rogue set-ups target Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. Following infiltration, they assign privacyassistant.net as the new tab URL, default search engine, and homepage, and then append this URL to the target of each browser shortcut.

Therefore, users are automatically redirected to privacyassistant.net when they search via the URL bar or simply open a browser/new browser tab. These redirects significantly diminish the browsing experience.

Furthermore, set-ups stealthily install a number of "helper objects" (third party applications and/or browser plug-ins) to reassign browser options when attempts are made to change them. Therefore, reverting the aforementioned changes becomes impossible.

Helper objects and privacyassistant.net continually record various information relating to Internet browsing activity. The collected data (IP addresses, URLs visited, search queries, pages viewed, etc.) might contain personal details that developers share with third parties (who generate revenue by misusing private data).

Therefore, data tracking can lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. If you encounter unwanted redirects to privacyassistant.net, uninstall all suspicious applications/browser add-ons and never visit this site again.

Threat Summary:
Name privacyassistant.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)

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There are many fake Internet search engines that share similarities with privacyassistant.net. The list of examples includes (but is not limited to) mystartshield.com, searchsecretly.net, go.myquery.net, and euro-search.net. Although, all claim to enhance the browsing experience, they give no significant value.

The only purpose of fake search engines is to generate revenue for the developers. These sites often contain intrusive online advertisements (the "Pay Per Click" advertising model) and generate irrelevant search results, thereby promoting dubious websites.

The ads and generated results might lead to other malicious websites. The ads can also activate scripts that download and install malware. Therefore, using fake search engines is very risky and can result in computer infections.

How did privacyassistant.net install on my computer?

As mentioned above, privacyassistant.net is promoted via rogue download/installation set-ups. This deceptive marketing method is called "bundling". Developers hide information regarding modification of browser settings within the "Custom" or "Advanced" options of the download/installation processes.

Rushing and skipping this section inadvertently grants set-ups permission to modify various browser options, exposes the system to risk of various infections, and compromises users' privacy.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Criminals often proliferate PUPs by employing intrusive advertisements and the aforementioned bundling method. Therefore, be cautious when browsing the Internet. Never click any displayed advertisements. Furthermore, closely analyze each download/installation step (especially within the "Custom/Advanced" settings) and decline all additionally-included programs.

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Quick menu:

privacyassistant.net redirect removal:

Windows 11 users:

Accessing Apps and Features in Windows 11

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:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

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:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

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:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

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.

privacyassistant.net browser hijacker uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window: look for any recently-installed potentially unwanted applications, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted program that causes browser redirects to the privacyassistant.net website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

privacyassistant.net homepage and default Internet search engine removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser hijackers:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Remove privacyassistant.net-related Internet Explorer add-ons:

Removing privacyassistant.net related Internet Explorer extensions

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for any recently-installed suspicious browser extensions, select such entries and click "Remove".

Fix Internet Explorer shortcut target:

Removing privacyassistant.net from Internet Explorer shortcut target step 1

This browser hijacker changes the "Target" field of the Internet Explorer shortcut. To fix this, locate the 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 text (hxxp://www.privacyassistant.net/...), which is entered after "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe".

Removing privacyassistant.net from Internet Explorer shortcut target step 2

Change your homepage:

Removing privacyassistant.net from Internet Explorer homepage

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Internet Options", in the opened window, remove hxxp://www.privacyassistant.net and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you launch Internet Explorer.

Change your default search engine:

Removing privacyassistant.net from Internet Explorer default search engine

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options 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 "privacyassistant".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the privacyassistant.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.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows XP

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.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 7

Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.

Reseting Internet Explorer settings to default in Windows 8 - accessing

In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - Internet options advanced tab

Click the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - click the Reset button in the Internet options advanced tab

Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - confirm settings reset to default by clicking the reset button

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Remove privacyassistant.net-related Google Chrome extensions:

Removing privacyassistant.net related Google Chrome extensions

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, select these entries and click the trash can icon.

Fix Google Chrome shortcut target:

Removing privacyassistant.net from Google Chrome shortcut target step 1

This browser hijacker modifies the "Target" field of the Google Chrome shortcut. To fix this, locate the 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://www.privacyassistant.net/...), which is entered after "C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe"

Removing privacyassistant.net from Google Chrome shortcut target step 2

Change your homepage:

Removing privacyassistant.net from Google Chrome homepage

Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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.privacyassistant.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:

Removing privacyassistant.net from Google Chrome default search engine

To change your default search engine in Google Chrome: Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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 "privacyassistant.net", and when located, click the three vertical dots near this URL and select "Remove from list".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the privacyassistant.net browser hijacker, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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.

Google Chrome settings reset step 1

After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 2

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 3

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Remove privacyassistant.net-related Mozilla Firefox add-ons:

Removing privacyassistant.net related Mozilla Firefox extensions

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click "Extensions", in the opened window, remove any recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.

Fix Mozilla Firefox shortcut target:

Removing privacyassistant.net from Mozilla Firefox shortcut target step 1

This browser hijacker changes the "Target" field of the Mozilla Firefox shortcut. To fix this, locate the 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://www.privacyassistant.net/...), which is entered after "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe"

Removing privacyassistant.net from Mozilla Firefox shortcut target step 2

Change your homepage:

Removing privacyassistant.net from Mozilla Firefox homepage

To reset your homepage, click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window) then select "Options", in the opened window, remove hxxp://www.privacyassistant.net and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change default search engine:

Removing privacyassistant.net from Mozilla Firefox 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: "privacyassistant.net"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with privacyassistant.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, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Removing browser hijackers from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click Safari menu, then select Preferences...

removing browser hijacker from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the preferences window select the Extensions tab. Look for any recently installed suspicious extensions and uninstall them.

Removing browser hijackers from safari step 3 - changing homepage

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.

removing browser hijackers from safari step 4 - changing the default Internet search engine

In the preferences window select Search tab and make sure that your preferred Internet search engine is selected.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) logoRemove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 2

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 3

To change your default search engine in Microsoft Edge: Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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 Microsoft Edge (Chromium) puzzle icon near it and select "Disable".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the privacyassistant.net browser hijacker, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 1

In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 2

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.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 3

  • If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.

Summary:

declining installation of browser hijackers while downloading free software sampleA 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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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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Software uninstall instructions
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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