SpecialSearchOption Browser Hijacker

Also Known As: SSOption browser hijacker
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

Search.ssoextension.com redirect removal instructions

What is search.ssoextension.com?

search.ssoextension.com is a fake search engine that is promoted through the SpecialSearchOption application (also known as SSOption). According to its developers, this app provides a more enjoyable browsing experience, however, SpecialSearchOption is categorized as a potentially unwanted application (PUA), a browser hijacker. It modifies browser settings and records browsing-related information and might also feed users with intrusive ads.

search.ssoextension.com browser hijacker

Like most browser hijackers, SpecialSearchOption targets browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer. When installed it immediately assigns browser settings (such as homepage, default search engine, and new tab URL) to startup.ssoextension.com, search.ssoextension.com, or us.search.yahoo.com. Once these changes have been made, users are forced to visit these websites when they open a new browser tab or window, or enter a search query into the URL bar. It is impossible to modify these settings (or undo them) until the SpecialSearchOption browser hijacker is uninstalled. The app prevents users from changing these settings - they are reassigned when attempts are made to modify them. Both startup.ssoextension.com and search.ssoextension.com are useless as search engines. Rather than generating unique results, they redirect users to search.yahoo.com and display results generated by Yahoo (a legitimate search engine). The third website (us.search.yahoo.com) also belongs to Yahoo (it is simply a sub-domain of search.yahoo.com). As mentioned above, browser hijackers often gather browsing-related data. In this case, SpecialSearchOption and its associated fake search engines (startup.ssoextension.com and search.ssoextension.com) usually collect IP addresses, search queries, geo-locations, URLs of visited websites, and other similar information. Personal and sensitive data might also be recorded. SpecialSearchOption's developers share the data with third parties (possibly also cyber criminals) who misuse it to generate revenue. These apps and associated fake search engines can cause various problems relating to browsing safety, privacy, or even identity theft. Furthermore, this PUA might feed users with intrusive ads (coupons, banners, surveys, pop-ups, and so on). These ads are very annoying and clicking them can result in redirects to other untrustworthy, deceptive websites. We recommend that you uninstall SpecialSearchOption and avoid its associated search engines.

Threat Summary:
NameSSOption browser hijacker
Threat TypeBrowser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab
SymptomsManipulated 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 methodsDeceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers.
DamageInternet browsing tracking (potential privacy issues), displaying of unwanted ads, redirects to shady websites.
Removal

To eliminate SSOption browser hijacker our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
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Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

nJoyMovies Search Plus, mixSportTV Search Plus, and iGames Search are just some examples of other browser hijackers that share similarities with SpecialSearchOption. Developers present browser hijackers as tools that supposedly provide useful functionality, however, most are used only to generate revenue for developers and provide none of the features promised or any other value.

How did SpecialSearchOption install on my computer?

Generally, potentially unwanted apps are installed through clicked deceptive ads or when software developers use "bundling", a deceptive method used to trick people into installing unwanted apps together with other software. Developers achieve this by hiding unwanted apps in "Custom", "Advanced", and other similar settings/options of the installation or download set-ups. Information regarding the inclusion of these apps in set-ups is not properly disclosed. Furthermore, skipping download/installation steps and failing to check the settings often allows PUAs to be installed.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Download software using official and trustworthy websites (or other sources) and direct links. Various third party tools such as third party software installers, peer-to-peer networks, unofficial websites etc., should not be used. Never skip any download or installation set-up steps without checking all the "Custom", "Advanced" and other options/settings. If there are any additionally-included applications that you do not wish to install (or download), deselect them and only then finish the process. There are many intrusive ads that cause redirects to deceptive, untrustworthy or even malicious websites. If you encounter ads that redirect you to gambling, pornography, adult dating, or other dubious websites, check the list of installed programs on your computer. Also, check installed extensions, add-ons, and plugins on your browser. Remove all unknown, suspicious or unwanted applications and programs immediately. If your computer is already infected with SpecialSearchOption, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.

SpecialSearchOption browser hijacker installer set-up:

Official SpecialSearchOption browser hijacker installation setup

Instant automatic removal of SSOption browser hijacker: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Spyhunter is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of SSOption browser hijacker. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Spyhunter By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

Quick menu:

SpecialSearchOption browser hijacker removal:

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.

Windows XP users:

Accessing Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP

Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.

Windows 10 and Windows 8 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.

Mac 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.

search.ssoextension.com browser hijacker uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window: look for any recently installed suspicious applications (for example, "SpecialSearchOption"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications that cause browser redirects to the search.ssoextension.com website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

SpecialSearchOption browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing search.ssoextension.com 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 extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".

Change your homepage:

Removing search.ssoextension.com 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://search.ssoextension.com, "startup.ssoextension.com" or "us.search.yahoo.com" 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:

Removing search.ssoextension.com 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 and then remove "startup.ssoextension.com", "search.ssoextension.com" or "us.search.yahoo.com"

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the ssoption 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:

Removing search.ssoextension.com 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 "SpecialSearchOption" (or "SSOption") and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.

Change your homepage:

Removing search.ssoextension.com 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 "SpecialSearchOption" or "SSOption" browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.search.ssoextension.comstartup.ssoextension.com or us.search.yahoo.com) below the “Open a specific or set of pages” option. If present, click on the three vertical dots icon and select “Remove”.

Change your default search engine:

Removing search.ssoextension.com 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 "search.ssoextension.com", "startup.ssoextension.com" or "us.search.yahoo.com", 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 ssoption 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:

Removing search.ssoextension.com related Mozilla Firefox extensions

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove "SpecialSearchOption" or "SSOption", as well as all other recently installed browser plug-ins.

Change your homepage:

Removing search.ssoextension.com 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://search.ssoextension.com, startup.ssoextension.com or us.search.yahoo.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Removing search.ssoextension.com 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: "search.ssoextension.com", "us.search.yahoo.com" or "startup.ssoextension.com"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with ssoption 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 logoRemove malicious add-ons from Microsoft Edge:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the three horizontal dots icon edge more icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Look for any recently-installed suspicious extensions, right click your mouse on these entries and click "Uninstall".

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 2

Change your homepage:

Changing homepage in Microsoft Edge

Click the three horizontal dots icon edge more icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Settings", in the opened tab, click the "+ Add new page" link, after entering your preferred URL, remove the link of browser hijackers by clicking the "X" button next to the associated URL.

Change your default search engine:

Changing default Internet search engine in Microsoft Edge

Click the three horizontal dots icon edge more icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Settings". Click the "View advanced settings" button and select "Change search engine". In the opened tab, select your preferred Internet search engine and click "Set as default".

Optional method:

Click the three horizontal dots icon edge more icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), and select Settings.

Resetting Microsoft Edge settings step 1

In the opened tab, click the "Choose what to clear" button.

Resetting Microsoft Edge settings step 2

Click Show more and select everything, and then click the "Clear" button.

Resetting Microsoft Edge settings 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.

Removal assistance:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove ssoption browser hijacker from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

Post a comment:
If you have additional information on ssoption browser hijacker or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.

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.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Software uninstall instructions
Malware activity

Global virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity
Medium

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

QR Code
SSOption browser hijacker QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of SSOption browser hijacker on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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