Search Plus browser hijacker removal instructions
What is Search Plus?
Search Plus is a rogue application, advertised as a tool designed to improve the browsing experience by supposedly allowing users to manage their web searches. Instead it operates as a browser hijacker. In other words, it modifies browsers in order to promote search.hsearchplus.co - a fake search engine. Furthermore, it spies on users' browsing habits and collects their personal information. Since most users install this app inadvertently, it is also categorized as a PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application). It is often distributed together with another PUA called Hide My Searches.
Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer and other popular browsers are common targets of browser hijackers. After successful infiltration, these apps assign the addresses of their fake web searchers as browsers' homepage, default search engine and new tab/window URLs. Search Plus promotes search.hsearchplus.co in this fashion. While these alterations may appear minor, they diminish the browsing quality. As every new browser tab/window opened and every single web search done via the URL bar - redirect to the illegitimate search engine. Few of these fraudulent web searching tools can actually provide search results, so they redirect to (or cause redirection chains ending with) a legitimate search engine. In case of search.hsearchplus.co, it redirects to search.yahoo.com. What is more, access to the browsers' settings can be restricted or denied - even if it is permitted, any changes made are automatically reset. Therefore, to recover the hijacked browser - it is necessary to remove the hijacker application. As mentioned in the introduction, Search Plus has data tracking abilities. It monitors browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and gathers users' personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and real-life details). This private data can then be shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals), seeking to misuse it for financial gain. The threats data-tracking software pose include - severe privacy issues, financial losses and even identity theft. To ensure browser and system integrity, as well as user safety - it is recommended to immediately remove all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Detection Names||Avast (Win32:AdwareSig [Adw]), Fortinet (Riskware/WinWrapper), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/WinWrapper.V Potentiall), DrWeb (Adware.Spigot.155), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Browser Extension(s)||Search Plus|
|Supposed Functionality||It supposedly improves the browsing experience.|
|Serving IP Address (search.hsearchplus.co)||184.108.40.206|
|Affected Browser Settings||Homepage, new tab URL, default search engine|
|Symptoms||Manipulated Internet browser settings (homepage, default Internet search engine, new tab settings). Users are forced to visit the hijacker's website and search the Internet using their search engines.|
|Additional Information||Search Plus is distributed with another browser hijacker called Hide My Searches.|
|Distribution methods||Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake Flash Player installers.|
|Damage||Internet browser tracking (potential privacy issues), display of unwanted ads, redirects to dubious websites.|
To eliminate malware infections our security researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
Online TV Streamer, Directions And Maps Now, Easy Gaming App and Daily Online Manuals are a couple examples of other browser hijackers. They appear legitimate and offer various "useful" features to lure users into downloading/installing them. In fact, this extends to all PUAs. The only goal of all unwanted content is to generate revenue for its developers at users' expense. Therefore, functionality is irrelevant and usually all of the promised features are nonoperational. PUAs are designed to hijack browsers and promote fake search engines, force-open untrustworthy and malicious webpages, deliver intrusive advertisement (e.g. pop-up, banner, coupon, survey, etc.) campaigns and track vulnerable data.
How did Search Plus install on my computer?
Some PUAs, like Search Plus, have "official" download pages. However, PUAs primarily spread through download/installation setups. This false marketing technique of pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious content is called "bundling". Rushed download and installation processes (e.g. ignored terms, used pre-set options, skipped steps, etc.) - increase the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled apps onto the device, hence endangering systems with potential infiltrations and infections. Intrusive adverts proliferate these applications as well. When clicked on, they can execute scripts to download/install PUAs without user permission.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is recommended to research content, prior to download/installation. All downloads should be done only from official and verified sources. Download channels like: P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, Gnutella, eMule, etc.), free file-hosting sites and other third party downloaders - should not be used, as they are deemed to be untrustworthy. When downloading/installing, it is important to read terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out from supplementary apps, tools, features and so on. Intrusive ads usually appear ordinary and harmless, however despite their legitimate appearance - they redirect to questionable webpages (e.g. gambling, adult-dating, pornography and others). Should users encounter adverts/redirects of this type, they are advised to check the system and immediately remove all suspect applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins from it. If your computer is already infected with Search Plus, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Search Plus browser hijacker installer set-up:
Search Plus browser hijacker asking for various data-related permissions:
Website promoting Search Plus browser hijacker;
IMPORTANT NOTE! This deceptive site asks to enable web browser notifications:
Therefore, before commencing, perform these steps:
Google Chrome (PC):
- Click the Menu button (three dots) on the right upper corner of the screen
- Select "Settings", scroll down to the bottom and click "Advanced"
- Scroll down to the "Privacy and security" section, select "Content settings" and then "Notifications"
- Click three dots on the right hand side of each suspicious URL and click "Block" or "Remove" (if you click "Remove" and visit the malicious site once more, it will ask to enable notifications again)
Google Chrome (Android):
- Click on the Menu button (three dots) on the right upper corner of the screen and click "Settings"
- Scroll down, click on "Site settings" and then "Notifications"
- In the opened window, locate all suspicious URLs and click on them one-by-one
- Select "Notifications" in the "Permissions" section and set the toggle button to "OFF"
- Click the Menu button (three bars) on the right upper corner of the screen
- Select "Options" and click on "Privacy & Security" in the toolbar on the left hand side of the screen
- Scroll down to the "Permissions" section and click the "Settings" button next to "Notifications"
- In the opened window, locate all suspicious URLs, click the drop-down menu and select "Block"
- Click the Gear button on the right upper corner of the IE window
- Select "Internet options"
- Select the "Privacy" tab and click "Settings" under "Pop-up Blocker" section
- Select suspicious URLs under and remove them one by one by clicking the "Remove" button
- Click the menu button (three dots) on the right upper corner of the Edge window
- Scroll down, find and click "Settings"
- Scroll down again and click "View advanced settings"
- Click "Manage" under "Website permissions"
- Click the switch under each suspicious website
- Click "Safari" button on the left upper corner of the screen and select "Preferences..."
- Select the "Websites" tab and then select "Notifications" section on the left pane
- Check for suspicious URLs and apply the "Deny" option for each
Instant automatic malware removal:
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 malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is Search Plus?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Search Plus application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove search.hsearchplus.co redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove Search Plus browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove search.hsearchplus.co homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove search.hsearchplus.co redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Search Plus 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 10 and 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.
Mac 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 Plus"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the search.hsearchplus.co website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Search Plus 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://search.hsearchplus.co 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 Plus".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the search.hsearchplus.co redirect, 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 Plus" and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons (e.g., "Hide My Searches"), and remove them.
Change your homepage:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, disable "Search Plus" or "Hide My Searches", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://search.hsearchplus.co or hxxps://hidemysearches.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:
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 "hxxp://search.hsearchplus.co" and "hxxp://hidemysearches.com", 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 search.hsearchplus.co redirect, 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 plugins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove "Search Plus", as well as all other recently installed browser plug-ins (e.g., "Hide My Searches").
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 disable "Search Plus" or "Hide My Searches", remove hxxp://search.hsearchplus.co or hxxp://hidemysearches.com 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: "extensionControlled"
Set both results to "false" by either double-clicking each entry or clicking the button.
Computer users who have problems with search.hsearchplus.co redirect 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 search.hsearchplus.co redirect, 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.
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove search.hsearchplus.co redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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