Safeplex Search browser hijacker removal instructions
What is Safeplex Search?
Safeplex Search is a browser hijacker, endorsed as a free tool capable of providing secure and customized web searches. It can supposedly detect dangerous online threats and protect users from them. In fact, this app modifies browsers to promote safeplexsearch.com (a fake search engine). Additionally, Safeplex Search can track data and thereby gather browsing-related information. Due to its dubious proliferation methods, it is also classed as a Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA).
Popular browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer and others are common targets of browser hijackers. After successful infiltration, they assign the addresses of their fake search engines as the default search engine, homepage, and new tab/window URLs. Safeplex Search also modifies browsers in this manner. To elaborate on how these modifications affect browsing: each new tab/window opened and each search query typed into the URL bar redirects to safeplexsearch.com. Fake search engines are useless and can be harmful. They cannot provide any useful results - any results produced are inaccurate and can promote untrusted/malicious websites. The bogus search engines simply redirect to (or cause redirection chains ending with) genuine sites. The Safeplex Search fake search engine (safeplexsearch.com) is no exception - it does not generate any unique results and simply redirects to search.yahoo.com. Furthermore, recovering the hijacked browsers is impossible without removing the software responsible. With the browser hijacker still present, access to browsers settings is restricted or denied, and any permitted changes made are automatically reset. Safeplex Search also has data tracking capabilities, which are employed to monitor browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries, etc.) and collect users' personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). This vulnerable data is then shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) intent on misusing it for profit. The presence of data tracking content on systems can thus result in serious privacy concerns and issues, financial loss and even identity theft. To ensure device integrity and user safety, you are advised to remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins without delay.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab.|
|Browser Extension(s)||Safeplex Search|
|Supposed Functionality||Secure and customizable web searches.|
|Serving IP Address (safeplexsearch.com)||18.104.22.168|
|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.|
|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.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
Browser hijackers often seem legitimate and offer various "useful" functions. Search by Live PDF Converter, Find A Flight Pro, Flash App+ and Easy Email Login are some examples of this software, however, their features promised are rarely operational. In fact, this applies to all PUAs, the only purpose of which is to generate revenue for the developers. Unwanted applications hijack browsers, force-open dubious and malicious sites, deliver intrusive ad campaigns and track private data.
How did Safeplex Search install on my computer?
Safeplex Search has an "official" promotional web page from which it can be downloaded, however, PUAs can also be downloaded/installed with other software. This deceptive marketing tactic of packing regular products with unwanted or malicious programs is called "bundling". When downloading/installing, ignoring or skimming terms, skipping steps, and using pre-set options increases the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled content onto the system. When they are clicked, intrusive advertisements can execute scripts to stealthily download/install PUAs.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
All products should be researched, prior to download/installation or purchase. Use only official and verified download sources. Untrustworthy download channels such as P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), free file-hosting websites and other third party downloaders can offer deceptive and/or bundled software. Treat download/Installation processes with caution. Read the terms, study all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and decline download/installation of supplementary (bundled) apps, tools, features and so on. Intrusive ads often seem normal and innocuous, however, they can redirect to highly dubious sites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others). If you experience ads/redirects of this type, inspect the device and immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with Safeplex Search, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Safeplex Search browser hijacker asking for various permissions on Google Chrome:
Safeplex Search browser hijacker asking for various permissions on Mozilla Firefox:
Website promoting Safeplex Search browser hijacker:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is Safeplex Search?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Safeplex Search application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove safeplexsearch.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove Safeplex Search browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove safeplexsearch.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove safeplexsearch.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Safeplex Search 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, "Safeplex Search"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications that cause browser redirects to the safeplexsearch.com website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Safeplex Search 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://safeplexsearch.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:
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 "Safeplex Search".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the safeplexsearch.com 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 "Safeplex Search" and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, 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 "Safeplex Search", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.safeplexsearch.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 "safeplexsearch.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 safeplexsearch.com 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 plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove "Safeplex Search", as well as 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 disable "Safeplex Search", remove hxxp://safeplexsearch.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 safeplexsearch.com 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 safeplexsearch.com 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 safeplexsearch.com redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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