How to remove the Protect My Search App browser hijacker
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is the Protect My Search App?
As its name implies, Protect My Search App is endorsed as software capable of securing browsing and searching. It is supposedly able to identify safe websites and potential threats. Instead, Protect My Search App modifies browser settings and promotes protectmysearchapp.com (a fake search engine).
Therefore, this app is classified as a browser hijacker. Additionally, it can record browsing-related information. Since most people install protectmysearchapp.com unintentionally, it is classified as a Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA).
Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and other popular browsers are typical targets of browser hijackers. They assign the addresses of their bogus search engines as the default search engine, homepage, and new tab/window URL. Protect My Search App promotes protectmysearchapp.com in this manner.
Therefore, with this app installed, each new browser tab/window opened and each search query typed into the URL bar redirects to protectmysearchapp.com. Fake search engines have no genuine value and are often unable to generate any results - they usually redirect to legitimate search engines.
This is the case with protectmysearchapp.com, which redirects to search.yahoo.com. Furthermore, any changes users attempt to make to their browsers are automatically reset, if access to the settings is allowed at all. To recover the affected browser, the browser hijacker must be eliminated.
As mentioned, Protect My Search App has data tracking capabilities. It can record browsing activity (URLs visited, web pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and collect personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details).
The gathered data is likely to contain personally identifiable information and is typically shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) seeking to misuse it for profit. In summary, the presence of data tracking software on systems can result in financial loss, serious privacy issues and even identity theft.
To ensure device integrity and user safety, remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.
|Name||Protect My Search App|
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab.|
|Browser Extension(s)||Protect My Search App|
|Supposed Functionality||It can supposedly identify online threats and improve browsing security.|
|Serving IP Address (protectmysearchapp.com)||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.|
|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 Combo Cleaner.
Unit Conversion Tab, Tab Recovery and Shimpent Trackers are some examples of other browser hijackers. They may seem legitimate and offer various "useful" functions, however, the features promised are rarely operational and, even if they do work, it is not as advertised.
This applies to most PUAs. The only purpose of these unwanted apps is to generate revenue at users' expense. Rather than delivering any real value, PUAs hijack browsers, cause rogue redirects, deliver intrusive advertisements and collect private data.
How did Protect My Search App install on my computer?
Some PUAs (including Protect My Search App) have official promotional web pages from which they can be downloaded, however, they are often downloaded/installed together with other programs. This deceptive marketing method of packing normal software with unwanted or malicious additions is called "bundling".
Rushing download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps, using pre-set options, etc.) increases the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content onto the device. Intrusive ads can also infiltrate these applications into systems. Once clicked, they can execute scripts to download/install PUAs without users' consent.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
You are advised to research products to verify their legitimacy, before download/installation or purchase. Use only official and verified download sources.
Untrustworthy channels such as unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders can offer deceptive or bundled content and should thus be avoided.
When downloading/installing, it is important to read the terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings and opt-out of supplementary apps, tools, functions and other additions. Intrusive advertisements may seem legitimate and harmless, however, they can redirect to dubious websites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others).
If you encounter these ads/redirects, check the system and immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with Protect My Search App, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Protect My Search App browser hijacker asking for various permissions:
Screenshots of the website promoting Protect My Search App browser hijacker:
Another site used to promote Protect My Search App browser hijacker:
Appearance of protectmysearchapp.com redirecting users to search.yahoo.com (GIF):
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 Protect My Search App?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Protect My Search App application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove protectmysearchapp.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove Protect My Search App browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove protectmysearchapp.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove protectmysearchapp.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Protect My Search App 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, "Protect My Search App"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications that cause browser redirects to the protectmysearchapp.com website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Protect My Search App 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://protectmysearchapp.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 "Protect My Search App".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the protectmysearchapp.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 "Protect My Search App" 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 "Protect My Search App", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.protectmysearchapp.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 "protectmysearchapp.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 protectmysearchapp.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 "Protect My Search App", 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 "Protect My Search App", remove hxxp://protectmysearchapp.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 protectmysearchapp.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 protectmysearchapp.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.
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