Protect My Search App browser hijacker removal instructions
What is the Protect My Search App?
Protect My Search App, like its name implies, is a piece of software endorsed as a tool capable of securing browsing. It is supposedly able to identify safe websites and potential threats. Instead Protect My Search App alters browsers' settings and promotes protectmysearchapp.com - a fake search engine; due to this, it is classified as a browser hijacker. Additionally, it can track and gather browsing-related information. Most users install protectmysearchapp.com unintentionally, it is deemed to be a PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application).
Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and other popular browsers are typical targets of browser hijackers. They assign addresses of illegitimate web searchers as browsers' default search engine, homepage and new tab/window URLs. Protect My Search App promotes protectmysearchapp.com in this manner. Therefore, with it installed, every new browser tab/window opened and every single search query typed into the URL bar - redirect to protectmysearchapp.com. Fake search engines have no genuine value to users, as they are often unable to generate search results. So they usually redirect to legitimate search engines. This is the case with protectmysearchapp.com, it redirects to search.yahoo.com. Furthermore, any changes users attempt to make to their browsers can be automatically reset, if access to the settings is not restricted or denied outright. To recover the affected browser - the browser hijacker must be eliminated. As mentioned in the introduction, Protect My Search App has data tracking abilities. It can record browsing activity (URLs visited, webpages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and collect personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). The gathered data is highly likely to contain personally identifiable information and is typically shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals), seeking to misuse it for profit. In summary, presence of data tracking software on systems can result in financial losses, severe privacy issues and even identity theft. To ensure device integrity and user safety - all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be removed 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 increase browsing security.|
|Serving IP Address (protectmysearchapp.com)||188.8.131.52|
|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.
Unit Conversion Tab, Tab Recovery and Shimpent Trackers are a few examples of other browser hijackers. They tend to appear legitimate and offer various "useful" functions. However, the promised features are rarely operational and even if they do work - then not as advertised. This applies to practically all PUAs. The only goal of unwanted apps is to generate revenue at user expense. Instead of delivering on any promises, 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 (e.g. Protect My Search App) have official promotional webpages, from which they can be downloaded. However, they can also be downloaded/installed together with other programs. This false marketing method of packing ordinary software with unwanted or malicious additions - is called "bundling". Rushed download/installation processes (e.g. ignored terms, skipped steps and sections, used pre-set options, etc.) - increase the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content onto the device. Intrusive adverts can infiltrate these applications into systems. Once clicked on, they can execute scripts to download/install PUAs without user consent.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is recommended to research products to verify their legitimacy, before download/installation and/or purchase. Only official and verified download sources should be used. Untrustworthy channels, e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders - can offer deceptive and/or bundled content; hence, they are advised against use. When downloading/installing, it is important to read terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings and opt-out from supplementary apps, tools, functions and other additions. Intrusive advertisements tend to appear legitimate and harmless, however they redirect to various unreliable and questionable websites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others). Should users encounter such ads/redirects, they are to check the system and immediately remove all suspicious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins from it. If your computer is already infected with Protect My Search App, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes 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. 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 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 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, "Protect My Search App"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which 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 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 "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.
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove protectmysearchapp.com redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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