What is Secured Search?
Identical to ByteFence Secure Browsing, Secured Search is a browser hijacker endorsed as a tool to improve browsing security and privacy. In fact, this software operates by making modifications to browser settings in order to promote securedserch.com (a fake search engine).
Additionally, Secured Search has data tracking capabilities, which are employed to monitor users' browsing activity. Due to the dubious methods used to spread Secured Search, it is also categorized as a Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA).
Popular browsers with large user bases such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Chrome and Internet Explorer are common targets of browser hijackers. Following successful infiltration, they reassign the homepage, default search engine and new tab/window URLs to the addresses of fake search engines.
Therefore, with this software installed, each search query typed into the URL bar and each new tab/window opened redirects to the promoted address. Secured Search promotes securedserch.com in this manner. Despite unwanted redirects to securedserch.com, this bogus search engine cannot generate unique results.
This is typical of most fake searching tools, and so they tend to redirect to (or cause redirection chains leading to) legitimate search engines. This is the case with securedserch.com, which redirects to Yahoo (search.yahoo.com). Furthermore, browser hijackers can restrict or deny access to browser settings and reset any permitted changes made.
Therefore, the only way of recovering the affected browser is by eliminating the hijacking software. As mentioned, Secured Search can track data. It can monitor browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and collect personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details).
The collected data is often shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) seeking to misuse it for profit. To summarize, the presence of data-tracking content can lead to serious privacy issues, financial loss and even identity theft. You are strongly advised to remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab.|
|Browser Extension(s)||Secured Search|
|Supposed Functionality||Improved browsing security.|
|Serving IP Address (securedserch.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 Combo Cleaner.
File Converter Live, My Horoscope Tab and Maps N' Direction Hub are some examples of other browser hijackers. They may seem legitimate and people are often tempted into download/installation with offers of "useful" features, however, these functions are rarely operational. In fact, this applies to all PUAs.
These unwanted apps have just one purpose: to generate revenue at users' expense. Rather than delivering any real value, PUAs hijack browsers, cause redirects, run intrusive advertisement campaigns and track vulnerable data.
How did Secured Search install on my computer?
Some PUAs (including Secured Search) have "official" promotional sites from which they can be downloaded, however, these applications are more commonly downloaded/installed together with other products. "Bundling" is the term used to define this deceptive marketing technique of pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions.
By rushing through download/installation processes (e.g. skimming or ignoring terms, skipping steps and sections, etc.), many users risk missing available opt-out options for unwanted software, thereby unintentionally allowing bundled content onto their systems. Once clicked, intrusive ads can execute scripts to download/install PUAs without users' consent.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
You are strongly advised to research all products before download/installation or purchase. All downloads must be performed from official and verified sources. Untrusted channels such as unofficial and free file-hosting websites, P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders can offer deceptive and bundled content.
When downloading/installing, read the terms, study all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of additional apps, tools, features, etc. It is also important to exercise caution when browsing. Intrusive ads may seem normal and innocuous, however, they can redirect to dubious web pages (e.g. pornography, gambling, adult-dating and others).
If you encounter advertisements/redirects of this kind, check the system and immediately remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with Secured Search, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Secured Search browser hijacker asking for various permissions:
Website promoting Secured Search browser hijacker:
Appearance of Secured Search browser hijacker (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 Secured Search?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Secured Search application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove securedserch.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove Secured Search browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove securedserch.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove securedserch.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Secured Search 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, "Secured Search"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications that cause browser redirects to the securedserch.com website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Secured 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://securedserch.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 "Secured Search".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the securedserch.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 "Secured 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 "Secured Search", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.securedserch.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 "securedserch.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 securedserch.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 "Secured 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 "Secured Search", remove hxxp://securedserch.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 securedserch.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 securedserch.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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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the purpose of forcing users to visit securedserch.com website?
Visitors are forced to enter securedserch.com since cyber criminals (i.e., browser hijacker/ fake search engine developers) generate revenue via these redirects.
Is visiting securedserch.com a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes. Sites like securedserch.com are known to collect data about their visitors. Typically, with the goal of selling the information to third-parties.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Cyber criminals proliferate their products using various questionable distribution techniques. In the case of browser hijackers, the most common proliferation tactics include: misleading promotional webpages, unofficial and freeware download websites, software bundling, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, endorsement through deceptive browser notifications, stealthy installation by intrusive ads, fake updaters, online scams, etc.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove Secured Search browser hijacker?
Yes, Combo Cleaner will scan your device and eliminate detected browser-hijacking apps. It is noteworthy that manual might not be the perfect solution when multiple browser hijackers have infiltrated the system. In some instances, once one browser hijacker is (manually) removed - the others simply re-install it. Additionally, some removal-related settings may be inaccessible with this software present. Therefore, they must be thoroughly removed all at once.