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How to remove the SocialSearchConverter browser hijacker?

Also Known As: socialsearchconverter.com redirect
Damage level: Medium

What is SocialSearchConverter?

SocialSearchConvertern is a browser hijacker promoting the socialsearchconverter.com illegitimate search engine. This piece of software promotes its fake web searcher by making modifications to browser settings.

Additionally, most browser hijackers spy on users' browsing habits; SocialSearchConvertern likely has such data tracking abilities as well. Due to the questionable tactics employed in browser hijacker proliferation, they are also classified as PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications).

socialsearchconverter.com browser hijacker

SocialSearchConverter browser hijacker in detail

Browser hijackers assign illegitimate web searcher addresses as browsers' homepage, default search engine, and new browser tab/window URLs. SocialSearchConverter also makes these alterations to promote the socialsearchconverter.com search engine.

Hence, with this browser hijacker installed: new browser tab/window opened and web search done via the URL bar - redirect to socialsearchconverter.com.

Fake web searchers are usually unable to provide search results, so they redirect to (or cause redirection chains ending with) Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other legitimate search engines. The socialsearchconverter.com web searcher is not an exception to this.

At the time of research, it either redirected to Yahoo (search.yahoo.com) or to searchlee.com. The latter is a fake search engine, and even when it can provide search results - they are inaccurate and/or promote untrustworthy and malicious websites/content.

Furthermore, browser hijackers can undo any changes users attempt to make to their browsers and/or limit/deny access to the browser settings outright. Therefore, restoring a hijacked browser is impossible without removing the software affecting it. What is more, most browser hijackers can track data.

Information of interest includes: URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, IP addresses, geolocations, and even personally identifiable details. Browser hijacker developers monetize the gathered data by sharing it with and/or selling it to third-parties.

In summary, presence of data-tracking software on devices can lead to serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. To protect device and user safety, it is strongly advised to eliminate all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name SocialSearchConverter
Threat Type Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab
Browser Extension(s) SocialSearchConverter
Promoted URL socialsearchconverter.com
Detection Names (socialsearchconverter.com) N/A (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address (socialsearchconverter.com) 172.67.154.247
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)

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Browser hijackers in general

Stay WebSearchConverterOnline, and TopIncognitoSearch are a few examples of browser hijackers. They appear ordinary and offer various functionalities. However, despite how useful the advertised features may sound - they are seldom operational. In fact, this applies to practically all PUAs.

The only goal of unwanted apps is to generate profit at user expense. Therefore, instead of delivering on any promises, PUAs can hijack browsers, cause redirects, run intrusive advertisement campaigns (adware), and collect vulnerable information.

How did SocialSearchConverter install on my computer?

PUAs are distributed via downloaders/installers of other programs. This false marketing method of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions - is termed "bundling". Rushed download/installation processes (e.g., skipped steps, etc.) increase the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled content into the system.

Intrusive adverts spread PUAs as well. Once clicked on, the ads can execute scripts to stealthily download/install these applications. Select PUAs (e.g., SocialSearchConverter) also have "official" promotional webpages from which they can be downloaded and/or purchased.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is important to research software before download/installation and/or purchase. Additionally, only official and verified download channels must be used. Since dubious download sources, e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, and other third-party downloaders - commonly offer harmful and/or bundled content.

When downloading/installing, it is recommended to read terms, explore available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out from supplementary apps, tools, etc. Intrusive adverts appear legitimate and innocuous; however, they redirect to questionable websites (e.g., adult-dating, gambling, pornography, and many others).

In case of encounters with ads and/or redirects of this kind, the system must be inspected and all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - removed from it without delay. If your computer is already infected with SocialSearchConverter, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.

SocialSearchConverter browser hijacker asking for various permissions:

SocialSearchConverter browser hijacker asking for permissions

Appearance of socialsearchconverter.com redirecting to the searchlee.com fake search engine (GIF):

SocialSearchConverter browser hijacker redirecting to searchlee.com (GIF)

Website promoting SocialSearchConverter browser hijacker;

IMPORTANT NOTE! Some of these deceptive sites ask to enable web browser notifications:

Website used to promote SocialSearchConverter browser hijacker (Firefox) Website used to promote SocialSearchConverter browser hijacker (Chrome)

Therefore, before commencing, perform these steps:

Google Chrome (PC):

  • Click the Menu button (three dots) on the right upper corner of the screen and select "Settings"
  • Scroll down to the "Privacy and security" section, select "Site settings" and then "Notifications"
  • Click three dots on the right hand side of each suspicious URL and select "Block" or "Remove" (if you click "Remove" and visit the malicious site once more, it will ask to enable notifications again)

Disabling browser notifications in Google Chrome web browser (PC)

Google Chrome (Android):

  • Click on the Menu button (three dots) on the right upper corner of the screen and tap "Settings"
  • Scroll down, tap on "Site settings" and then "Notifications"
  • In the opened window, locate all suspicious URLs and tap on them one-by-one
  • Once the pop-up shows up, select either "Block" or "Remove" (if you tap "Remove" and visit the malicious site once more, it will ask to enable notifications again)

Disabling browser notifications in Google Chrome web browser (Android)

Mozilla Firefox:

  • Click the Menu button (three bars) on the right upper corner of the screen
  • Select "Settings" 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 and block them using the drop-down menu or either remove them by clicking "Remove Website" at the bottom of the window (if you click "Remove Website" and visit the malicious site once more, it will ask to enable notifications again)

Disabling browser notifications in Mozilla Firefox web browser (Android)

Microsoft Edge:

  • Click the menu button (three dots) on the right upper corner of the Edge window and select "Settings"
  • Click on "Cookies and site permissions" in the toolbar on the left hand side of the screen and select "Notifications"
  • Click three dots on the right hand side of each suspicious URL under "Allow" section and click "Block" or "Remove" (if you click "Remove" and visit the malicious site once more, it will ask to enable notifications again)

Disabling browser notifications in Microsoft Edge web browser (PC)

Safari (Mac):

  • 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 using the drop-down menu or either remove them by clicking "Remove" at the bottom of the window (if you click "Remove" and visit the malicious site once more, it will ask to enable notifications again)

Disabling browser notifications in Safari web browser (Mac)

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Quick menu:

SocialSearchConverter browser hijacker removal:

Windows 11 users:

Accessing Apps and Features in Windows 11

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:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

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:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

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:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

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.

socialsearchconverter.com browser hijacker uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window: look for any recently installed suspicious applications (for example, "SocialSearchConverter"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the socialsearchconverter.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

SocialSearchConverter browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects:

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing socialsearchconverter.com related Google Chrome extensions

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate "SocialSearchConverter" and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.

Change your homepage:

Removing socialsearchconverter.com from Google Chrome homepage

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, disable "SocialSearchConverter", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.socialsearchconverter.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:

Removing socialsearchconverter.com from Google Chrome default search engine

To change your default search engine in Google Chrome: Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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 "socialsearchconverter.com", when located click the three vertical dots near this URL and select "Remove from list".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the socialsearchconverter.com redirect, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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.

Google Chrome settings reset step 1

After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 2

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 3

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plugins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing socialsearchconverter.com related Mozilla Firefox extensions

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove "SocialSearchConverter", as well as all other recently installed browser plug-ins.

Change your homepage:

Removing socialsearchconverter.com from Mozilla Firefox homepage

To reset your homepage, click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), then select "Options", in the opened window disable "SocialSearchConverter", remove hxxp://socialsearchconverter.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Removing socialsearchconverter.com from Mozilla Firefox 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 Mozilla Firefox switch about:config entry button button.

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with socialsearchconverter.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, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Removing browser hijackers from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click Safari menu, then select Preferences...

removing browser hijacker from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the preferences window select the Extensions tab. Look for any recently installed suspicious extensions and uninstall them.

Removing browser hijackers from safari step 3 - changing homepage

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.

removing browser hijackers from safari step 4 - changing the default Internet search engine

In the preferences window select Search tab and make sure that your preferred Internet search engine is selected.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) logoRemove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 2

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 3

To change your default search engine in Microsoft Edge: Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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 Microsoft Edge (Chromium) puzzle icon near it and select "Disable".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the socialsearchconverter.com redirect, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 1

In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 2

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.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 3

  • If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.

Summary:

declining installation of browser hijackers while downloading free software sampleA 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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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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Software uninstall instructions
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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