What is SearchFor?
Searchfor.cc is the address of a fake search engine that does not generate any unique results. It is very common that fake search engines are promoted through potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) that change browser's settings.
In most cases, those PUAs are browser hijackers. The app that promotes searchfor.cc address is called SearchFor. It is important to mention that apps of this type can be designed to function as data collectors.
SearchFor and other browser hijackers are called PUAs because most users download and install them accidentally, unknowingly.
Usually, a web browser that has a browser hijacker installed on it opens a specific address each time a user opens a new window, tab, or enter search queries into the URL bar. It is because a browser hijacker is a type of app that changes browser's settings such as the address of a homepage, new tab, and default search engine.
SearchFor changes those settings/addresses to searchfor.cc. As mentioned in the introduction paragraph, searchfor.cc does not generate results, it shows results generated by other search engines like Google, Bing (searchfor.cc redirects users to google.com, bing.com, etc.).
Where searchfor.cc redirects its users depends on their IP address/geolocation. It is important to mention that fake search engines can generate misleading results (include untrustworthy pages in their results) or redirect users to other shady addresses.
To sum up, fake search engines are useless and can be used to promote unreliable websites. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to browse the web using legitimate search engines.
It is noteworthy that a browser with a browser hijacker installed on can be stopped from opening a certain address only after removing that app from it. One more reason not to trust any browser hijackers is that they can be designed to collect browsing-related information (e.g., IP addresses, entered search queries, URLs of visited websites, geolocations).
Apps of this type can gather personal details as well. Moreover, collected information may be used for marketing purposes, sold to third parties, or monetized in other ways.
In one way or another, it is strongly recommended not to have PUAs that gather data installed on browsers or computers. It is possible that their users could encounter issues related to online privacy, browsing safety, or other issues.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Supposed Functionality||Improved browsing experience|
|Detection Names (searchfor.cc)||Forcepoint ThreatSeeker (Malicious), (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (searchfor.cc)||220.127.116.11|
|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.
In conclusion, neither browser hijackers nor addresses (typically, fake search engines) are trustworthy. Quite often, they are advertised as useful, legitimate.
However, they do not improve browsing experience or function as their developers advertise them. More examples of apps that promote fake search engines are MovieSearchZilla, Music Search for Chrome, Full Img.
As mentioned in the first paragraph, it is common for apps of this type to be downloaded and installed intentionally.
How did SearchFor install on my computer?
It is common for PUAs to be downloaded or installed together with other programs. Users download those apps when they are distributed by bundling them together with other programs.
Typically, downloaders and installers used to distribute PUAs have ticked checkboxes or "Custom", "Advanced", or other settings. Users who leave those checkboxes ticked or settings unchanged when they download or install programs allow for bundled apps to be downloaded or installed too.
In some cases, users unknowingly cause unwanted downloads or installation by clicking deceptive advertisements that are designed to execute certain scripts. As a rule, such ads do not appear on legitimate, trustworthy websites.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is advisable to download applications from official and trustworthy websites (and via direct links). Apps or files downloaded (or installed) via third-party downloaders (or installers), Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), from unofficial websites, and other sources of this kind can be malicious.
It is also recommended to always check downloaders and installers for bundled applications and make sure to decline unwanted offers before finishing downloads and installations. As a rule, those offers are mentioned in their "Manual", "Custom", "Advanced" or other settings, or alongside ticked checkboxes.
Additionally, it is recommended not to trust (click) ads that shady websites have on them. Quite often, those ads are designed to promote untrustworthy websites.
Some of them can be used to distribute PUAs. And lastly, there should not be any unwanted, suspicious extensions, plug-ins, or add-ons installed on a browser or programs of this kind installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with SearchFor, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Searchfor.cc redirects to google.com (GIF):
Searchfor.cc redirects to bing.com (GIF):
Website promoting SearchFor browser hijacker:
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 SearchFor?
- STEP 1. Uninstall SearchFor application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove SearchFor browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove searchfor.cc homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove searchfor.cc redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
- STEP 6. Remove searchfor.cc redirect from Internet Explorer.
SearchFor 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, "SearchFor"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the searchfor.cc website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
SearchFor browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove browser redirects:
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 "SearchFor" 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 "SearchFor", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.searchfor.cc) 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 "searchfor.cc", 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 searchfor browser hijacker, 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 "SearchFor", 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 "SearchFor", remove hxxp://searchfor.cc 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 searchfor browser hijacker 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 searchfor browser hijacker, 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.
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://searchfor.cc 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 "SearchFor".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the searchfor browser hijacker, 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.
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.
Post a comment:
If you have additional information on searchfor browser hijacker or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.