What is the Total Privacy browser hijacker?
Total Privacy, or Total Privacy for Chrome™ on Google Chrome browsers, is a piece of rogue software. It is endorsed as a tool to improve users' privacy when browsing. This browser extension operates by promoting the search.wiseghostapp.com fake search engine through modifications to browser settings.
Due to how it operates, Total Privacy is classified as a browser hijacker. Additionally, it spies on users' browsing activity. Since most users download/install browser hijackers inadvertently, they are also categorized as PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications).
Total Privacy browser hijacker in detail
Browser hijackers reassign browsers' homepage, default search engine, and new tab/window URLs - to fake web searcher addresses. Hence, with Total Privacy installed: every new browser tab/window opened and search query typed into the URL bar - redirect to search.wiseghostapp.com.
Few illegitimate search engines can generate search results, so they tend to redirect to (or cause redirection chains ending with) genuine ones. This is true of search.wiseghostapp.com as well; it redirects to the Yahoo (search.yahoo.com) search engine.
Furthermore, browser hijackers can undo any changes users attempt to make and/or restrict/deny access to the browser settings outright. Therefore, restoring a hijacked browser is impossible without removing the software affecting it.
Most browser hijackers have data tracking abilities, and Total Privacy is not an exception to this. Information of interest includes: URLs visited, webpages viewed, search queries typed, IP addresses/ geolocations, personally identifiable details, and so forth. The collected data is then monetized by being shared with and/or sold to third-parties.
In summary, the presence of data-tracking software on browsers/systems can lead to severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. To protect device integrity and user safety, it is crucial to remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins without delay.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Browser Extension(s)||Total Privacy|
|Supposed Functionality||VPN tool that also blocks dangerous webpages|
|Serving IP Address (search.wiseghostapp.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.
Browser hijackers in general
GetSearchConverters, SuperVideoSearch, Movie Bar, and Browse Safely are some examples of browser hijackers. They appear legitimate and offer a broad range of "useful" functionalities. However, the features rarely work as promised, and in most cases - they are utterly nonoperational.
Practically all PUAs lure users into download/installation with nonexistent abilities. The only goal of unwanted apps is to generate profit for the developers. PUAs are designed to hijack browsers, cause redirects, run intrusive advertisement campaigns (adware), and gather private data.
How did Total Privacy install on my computer?
Select PUAs (e.g., Total Privacy) have "official" promotional sites from which they can be downloaded. These applications are also proliferated via intrusive adverts. Once clicked on, the ads can execute scripts to make downloads/installations without user consent.
PUAs are also distributed through download/installation setups of other programs. "Bundling" is the term that defines the false marketing tactic - packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions. Rushed downloads/installations (e.g., skipped steps and sections, etc.) increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is advised to research software before download/installation. Furthermore, all downloads must be done from official and verified sources. Dubious download channels, e.g., unofficial and freeware websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, and other third-party downloaders - often offer bundled and/or harmful content.
When downloading/installing, it is recommended to read terms, study possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opt-out from additional apps, tools, functions, and so forth. Intrusive adverts appear ordinary and innocuous; however, they redirect to unreliable sites (e.g., gambling, adult-dating, pornography, etc.).
In case of encounters with advertisements and/or redirects of this kind, the system must be checked and all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - immediately removed from it. If your computer is already infected with Total Privacy, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Website promoting the Total Privacy browser hijacker:
Appearance of search.wiseghostapp.com redirecting to the Yahoo search engine (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 Total Privacy?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Total Privacy application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Total Privacy browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove search.wiseghostapp.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove search.wiseghostapp.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Total Privacy 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, "Total Privacy"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the search.wiseghostapp.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Total Privacy 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 "Total Privacy for Chrome™" 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 "Total Privacy for Chrome™" (or simply "Total Privacy"), look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.search.wiseghostapp.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 "search.wiseghostapp.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 search.wiseghostapp.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 "Total Privacy", 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 "Total Privacy", remove hxxp://search.wiseghostapp.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 search.wiseghostapp.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 search.wiseghostapp.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 search.wiseghostapp.com redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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