Luckily there are ways to protect ourselves from most malware, including SafeSearch – you just need to know how malicious or unwanted programs work – and that gives you the knowledge to then avoid them as much as you possibly can.
Here we're going to take a closer look at Potentially Unwanted Programs, or PUPs, for short and browser hijacker that install safesear.ch.
PUPs and browser hijackers are things that have been designed to look useful – for example toolbars, browsers, search engines and home pages. The strange thing about them is that they will suddenly appear on your computer without warning. So how did they get there?
How did SafeSearch get onto my computer?
In the majority of cases a Potentially Unwanted Program will have been installed when you downloaded some free software, also called freeware. This could have been anything from a movie or music download to a tool that creates PDF documents or one that allows non-Romanized text (i.e. Chinese characters) to be correctly rendered on your screen. The SafeSearch will be bundled with the download and will then sneak its way on to your PC.
What does SafeSearch do to my computer?
SafeSearch not only installs a new tool bar or home page on your PC but it will also install adware and then proceed to inundate you with pop-up adverts. Both these adverts, and the search function in your new tool bar or browser have been specifically designed to redirect your searches to websites of the developer's choosing. And that's both incredibly annoying to deal with and a complete waste of your precious time.
Why create a Potentially Unwanted Program or a browser hijacker?
Potentially Unwanted Programs and browser hijackers like this one are created primarily to generate revenue through advertising. That's why so many PUPs come with an adware component. The software developer is able to manipulate Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques to increase Internet traffic by redirecting it to their own website. This helps them rank more highly in search engine results. However, all this comes at the expense of your personal user experience. After all, if you're shopping online for a new dress, or trying to book a holiday – or, hey, even trying to work – it won't take long before you're thumping the keyboard in rage as you're constantly redirected to useless websites and bombarded with pop-up adverts. SafeSearch is a great example of such things. It replaces your home page with sketchy website full of ads. It also redirects your search results but instead of providing results which are actually the same as you would get from Google, this browser hijacker adds adverts before search results. In other words, it grabs Google search results and adds misleading ads where possible.
How can I avoid SafeSearch?
You need to pay attention when you're downloading programs and make sure you read the license agreement so you know exactly what you're downloading. Make sure you uncheck (and vice versa) any boxes in the agreement that allude to any 'added extras'. Being vigilant when downloading is the only way to avoid a PUP.
To remove this browser hijacker from your computer, please follow the steps in the removal guide below. If you have any questions, please leave a comment down below. Good luck and be safe online!
Written by Michael Kaur, http://deletemalware.blogspot.com
SafeSearch Removal Guide:
1. First of all, download recommended anti-malware software and run a full system scan. It will detect and remove this infection from your computer. You may then follow the manual removal instructions below to remove the leftover traces of this infection. Hopefully you won't have to do that.
2. As this infection is known to be installed by vulnerabilities in out-dated and insecure programs, it is strongly suggested that you use an automatic software update tool to scan for vulnerable programs on your computer.
3. Remove SafeSearch related programs from your computer using the Add/Remove Programs control panel (Windows XP) or Uninstall a program control panel (Windows 7 and Windows 8).
Go to the Start Menu. Select Control Panel → Add/Remove Programs.
If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7, select Control Panel → Uninstall a Program.
If you are using Windows 8, simply drag your mouse pointer to the right edge of the screen, select Search from the list and search for "control panel".
Or you can right-click on a bottom left hot corner (formerly known as the Start button) and select Control panel from there.
4. When the Add/Remove Programs or the Uninstall a Program screen is displayed, scroll through the list of currently installed programs and remove the following programs:
If you are using Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8, click Uninstall up near the top of that window. When you're done, please close the Control Panel screen.
Remove SafeSearch from Google Chrome:
1. Click on Chrome menu button. Go to Tools → Extensions.
2. Click on the trashcan icon to remove SafeSearch, SafeSear.ch, BookmarkTube extensions.
3. Then select Settings. Scroll down the page and click Show advanced settings.
4. Find the Reset browser settings section and click Reset browser settings button.
5. In the dialog that appears, click Reset. That's it!
Remove SafeSearch from Mozilla Firefox:
1. Open Mozilla Firefox. Go to Tools → Add-ons.
2. Select Extensions. Remove SafeSearch, SafeSear.ch, BookmarkTube browser extensions. Close Add-ons manger.
3. In the URL address bar, type about:config and hit Enter.
Click I'll be careful, I promise! to continue.
In the search filter at the top, type: SafeSearch
Now, you should see all the preferences that were changed by vosteran.com. Right-click on the preference and select Reset to restore default value. Reset all found preferences!
Remove SafeSearch from Internet Explorer:
1. Open Internet Explorer. Go to Tools → Manage Add-ons.
2. Select Search Providers. First of all, choose Live Search search engine and make it your default web search provider (Set as default).
3. Select SafeSearch and click Remove to remove it. Close the window.