Search Assistant designed to make unwanted modifications in browser’s settings
Search Assistant is another rough application categorised as browser hijacker virus. This dubious application operates by modifying the default homepage, new tab URLs and search engine of your browser with address of some fake search engine like ‘searchassistant.co’. This nasty browser hijacker program has also data tracking capability. It can monitor your online habits and collect your browsing-related data or other sensitive information as well. In sort, this dubious application can’t be trusted.
Search Assistant is able to hijack your main browser including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera, Internet Explorer and other browsers by changing your browser’s settings to ‘searchassistant.com’ or ‘searchassistant.co’. This fake search engine claims to help you to quick access to various popular websites with improved results. But it is not true at all. The purpose of this fake search engine is to tricks you into visiting sponsored or shady websites that can cause unwanted software downloads/installation. This way, they can trigger PUAs, adware, or malware in your computer.
Search Assistant promotes ‘searchassistant.com’ – bogus search engine that is designed to deliver sponsored results or loads misleading contents. It shows results generated by other search engines that’s why it is called as fake search engine. It redirects you to other shady/scam websites that are designed to run malicious advertisements campaigns. Some of these advertisements redirect you to malicious sties while some advertisements execute certain codes/scripts to download/install PUAs or malware in your machine.
Browser hijackers are also designed to collect your browsing-related data or other personal information such as IP address, URLs search, username & password of your various accounts, banking information and more details. They can share these collected details to other attackers or third-party to generate some income from them. In other words, this dubious application is unsafe at all. So, it is important to find and remove Search Assistant related malicious files in computer to prevent system from further attacks.
How did you get Search Assistant browser hijacker in computer?
PUAs, adware or malware are distributed through unofficial/untrustworthy websites, fake software updaters, installers and downloaders and other third-parties sources. PUAs are also distributed through other software package as additional offers. This false marketing mechanism of packaging regular software with PUAs or malware is known as Software Bundling Method. If you ignore terms & conditions, skip ‘Custom/Advanced/Manual’ settings in software installation setup, then you install all additional programs included in software package into computer and this way, all malicious additions or unnecessary programs can also be installed. PUAs can also be distributed through malicious advertisements that are designed to run certain scripts.
How to protect your system against PUAs, adware or malware?
Any applications must not be downloaded/installed or purchase from unofficial/untrustworthy websites. You should always try to download any applications from official and verified sources or via direct links. Also, you should choose always ‘Custom/advanced/manual’ installation if you want to avoid browser hijackers, PUAs or malware. Additionally, you should have strong antivirus software installed in your computer with latest updates that could help you to find and remove all types of malware including latest malware in computer.
Antimalware Details And User Guide
Important Note: This malware asks you to enable the web browser notifications. So, before you go the manual removal process, execute these steps.
Google Chrome (PC)
- Go to right upper corner of the screen and click on three dots to open the Menu button
- Select “Settings”. Scroll the mouse downward to choose “Advanced” option
- Go to “Privacy and Security” section by scrolling downward and then select “Content settings” and then “Notification” option
- Find each suspicious URLs and click on three dots on the right side and choose “Block” or “Remove” option
Google Chrome (Android)
- Go to right upper corner of the screen and click on three dots to open the menu button and then click on “Settings”
- Scroll down further to click on “site settings” and then press on “notifications” option
- In the newly opened window, choose each suspicious URLs one by one
- In the permission section, select “notification” and “Off” the toggle button
- On the right corner of the screen, you will notice three dots which is the “Menu” button
- Select “Options” and choose “Privacy and Security” in the toolbar present in the left side of the screen
- Slowly scroll down and go to “Permission” section then choose “Settings” option next to “Notifications”
- In the newly opened window, select all the suspicious URLs. Click on the drop-down menu and select “Block”
- In the Internet Explorer window, select the Gear button present on the right corner
- Choose “Internet Options”
- Select “Privacy” tab and then “Settings” under the “Pop-up Blocker” section
- Select all the suspicious URLs one by one and click on the “Remove” option
- Open the Microsoft Edge and click on the three dots on the right corner of the screen to open the menu
- Scroll down and select “Settings”
- Scroll down further to choose “view advanced settings”
- In the “Website Permission” option, click on “Manage” option
- Click on switch under every suspicious URL
- On the upper right side corner, click on “Safari” and then select “Preferences”
- Go to “website” tab and then choose “Notification” section on the left pane
- Search for the suspicious URLs and choose “Deny” option for each one of them
Manual Steps to Remove Search Assistant:
Remove the related items of Search Assistant using Control-Panel
Windows 7 Users
Click “Start” (the windows logo at the bottom left corner of the desktop screen), select “Control Panel”. Locate the “Programs” and then followed by clicking on “Uninstall Program”
Windows XP Users
Click “Start” and then choose “Settings” and then click “Control Panel”. Search and click on “Add or Remove Program’ option
Windows 10 and 8 Users:
Go to the lower left corner of the screen and right-click. In the “Quick Access” menu, choose “Control Panel”. In the newly opened window, choose “Program and Features”
Mac OSX Users
Click on “Finder” option. Choose “Application” in the newly opened screen. In the “Application” folder, drag the app to “Trash”. Right click on the Trash icon and then click on “Empty Trash”.
In the uninstall programs window, search for the PUAs. Choose all the unwanted and suspicious entries and click on “Uninstall” or “Remove”.
After you uninstall all the potentially unwanted program causing Search Assistant issues, scan your computer with an anti-malware tool for any remaining PUPs and PUAs or possible malware infection. To scan the PC, use the recommended the anti-malware tool.
How to Remove Adware (Search Assistant) from Internet Browsers
Delete malicious add-ons and extensions from IE
Click on the gear icon at the top right corner of Internet Explorer. Select “Manage Add-ons”. Search for any recently installed plug-ins or add-ons and click on “Remove”.
If you still face issues related to Search Assistant removal, you can reset the Internet Explorer to its default setting.
Windows XP users: Press on “Start” and click “Run”. In the newly opened window, type “inetcpl.cpl” and click on the “Advanced” tab and then press on “Reset”.
Windows Vista and Windows 7 Users: Press the Windows logo, type inetcpl.cpl in the start search box and press enter. In the newly opened window, click on the “Advanced Tab” followed by “Reset” button.
For Windows 8 Users: Open IE and click on the “gear” icon. Choose “Internet Options”
Select the “Advanced” tab in the newly opened window
Press on “Reset” option
You have to press on the “Reset” button again to confirm that you really want to reset the IE
Remove Doubtful and Harmful Extension from Google Chrome
Go to menu of Google Chrome by pressing on three vertical dots and select on “More tools” and then “Extensions”. You can search for all the recently installed add-ons and remove all of them.
If the problems related to Search Assistant still persists or you face any issue in removing, then it is advised that your reset the Google Chrome browse settings. Go to three dotted points at the top right corner and choose “Settings”. Scroll down bottom and click on “Advanced”.
At the bottom, notice the “Reset” option and click on it.
In the next opened window, confirm that you want to reset the Google Chrome settings by click on the “Reset” button.
Remove Search Assistant plugins (including all other doubtful plug-ins) from Firefox Mozilla
Open the Firefox menu and select “Add-ons”. Click “Extensions”. Select all the recently installed browser plug-ins.
If you face problems in Search Assistant removal then you have the option to rese the settings of Mozilla Firefox.
Open the browser (Mozilla Firefox) and click on the “menu” and then click on “Help”.
Choose “Troubleshooting Information”
In the newly opened pop-up window, click “Refresh Firefox” button
The next step is to confirm that really want to reset the Mozilla Firefox settings to its default by clicking on “Refresh Firefox” button.
Remove Malicious Extension from Safari
Open the Safari and go to its “Menu” and select “Preferences”.
Click on the “Extension” and select all the recently installed “Extensions” and then click on “Uninstall”.
Open the “Safari” and go menu. In the drop-down menu, choose “Clear History and Website Data”.
In the newly opened window, select “All History” and then press on “Clear History” option.
Delete Search Assistant (malicious add-ons) from Microsoft Edge
Open Microsoft Edge and go to three horizontal dot icons at the top right corner of the browser. Select all the recently installed extensions and right click on the mouse to “uninstall”
Open the browser (Microsoft Edge) and select “Settings”
Next steps is to click on “Choose what to clear” button
Click on “show more” and then select everything and then press on “Clear” button.
In most cases, the PUPs and adware gets inside the marked PC through unsafe freeware downloads. It is advised that you should only choose developers website only while downloading any kind of free applications. Choose custom or advanced installation process so that you can trace the additional PUPs listed for installation along with the main program.