Browser hijackers are a type of malware that modifies a web browser’s settings without the user’s consent. Usually, they replace the user’s previous homepage and default search engine with their own. Some browser hijackers also steal personal information from the user or track the user’s online browsing habits using cookies. Recently, a new browser hijacker named Search-shield.com is released on the Internet and it has infected many users’ computers. If you are one among the victims and still cannot remove it completely after trying several methods, please continue reading and you will find the effective way to deal with this malware.
Search-shield.com is a browser hijacker that makes changes to settings of your web browsers such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. This browser hijacker is meant to generate website traffic by taking control over your internet browsers and redirecting you to the unwanted websites. When your computer gets infected by this browser hijacker, you would find that your browser isn’t behaving as it should – your homepage and default search engine have become another ones, the web pages are slow to load, some unknown toolbars appear on your browser, and many advertisements keep popping up on your pages.
Here is a screenshot of internet browser hijacked by Search-shield.com:
Search-shield.com usually gets into your computer via these two channels:
- Bundled with free software applications.
Software developers sell and offer for free various types of software on their own websites and some popular download sites such as FileHippo, CNET, and Tucows. However, most of these software applications come bundled with adware, PUPs, and browser hijackers like Search-shield.com which get installed on your computer without your permission.
- Through advertising popups or drive-by download
Browser hijackers can also get into your computer system by using Internet Explorer ActiveX controls or exploiting vulnerabilities in your web browser. When you visit unsafe websites, and click on the suspicious advertising pop ups – or even you don’t click anything – some harmful scripts may instantly install a browser hijacker on your PC.
However, you may notice installation process of Search-shield.com, since a browser hijacker doesn’t display any setup wizards, dialogs or warnings. It just silently installs itself in the background of your system. Upon the installation, this browser hijacker not only makes changes to your browser settings, but also creates its own files in your computer system and adds entries in the Windows registry. These actions can make sure that it is not completely removed from your PC when you restore the browser settings to default or re-install the affected browser.
Why Need to Remove Search-shield.com?
- Search-shield.com can interfere with your normal online activities. It blocks some popular and security related sites and forces you to search the Internet through the reputable search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.
- Besides, this browser hijacker can affect stability of your browser. It can cause frequent errors and overall performance problems, and may also prevent other plug-ins on your browser from working normally.
- In addition, this browser hijacker can reduce security level of your browser. It will modify various types of settings on your browser, which may bring potential risks. For example, other types of malware can attack your PC via the browser vulnerabilities more easily.
- This browser hijacker would violate your privacy, too. It records your personal information, tracks your browsing habits using cookies, and then discloses that information to third-party advertisers. This information may include your IP address, location, browser type, interested sites, recent search terms, clicked ads, and more.
- This browser hijacker can show you many annoying popup ads. It generates popup ads on your pages, or redirects you to some unknown websites that keeps displaying endless ads.
- The browser hijacker may bring other PUPs (potentially unwanted programs). When your pages are full of popup ads, it is very easy that your accidentally click on any of them. As a result of clicking the ads, you might directly download PUPs on your PC.
How to Remove Search-shield.com from Your PC?
When it comes to Search-shield.com removal, you may first consider removing it in a way without costing money, either manually remove it or use a free antiviurs program. However, in most time, the free way is not effective. So, we suggest that you use a more reliable solution and remove the browser hijacker by using a paid anti-malware program when needed.
Step 1: Remove the browser hijacker related program
Click the Start button and then click on Control Panel.
Click on Add or Remove Programs.
Now you see a window that shows all installed programs on your computer. Look for any program related to Search-shield.com, highlight it and click the Remove/Change button.
Click the Start menu and then click on Control Panel.
When a window opens up, click on the Uninstall a program button option under Programs (in case you are using the Classic View, please double-click on the Programs and Features icon instead).
Now you see a window that has listed all programs currently installed on your computer. Scroll down to look for any program related to the browser hijacker, select it and click the Uninstall button.
Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, and select Programs and Features from the popup menu.
When a window opens up, scroll down through the list of installed programs to see if there is any suspicious program; if there is, right click it, and click on the Uninstall/Change button.
Step 2: Remove the browser hijacker from browsers
The browser hijacker may set itself as your browser homepage and default homepage, so you need to remove it by deleting its URL from the Hompage field, and removing its search engine from your browser.
For Internet Explorer:
1. Open IE browser. Click on Tools, and then select Internet Options from the drop-down menu.
2. Under General tab, delete the unwanted URL from the Home page section, and then type a website URL that you want to set as the homepage. Click OK to save the changes.
3. Click the Tools, and select Manage Add-ons from the drop-down menu.
5. Highlight the unwanted search engine and click on Remove button. Then click on OK button.
For Mozilla Firefox:
1. Open Firefox browser. Click on the Firefox menu (3-bar icon) in the upper right corner of the window, and then select Options.
2. In the open page, in the General tab, select Show my home page from the drop-down list of When Firefox starts.
3. In the Home Page section, remove URL associated with Search-shield.com and then type the website URL you prefer.
4. Click the Search tab in the left side, under the Default Search Engine section, click on the drop-down menu and select the one that you want to set as the default search engine.
5. Under the One-click search engines section, select the unwanted search engine and click on the Remove button. Then close this page.
For Google Chrome:
1. Start Chrome browser. Click on the Chrome menu (3-bar icon) and select Settings in the drop-down menu.
2. In the page that opens, locate Startup section, and click on Set pages.
3. In the pop-up window, delete the unwanted website URL, type a desired website address, and then click OK button.
4. Navigate to the Appearance section, check Show Homepage button and then click on Change.
5. Delete http://search-shield.com from the Open this page field by clicking X. Type a website address you like and then click OK.
6. Locate the Search section, and click on Manage Search Engines.
7. Under Default search settings section, make the search engine you prefer as the default.
8. Then, hover over the unwanted search engine, and click the X icon. Click on OK to save the changes.
Step 3: Clean affected browsers’ shortcuts from Target
Below are the steps to clean Google Chrome’s shortcut:
1. Right click on icon of Google Chrome browser on the desktop and click on the Properties option.
2. Under the Shortcut tab, locate Target, and then remove the unwanted URL added after “C:Program FilesGoogleChromeApplicationchrome.exe”
3. Click OK to save your change.
To clean Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and other browsers’ shortcuts, please apply the steps given above.
Step 4: Delete the browser hijacker related files & entries
According to research by Enigma Software, this browser hijacker creates the following files and entries:
%UserProfile%Local SettingsApplication DataGoogleChromeUser DataDefaultExtensionsdhmbekcbkfoalmphigffabgblgpinagh
You can first open the C drive, use the search function to search for the files above and then delete them from your computer.
Then, follow the steps below to delete the entries above:
1. Press Window key + R key together.
2. When a Run command box appears, type regedit and click OK.
3. Once the registry editor opens, click Edit and select Find option.
4. Type search-shield into the box and click Find Next.
5. Once you get the search results, delete the entries related to the browser hijacker.
Important note: Please be very careful when editing the registry, since any mistake would cause system problems or program failure. You should only delete the malicious entries from the Windows registry. If you are not sure, then let a tool to help you instead.
Now you can take the steps below to remove the annoying browser hijacker by using Spyhunter:
Download SpyHunter installer by clicking the link below.
Once the installation is complete, launch SpyHunter and you will see its main screen as below. Now click the Scan Computer Now button to start scanning your computer system.
During the scanning, SpyHunter will check your files, registry and memory for potential malware threats. This procedure can take some time, so please be patient.
Once the scanning is finished, SpyHunter will show the scan result as below. Make sure all items have been selected and click Fix Threats button. SpyHunter will start to completely remove Search.eshield.com browser hijacker (including files, folders, and registry keys) as well as other detected threats from your computer.
Restart your PC to complete the removal.
What If Search-shield.com Remains?
It rarely occurs, but if SpyHunter really fails to permanently remove this browser hijacker, you can contact the tech support through the Spyware HelpDesk on left side of the main screen of the program. SpyHunter’s technicians will be available to help resolve your problem.
How to Prevent Future Infections?
All we know that prevention is better than cure. Therefore, it is essential to take sensible measures to protect your computer from the malware threats. Here are some rules for you:
- Freeware or shareware has become a very popular way to spread malware, especially browser hijackers, adware, and PUPs. Hence, you should avoid downloading any free or sharing software from the uncertain sources. If you really want to do so, please run a malware scanning using your anti-malware program first.
- When installing a piece of software which you have downloaded from the Internet, you’d better opt for the Custom/Advanced installlation mode, so that you can uncheck any boxes indicating that you are going to install certain program or make any page as your homepage and default search page.
- You also need to read the terms and agreements carefully, because in some cases malware programs can also be part of the deal. As the picture showns below, clicking Next means that you are agreeing to install Search Protect on your PC. In this situation, the best course of action is to click the Decline button and look for the software from another source that won’t bunlde with a malware program.
- Spam (or junk) emails can be frequently used to deliver malware which causes considerable harm to your computer and yourself. The attachments could contain malicious code and the links could redirect you to dangerous websites. Therefore, remember not to readily click on links in an email message or open the attachments before you are sure that the email is from a trusted source.
- Avoid browsing websites that look suspicious. If you have accidentally accessed a dangerous site, close it immediately. When browsing the web, if you receive any popup ads, you should be careful, and don’t click on them, or else you might directly download potentially unwanted or even malicious programs on your PC. If you want to close a popup ad window, click on the X button instead of the Close button.
- Last but not least, it is very important that you safeguard your PC with a reliable anti-malware program which can provide real-time protection, block malicious process, detect and remove malware threats effectively. With a powerful anti-malware program, you can reduce the risk of being infected by malware to 70%.
Warm tips: The manual removal is not always effective, since it is impossible for a computer user to find out and delete all traces of a browser hijacker completely. However, a tool can – this is the reason why we recommend using an automatic tool to deal with Search-shield.com browser hijacker. Using a tool can save your time & energy and it won’t cause side-effect to your system. The manual removal way could result in system damage if any operation gets wrong. So, we highly recommend users, especially the novice ones, to fix the malware issues by using a reliable tool. Now you can install SpyHunter and enable it to protect your PC. Click the button to download this tool right now!
The following video offers a complete guide for Search-shield.com removal. You’d better watch it in full-screen mode