What is the Findwide virus (Search Findwide)?
The Findwide virus, Search Findwide redirect, Findwide Toolbar virus, etc. are terms for malware (Findwide malware) categorized as a browser hijacker that primarily changes internet browser settings, including the home page and default search engine, causing internet browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Internet Explorer to redirect to search.findwide.com and ultimately startup on the findwide.com search engine. The Findwide virus also associates with third-party adware and spyware, including Coupon Buddy in order to display unwanted advertisements, such as pop-up ads, pop-under ads, and especially coupon-deal type advertisements that may appear as tab on the top right of the browser window, as well as a scroll down menu that displays unethical advertisements and items based on the currently browsed content. Advertisements associated with Findwide usually appear when browsing retail, travel, and offer types of websites like Amazon or Kayak.
Findwide malware is a pest for many computer users as it’s primary objective is to generate a revenue stream via the confusion of computer and internet users. Findwide is paid each time users click advertisements on the unethical http://www.findwide.com domain, including sponsored search results promoted on http://www.search.findwide.com. The revenue amount may be calculated from pageviews. The more page views findwide.com gets, the more money they potentially make. Many pageviews recorded by Findwide are orchestrated by computer users who may be infected with Findwide malware, including the Findwide Toolbar without their consent, or may be entrapped to follow Findwide and third-party terms due to installing third-party freeware, shareware, torrents, and codecs, including add-ons, extensions, and toolbars like YouTube Downloader.
As previously mentioned, Findwide displays sponsored search results. Search results displayed have been observed to lead to unethical and suspicious websites that promote malicious and unnecessary products. Furthermore, search.findwide.com may advertise and promote software categorized as scareware such as Antivirus Security 2013 that participates in unethical marketing practices and social engineering by promising to be safe and legitimate, but instead offers no value to computer users.
Sponsored results displayed by search.findwide.com when seaching for the term “botcrawl” display very suspicious websites that we would never want our readers to visit.
It should also be noted that Findwide does not provide adequate removal instructions or an adequate about page. At the time of writing this, the about page and Findwide uninstall instructional pages were down, though links were found on the footer of the website.
How does Findwide malware infect a computer?
Potential Findwide malware, including the Findwide Toolbar and third-party browser hijackers can be contracted when manually and voluntarily installing free software on the internet (freeware), shareware, torrents, and codecs.
If you previously downloaded items from CNET’s download.com, it is highly likely that the installation included third-party software in orders to monetize the free downloaded item, such as Coupon Companion adware and related browser objects.
Furthermore, redirection viruses are commonly contracted via compromised social media content, such as Facebook post spam and unwanted messages that contain malicious links and promote offers that sound too good to be true.
How to remove Findwide malware (hijacker)
- Uninstall Findwide Toolbar (and third-party software)
- Remove Findwide add-on and extension (and third-party attachments)
- Automatically remove malware – Scan for and remove malware associated with search.findwide.com and third-parties using the free or full version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and repair internet browser settings using CCleaner by Piriform.
- Manually remove Findwide.com from home page
- Manually remove Findwide.com search engine
1. Uninstall Findwide Toolbar
1. Access Windows Start Menu and navigate to the Control Panel.
2. Click Uninstall a program or Add and remove a program.
3. In the list of installed programs, search for Findwide Toolbar and other potentially unwanted software. Once located, double click the unwanted programs or highlight them in the list and click the Uninstall button.
2. Remove Findwide Toolbar (add-on and extension)
If necessary, to stop unwanted redirections to search.findwide.com and other web pages you must remove the Findwide Toolbar and/or third-party browser attachment from each intenret browser installed on your computer. Otherwise, your browsers will continue to be affected.
1. Click on the Customize icon (wrench or 3 bar icon) next to the address bar and navigate to Tools > Extensions.
2. Search for the Findwide Toolbar extension and remove it by clicking the trashcan icon next to them.
1. Type Ctrl+Shift+A.
2. On the Extensions and Plugin search for the Findwide Toolbar add-on and remove it.
Microsoft Internet Explorer
1. Click Tools and select Manage add-ons.
2. On the Toolbars and Extensions tab search for the Findwide Toolbar add-on and remove it if located.
3. Automatically remove malware
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware can be used to detect and remove malware from your computer system.
1. Install the free or paid version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware software.
2. Once Malwarebytes is installed, run the program. If you are using the free version of Malwarebytes you will be prompted to update the database, please do so.
3. Open the first tab labeled “Scanner” and select the Perform full scan option. Click the Scan button to perform a full system scan. Malwarebytes will automatically detect malware infecting your computer system.
4. Once the full system scan is complete, Malwarebytes may prompt a message stating malicious objects were detected. Select the malicious objects and click the Remove Selected button to completely remove the malicious files from your computer (the image below shows a file that is NOT selected).
CCleaner by Piriform
CCleaner can also be used to repair internet browser and computer settings, as well as stop your browser from redirecting to http://www.search.findwide.com and other unwanted websites.
1. Install the free or paid version of CCleaner by Piriform and run the program.
2. Once installed, run the program and navigate to Cleaner > Windows/Applications and click the Analyze button. Afterwards, click the Run Cleaner button on the bottom right of the program interface.
3. Next, navigate to Tools > Startup and search through each tab starting from windows, internet explorer, etc., all the way to Content Menu, for additional suspicious entries and click Disable and Delete once anything is found. Look for anything that may be suspicious or contain “Searchalgo, Updater Service, or other previously mentioned titles” in the program or file name.
4. Manually remove Findwide.com homepage
- In Mozilla Firefox navigate to Tools > Options or click Firefox in the top left corner and click Options > Options. Under the General tab remove Findwide.com from the “Home Page:” field and replace it with your preferred home page URL.
- In Microsoft Internet Explorer navigate to Tools >Internet Options. Remove Findwide.com from the Home Page field and replace it with your preferred URL.
- In Google Chrome click the customize icon (wrench or 3 bars) and navigate to Settings.Click “Set pages” under the On startup option. Remove Findwide.com and replace it with your preferred URL.
5. Manually remove Findwide.com search engine
- In Mozilla Firefox, click the small search magnify glass near the search box (not url/search field) and click “Manage Search Engines…”. Remove the Findwide.com search engine from the list of search providers by highlighting the selections and clicking remove.
- In Microsoft Internet Explorer navigate to Tools > Manage Add Ons > Search Providers and remove the Findwide.com search engine from the list.
- In Google Chrome, click the customize icon (wrench or 3 bars) and navigate to Settings > Manage search engines… click the X next to Findwide.com to remove it as your search engine.
Please note, If a www.findwide.com webpage is set as Google Chrome’s default search engine, add (or select) a new search engine (such as Google.com) and select the new search engine as the default search engine, then remove www.findwide.com by clicking the X next to it.