wSearch virus (Wisersearch.com)
The wSearch virus (also found as the Wisersearch virus, etc.; though not technically a virus) is potential malware categorized as a browser hijacker and spyware that installs to a Microsoft Windows computer and attaches to Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Internet Explorer as a browser add-on, browser helper object (BHO), and extension with or without user consent. The wSearch virus Toolbar add-on and extension or other item used to promote the wSearch Search Engine changes internet browser settings including the home page (start page) and browser search engine (default, managed, and provided search engines) to the unwanted website. This causes affected internet browsers to redirect to http://wisersearch.com when users search the web using the browser address or omni-bar and start-up on wSearch when users open a new browser window or browser tab.
Once software used to promote wSearch is installed the application will begin to replace existing internet browser settings, install additional software, and collect sensitive user information including data manually submitted online such as your name, home address, telephone number, email address, browser activity and history, and more. wSearch malware may also collect information when unwanted software is uninstalled and use additional techniques to collect purchase information or persuade victims to purchase sponsored and/or non-beneficial software.
If software that causes your internet browser to redirect to http://wisersearch.com is installed on your computer system and attached to your internet browser you are at higher risk of cyber crimes involving credit theft, extortion, identity theft, and others. Even though these crimes are rare, this particular category of malware leaves users at a much higher risk if the software was never introduced to the computer system.
The wSearch virus displays sponsored search results and is not considered a legitimate standalone search engine.
How does the wSearch browser hijacker get onto a computer?
Items used to promote the wSearch search engine redirect can be manually and voluntarily installed from a variety of questionable websites including download.com. Downloadable software that supports wSearch often bundles with suspicious third-party freeware and shareware. Some users are given the opportunity to accept or decline an offer to install unwanted software and change their home page and search engine to the wSearch search engine; However, the request to decline the offer is often ignored or represented in a confusing manner.
How to remove the wSearch virus
- Automatically remove wSearch – Scan for and automatically remove wSearch and third-party malware
- Manually remove wSearch – Remove/Uninstall wSearch supported software and third-party malware (if necessary)
1. Automatic wSearch virus removal
Use the instructions below to automatically remove wSearch and third-party malware, as well as automatically remove unwanted search engines from your installed internet browsers.
1. Install the free or paid version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
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, make sure to do so.
3. On the first tab labeled “Scanner” select the Perform full scan option and click the Scan button to perform a full system scan. Malwarebytes will automatically detect malware infecting the computer system.
4. Once the malware scan is complete, Malwarebytes may prompt a notice 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) or click the Delete button to remove quarantined files.
CCleaner can be used to automatically repair internet browser settings startup up settings, and uninstall the wSearch hijacker and associated third-party software.
1. Install the free or paid version of CCleaner by Piriform.
2. Once installed, open 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.
4. To automatically uninstall wSearch Toolbar and other unwanted programs, navigate to the Uninstall tab and search for software used to support the wSearch redirect, etc. in the list of installed programs. Uninstall the unwanted software as selected by clicking the Run Uninstaller button.
2. Manual wSearch virus removal
Use the instructions below to manually uninstall wSearch supported software and third-party software using generic Microsoft Windows removal procedures.
How to uninstall wSearch (Wisersearch.com)
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 wSearch Toolbar and other potentially unwanted software. Once located, double click the unwanted programs or highlight them in the list and click the Uninstall button.
How to remove wSearch add-ons and extensions
Use the instructions to remove wSearch Toolbar add-ons and extension. Please note, it may be necessary to remove different attachments than suggested and multiple third-party items.
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 wSearch 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 wSearch 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 wSearch add-on and remove it if located.
How to remove wSearch 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 wSearch 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 wSearch 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 the wSearch search engine to remove it.
Please note, If wSearch 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 the unwanted search engine by clicking the X next to it.
How to remove wSearch 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 wSearch from the “Home Page:” field and replace it with your preferred home page URL.
- In Microsoft Internet Explorer navigate to Tools >Internet Options. Remove wSearch 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 wSearch and replace it with your preferred homepage URL.