Search Privacy is a very deceptive browser extension for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and other internet browsers. The Search Privacy extension is promoted as a free tool that can stop search engines from tracking you. The extension claims that it can stop search engines like Google and Yahoo from tracking you by redirecting you to their search engine, which is on the searchprivacy.co domain. It’s up to you if you would rather have Google store data about you or a potentially malicious entity that utilizes deceptive advertisements in order to persuade you to download their extension.
Once the Search Privacy extension is installed it will replace your search settings and read your of your data on the websites you visit. This means that the Search Privacy extension will read your data on other websites aside from their own search engine. This something that reputable search engines do not do. It also means that all the searches you perform in the browser’s address bar will redirect to the Search Privacy search engine.
The Search Privacy extension for Google Chrome will change your search settings; However, this is not mentioned in the “permissions” section and is only identified in certain advertisements. The extension also has very intrusive permissions that may violate your privacy. The permissions state that the extension can read and change all your data on the websites you visit and communicate with cooperating websites.
In addition, search results provided by the Search Privacy search engine contain malicious advertisements that promote rogue programs. A search for the term “botcrawl” revealed several malicious search results from rogue antivirus programs that should be avoided.
Symptoms & Issues
- Advertisements in your web browser and Windows desktop
- Modified browser homepage, shortcut, new tab page, and default search engine
- Slow and sluggish computer
- Decreased internet speed and browser performance
- The extension is promoted on websites that advertise or host malware and potentially malicious files
Search Privacy (Removal Guide)
Follow each step in this Search Privacy removal guide to remove Search Privacy and other threats from your computer.
1. Scan your computer with Malwarebytes
2. Open Malwarebytes and click the Scan Now button – or go to the Scan tab and click the Start Scan button.
3. Once the Malwarebytes scan is complete click the Remove Selected button.
4. To finish the Malwarebytes scan and remove detected threats click the Finish button and restart your computer if promoted to do so.
2. Perform a second-opinon scan with HitmanPro
2. Open HitmanPro and click Next to start scanning your computer. *If you are using the free version you may chose to create a copy or perform a one-time scan.
3. Once the HitmanPro scan is complete click the Next button.
4. To activate the free version of HitmanPro: enter your email address twice and click the Activate button.
5. Click the Reboot button.
3. Uninstall unwanted programs from Windows
1. Open Windows Start Menu and go to the Control Panel.
2. In the Programs section click Uninstall a program. In earlier versions of Windows this is listed as “Add and remove programs.”
3. Search for Search Privacy in the list of installed programs and double click it to initiate the manual uninstall process.
4. Once you have uninstalled Search Privacy, search for other unwanted programs that may be installed on your computer and uninstall them as well.
4. Remove Search Privacy extension
1. Click the Customize and control Google Chrome icon and go to More tools > Extensions.
2. Search for the unwanted extension in the list and click the trashcan icon.
1. Open the Menu and click Add-ons.
2. Search for the unwanted add-on and click Remove.
Microsoft Internet Explorer
1. Go to Tools (Alt+X) and click Manage add-ons.
2. Search for the unwanted add-on in the list, select it with your mouse, and click Remove.
1. Go to Safari > Preferences > Extensions.
2. Search for the unwanted extension in the list and click the Uninstall button.
5. Cleanup and repair settings with CCleaner
2. Open CCleaner and go to the main Cleaner screen. Click the Analyze button. When the process is complete, click the Run Cleaner button on the bottom right of the program interface.
3. Go to Tools > Startup and search for suspicious entries in each tab starting from Windows all the way to Content Menu. If you find anything suspicious click it and click the Delete button to remove it.
4. Go to the Registry window and click the Scan for Issues button. When the scan is complete click the Fix selected issues… button and click Fix All Selected Issues.
How to stay protected against future infections
The key to staying protected against future infections is to follow common online guidelines and take advantage of reputable Antivirus and Anti-Malware security software with real-time protection.
Real-time security software
Security software like Malwarebytes and Norton Security have real-time features that can block malicious files before they spread across your computer. These programs bundled together can establish a wall between your computer and cyber criminals.
Common Online Guidelines
- Backup your computer and personal files to an external drive or online backup service
- Create a restore point on your computer in case you need to restore your computer to a date before infection
- Avoid downloading and installing apps, browser extensions, and programs you are not familiar with
- Avoid downloading and installing apps, browser extensions, and programs from websites you are not familiar with – some websites use their own download manager to bundle additional programs with the initial download
- If you plan to download and install freeware, open source software, or shareware make sure to be alert when you install the object and read all the instructions presented by the download manager
- Avoid torrents and P2P clients
- Do not open email messages from senders you do not know