How to Remove MaskSearch.com RedirectRemoval on Tuesday, January 10th, 2017 in
Developed by FreshTab Technologies, this tool is malicious. To be more precise, MaskSearch.com has been classified as a browser hijacker. You have absolutely NO reason to keep it on board. On the other hand, there are plenty of reasons to uninstall it ASAP. Why is it so important that you take measures now? Because you’re stuck with a stealthy, deceptive and dangerous infection. MaskSearch.com is supposed to be “a privacy-enhanced search engine”. At least that’s what its official website claims. Hackers rarely tell the truth about the malware they develop, though. This program’s shenanigans start quickly after installation. To begin with, your browsers get modified behind your back. Keep in mind that none of those tricks involves any permission of yours. The MaskSearch.com Virus adds an extension to your browsers. Thanks to this unwanted plugin, hackers are in charge now. They inject your browsers with random pop-ups and other bizarre web links. In addition, your default search engine and homepage get altered too. Both are replaced with the parasite’s domain. At this stage of the game, there’s no escape MaskSearch.com. Regardless of which browser you attempt to use, the virus will be waiting for you. That wouldn’t be so bad if this domain was safe. Unfortunately, it is not. The hijacker starts redirecting you to unknown websites. It leaves you unable to find anything you search for online. What’s even more worrisome is that the search results this pest displays are sponsored. They might lead you to all sorts of harmful pages filled with threats. If you click the wrong link, you automatically download more parasites. We assume that’s not what you’re aiming for online. To prevent further damage, stay away from all web links generated by the hijacker. They are extremely unreliable and must be avoided. Same thing goes for the software updates and ads MaskSearch.com might bring along. Restrain yourself from clicking and put your security first. Remember, this program was developed to boost the web traffic to some specific pages. Not to improve your browsing experience. Hence, keeping it on your machine only exposes you to threats. Ignoring the problem may also result in various privacy issues. The hijacker collects about as much browsing-related data as it possibly could. It sends all this information straight to hackers thus jeopardizing your privacy. Before you know it, MaskSearch.com could involve you in financial scams or even identity theft. To learn how you could delete it for good, please keep on reading.
How did I get infected with?
Do you know what’s the one thing missing from MaskSearch.com’s website? A download button. Most parasites get distributed online via sneaky, secretive methods. Therefore, the hijacker didn’t even need your active cooperation. It was probably installed along with other programs. That is one notoriously popular technique which all types of viruses apply. Next time you download unverified freeware/shareware bundles, be cautious. You might notice some highly undesirable “bonus” program attached to the bundle. In order to spot it, though, you must pay attention first. Opt for the Advanced or Custom option in the Setup Wizard. Check out the software you’re about to download. Also, check out the Terms and Conditions or EULA. Remember that the only way to prevent infiltration is by being careful. Another popular tactic involves spam email-attachments and spam messages in your social media. Delete what you don’t trust instead of clicking it open. You may save yourself quite the headache that way. The Web is filled with cyber infections so don’t overlook any threat.
Why is this dangerous?
All your browsers are now modified. The hijacker installs a plugin to Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. It effectively destroys your everyday browsing activities. For one thing, your preferred settings get messed up. You also get irritated by stubborn pop-ups and commercials. You get redirected to questionable websites which may or may not be harmless. In addition, MaskSearch.com slows down your PC speed so the device underperforms. Your browsers may start freezing/crashing and the Internet connection becomes unstable. The hijacker serves as a back door to malware and even threatens your privacy. As we mentioned, MaskSearch.com spies on your sensitive data so hackers could sell it later on. It goes without saying that it’s a must to delete the hijacker. To do so manually, please follow our detailed removal guide down below.
How to Remove MaskSearch.com virus
The MaskSearch.com infection is specifically designed to make money to its creators one way or another. The specialists from various antivirus companies like Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Norton, Avast, ESET, etc. advise that there is no harmless virus.
If you perform exactly the steps below you should be able to remove the MaskSearch.com infection. Please, follow the procedures in the exact order. Please, consider to print this guide or have another computer at your disposal. You will NOT need any USB sticks or CDs.
Please, keep in mind that SpyHunter’s scanner tool is free. To remove the MaskSearch.com infection, you need to purchase its full version.
STEP 1: Track down MaskSearch.com in the computer memory
- Open your Task Manager by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+ESC keys simultaneously
- Carefully review all processes and stop the suspicious ones.
- Write down the file location for later reference.
Step 2: Locate MaskSearch.com startup location
Reveal Hidden Files
- Open any folder
- Click on “Organize” button
- Choose “Folder and Search Options”
- Select the “View” tab
- Select “Show hidden files and folders” option
- Uncheck “Hide protected operating system files”
- Click “Apply” and “OK” button
Clean MaskSearch.com virus from the windows registry
- Once the operating system loads press simultaneously the Windows Logo Button and the R key.
- A dialog box should open. Type “Regedit”
- WARNING! be very careful when editing the Microsoft Windows Registry as this may render the system broken.
Depending on your OS (x86 or x64) navigate to:[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run] or
- and delete the display Name: [RANDOM]
- Then open your explorer and navigate to: %appdata% folder and delete the malicious executable.
Clean your HOSTS file to avoid unwanted browser redirection
Navigate to %windir%/system32/Drivers/etc/host
If you are hacked, there will be foreign IPs addresses connected to you at the bottom. Take a look below:
STEP 3 : Clean MaskSearch.com traces from Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer
Open Google Chrome
- In the Main Menu, select Tools then Extensions
- Remove the MaskSearch.com by clicking on the little recycle bin
- Reset Google Chrome by Deleting the current user to make sure nothing is left behind
Open Mozilla Firefox
- Press simultaneously Ctrl+Shift+A
- Disable the unwanted Extension
- Go to Help
- Then Troubleshoot information
- Click on Reset Firefox
Open Internet Explorer
- On the Upper Right Corner Click on the Gear Icon
- Click on Internet options
- go to Toolbars and Extensions and disable the unknown extensions
- Select the Advanced tab and click on Reset
- Restart Internet Explorer
Step 4: Undo the damage done by MaskSearch.com
This particular Virus may alter your DNS settings.
Attention! this can break your internet connection. Before you change your DNS settings to use Google Public DNS for MaskSearch.com, be sure to write down the current server addresses on a piece of paper.
To fix the damage done by the virus you need to do the following.
- Click the Windows Start button to open the Start Menu, type control panel in the search box and select Control Panel in the results displayed above.
- go to Network and Internet
- then Network and Sharing Center
- then Change Adapter Settings
- Right-click on your active internet connection and click properties. Under the Networking tab, find Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4). Left click on it and then click on properties. Both options should be automatic! By default it should be set to “Obtain an IP address automatically” and the second one to “Obtain DNS server address automatically!” If they are not just change them, however if you are part of a domain network you should contact your Domain Administrator to set these settings, otherwise the internet connection will break!!!
You must clean all your browser shortcuts as well. To do that you need to
- Right click on the shortcut of your favorite browser and then select properties.
- in the target field remove MaskSearch.com argument and then apply the changes.
- Repeat that with the shortcuts of your other browsers.
- Check your scheduled tasks to make sure the virus will not download itself again.
How to Permanently Remove MaskSearch.com Virus (automatic) Removal Guide
Please, have in mind that once you are infected with a single virus, it compromises your system and let all doors wide open for many other infections. To make sure manual removal is successful, we recommend to use a free scanner of any professional antimalware program to identify possible registry leftovers or temporary files.