Remove Incognito Searches (PC and Mac)

By | Posted on February 24, 2020 |

Incognito Searches is a kind of application deemed as a browser hijacker. Such software pretend as a useful tool that enhances online search experience. Browser hijackers payload is to exhibit malicious search engine. For Incognito Searches, it associates Incognitosearches.com. Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and other popular browsers are the primary targets of browser hijackers, which have the large user bases. Modifications done on web browsers were unauthorized, leaving the online users puzzled on how such changes takes place on settings.

The homepage, new tab window, and search engine changes when Incognito Searches app is present on computer. The new default browser setting does not really provide search results, if so; Incognito Searches initiates redirection to other web pages, which may consist of unreliable contents. Most browser hijackers like Incognito Searches can track data about computer and even to internet users. It can trace browsing activities such as visited links, viewed web pages, entered search queries, and other related details. Similarly, Incognito Searches can also collect online user’s personal information such as IP address, geographical location, and other confidential details. This crucial data can reach to third parties, which might be use for illegal generating of online profit. Specifically, it can be use for cyber crime purposes.

Running Incognito Searches app on operating system can cause intrusive advertisements to appear persistently on browser. Incognito Searches app can generate ads and pop-ups that may annoy internet users while browsing. Such adverts might be containing a Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP) or adware. Clicking ads can automatically execute to install those unwanted programs on the computer. Browser redirects or pop-ups can link web visitors into different dubious websites, which may contain scams or illegal subjects.

Incognito Searches

Unwanted applications like Incognito Searches app can enter computers without asking permissions. They can penetrate into operating system through deceptive pop-ups on internet, or via software installers. It is normal that when browsing, ads or pop-ups may appear on screen. However, some malware developers take this opportunity to market their malicious program. Some ads can execute script to install a certain application, and it can be a PUP or adware wishing to infect the operating system. Through software installers, there are bundles of applications available for installation. Usually, it is free of charge in order to convince online users to download it. Some package might hide PUP or adware along with it. In addition, there are applications that offers optional or extra installs, without knowing that an unwanted application can possibly set up for the process.

Incognito Searches Removal Procedure for PC

Below is a systematic instruction that is very useful in getting rid of the potentially unwanted program (PUP) from compromised computer.

In order to totally eliminate the threat, it is vital to follow the process in exact manner.

Step 1: Delete Browser Extension

Most adware and unwanted programs are using a program called browser extension to be able to take over the settings of internet applications. Therefore, we highly recommend to check and remove the extension that is closely related to Incognito Searches.

Remove Incognito Searches Extension from Google Chrome

1. Open Google Chrome browser.

2. Type chrome://extensions/ in the address bar and press Enter on keyboard.

Incognito Searches Chrome Extension

3. Find Incognito Searches or relevant entry and remove it from Google Chrome.

Uninstall Incognito Searches Extension from Firefox

1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser.

2. Type about:addons in the address bar and press Enter on keyboard.

Firefox Extensions

3. Choose Extensions on sidebar menu.

4. Look for object that is pertaining to Incognito Searches and remove it from the browser.

Remove Incognito Searches Add-ons from Internet Explorer and Edge Browser

1. Open Internet Explorer program.

2. Go to top Menu and click Tools. Then, select Manage Add-ons from the drop-down list.

Internet Explorer Add-ons

3. Look for and Remove or Disable entries of Incognito Searches from Toolbars and Extension and Search Providers section.

4. Close the window and restart Internet Explorer.

If Incognito Searches is still present on the IE browser, another option is to remove the adware from Windows Control Panel.

5. Press Windows Key + R and then, type appwiz.cpl command.

6. Program and Features window will open. Arrange the list in chronological manner with recently installed applications on top. To do this, click on ‘Installed On‘ column.

Add-Remove Adware

7. Select Incognito Searches or recently installed unwanted entry. Then, click on Uninstall to remove it from Windows system.

Step 2: Scan the computer with Anti-malware Program

1. Download the free anti-malware scanner called MalwareBytes Anti-Malware.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Download Link (this will open a new window)

2. After downloading, install the program. It may run automatically or you have to double-click on the downloaded file MB3-Setup.exe.

3. Proceed with the installation using only the default setup. If you need the complete setup procedure, it is available on the download page.

4. At the last stage of installation process, click Finish to run the program.

MBAM-finish5. On Malwarebytes Anti-Malware console, select Scan from the menu to see available Scan Method.

6. Next, click on Threat Scan. This is the most comprehensive scan method that will surely find any hidden items linked to Incognito Searches.

7. Click Start Scan button to begin checking the computer.

MBAM-threatscan

8. When scanning is done, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will display the list of identified threats. Remove all identified threats and restart the computer to finalized the scan process.

Step 3: Scan and Delete Adware with AdwCleaner

In addition to the procedure, we suggest scanning the computer with AdwCleaner tool. Possibly, there are some traces of Incognito Searches on the browser that was not deleted during the preceding steps. This tool will scan the computer and check for presence of malicious applications.

1. Follow the link below to download the tool called AdwCleaner.
Click here to download AdwCleaner (this will open a new window)

2. When the download has completed, please close all running programs on the computer especially browsers affected by Incognito Searches.

3. Browse the location of the downloaded file and double-click on adwcleaner_Ver.exe to start running the tool. Then, click on Scan button.

AdwCleaner

4. AdwCleaner searches the computer for malicious programs, extensions, plug-ins, adware, and any items that may be associated to Incognito Searches.

5. Clean or Remove all suspicious and harmful items identified after the thorough scan.

6. After the cleanup procedure, rebooting the computer is required to finalize the removal of detected threats.

Procedures to Remove Incognito Searches from Mac

This section contains comprehensive guide to help you remove malicious browser hijacker from internet application.

Procedures on this page are written in a manner that can be easily understand and execute by Mac users.

Step 1 : Quick Fix - Scan the System with Combo Cleaner

Combo Cleaner is a trusted Mac utility application with complete antivirus and optimization features. It is useful in dealing with adware, malware, and PUP's. Moreover, it can get rid of malicious browser hijacker like Incognito Searches. You may need to purchase full version if you require to maximize its premium features.

1. Download the tool from the following page:

Click here to Download Combo Cleaner

2. Double-click the downloaded file and proceed with the installation.

3. In the opened window, drag and drop the Combo Cleaner icon onto your Applications folder icon.

4. Open your Launchpad and click on the Combo Cleaner icon.

5. Wait until antivirus downloads it's latest virus definition updates and click on "Start Combo Scan" to start removing Incognito Searches.

Start Combo Scan

6. Free features of Combo Cleaner include Disk Cleaner, Big Files finder, Duplicate files finder, and Uninstaller. To use antivirus and privacy scanner, users have to upgrade to a premium version.

Proceed with the rest of the removal steps if you are comfortable in manually removing malicious objects associated with the threat.

Step 2 : Remove Browser Extensions that belongs to Incognito Searches

1. Locate the add-on or extension that is relevant to the hijacker. To do this, please follow the following depending on affected browser.

Safari - Choose Preferences from the Safari menu, then click the Extensions icon. This will open a window showing all installed extensions.

Chrome - Select Preferences from the Chrome menu, and then click the Extensions link found on the left pane.

Firefox - Choose Add-ons from the Menu. Look at both the Extensions and Plugins lists when it opens a new window.

2. Once you have located Incognito Searches or Searchsio, Search-Ya, click on Remove or Uninstall, to get rid of it.

3. Close the browser and proceed to the next steps.

Step 3 : Delete Malicious Files that have installed Incognito Searches

1. Select and copy the string below to your Clipboard by pressing Command + C on your keyboard.

~/Library/LaunchAgents

2. Go to your Finder. From the menu bar please select Go > Go to Folder...

3. Press Command + V on your keyboard to paste the copied string. Press Return to go to the said folder.

Command + V

4. You will now see a folder named LaunchAgents. Take note of the following files inside the folder:

  • unknown.download.plist
  • unknown.ltvbit.plist
  • unknown.update.plist
  • com.unknown

The term unknown is just a representation of the actual malware name. It is normally an unfamiliar file name such as the following:

- Searchsio, Search-Ya

If you cannot find the specified file, please look for any unfamiliar or suspicious entries. It may be the one causing Incognito Searches to be present on your Mac. Arranging all items to see the most latest ones may also help you identify recently installed unfamiliar files. Please press Option + Command + 4 on your keyboard to arrange the application list in chronological order.

Option + Command + 4

Important: Take note of all the suspicious files as you may also delete the same item on another folder as we go on.

5. Drag all suspicious files that you may find to Trash.

6. Please restart the computer.

7. Open another folder using the same method as above. Copy and Paste the following string to easily locate the folder.

~/Library/Application Support

8. Look for any suspicious items that are similar to the ones in Step 4. Drag them to the Trash.

9. Repeat the process on the following non-hidden folders (without ~):

/Library/LaunchAgents
/Library/LaunchDaemons
/Library/Application Support
/Library/Preferences

Optional : For locked files that cannot be removed, do the following:

1. Go to Launchpad, Utilities folder, open Activity Monitor.

2. Select the process you want to quit.

Force Quit Locked Files

3. Click on Force Quit button.

4. You may now delete or remove locked files that belongs to Incognito Searches homepage hijacker.

Step 4 : Double-check with MBAM Tool for Mac

1. Download Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac from this link:

Click here to download MBAM for Mac

2. Run Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac. It will check for updates and download if most recent version is available. This is necessary in finding recent malware threats including Incognito Searches.

3. If it prompts to close all running web browser, please do so. Thus, we advise you to PRINT this guide for your reference before going offline.

4. Once it opens the user interface, please click on Scan button to start scanning your Mac computer.

Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac

5. After the scan, Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac will display a list of identified threats, Incognito Searches is surely part of it. Be sure to select all items in the list. Then, click Remove button to clean the computer.

Step 5 : Remove Incognito Searches from Homepage and Search

Safari

- Open your Safari browser.
- Go to Safari Menu located on upper left hand corner, and then select Preferences.
- Under General tab, navigate to Default Search Engine section and select Google or any valid search engine.
- Next, be sure that "New Windows Open With" field is set to Homepage.
- Lastly, remove Incognito Searches from the Homepage field. Replace it with your preferred URL to be set as your default homepage.

Google Chrome

- Open Chrome browser.
- Type the following on the address bar and press Enter on keyboard : chrome://settings/
- Look for 'On Startup' area.
- Select 'Open a specific page or set of pages'.
- Click on More Actions and select Edit.
- Enter the desired web address as your home page, replacing Incognito Searches. Click Save.
- To set default search engine, go to Search Engine area.
- Click on 'Manage search engines...' button.
- Go to questionable Search Engine. Click on More Actions and Click 'Remove from list'.
- Go back to Search Engine area and choose valid entry from Search engine used in the address bar.

Mozilla Firefox

- Run Mozilla Firefox browser.
- Type the following on the address bar and hit Enter on keyboard : about:preferences
- On Startup area, select 'Show your home page' under 'When Firefox starts' field.
- Under Home Page field, type the desired URL to replace Incognito Searches settings.
- To configure default search engine, select Search on left sidebar to display settings.
- Under Default Search Engine list, please select one.
- On the same page, you have an option to Remove unwanted search engine.

Step 6 : Delete Incognito Searches Login Items

Some browser hijacker may also install login item into compromised account under System Preferences. This object automatically runs Incognito Searches during user log in.

1. Go to Apple menu and choose System Preferences.

2. Select Users & Groups from the preferences window.

3. You may need to Unlock this area in order to make changes. Click on the Lock icon on lower left corner of the window.

4. Next, select user account that runs Incognito Searches.

5. Click on Login Items tab.

6. Select Incognito Searches, Searchsio, Search-Ya, or any suspicious entries from the list and click on the minus [-] button and confirm your actions. Please see image below for reference.

Login Items

Optional : If unable to change browser settings, execute these steps:

Some user complains that there is no way to change browser settings because it is grayed out by Incognito Searches. In such situation, it is important to check if there is unwanted profile. Please do the following:

1. Quit any running applications and launch System Preferences from your Dock.

2. Under System Preferences, click Profiles.

3. Select Searchsio, Search-Ya, Incognito Searches or any relevant profile from the left pane. See image below.

Remove Profile

4. At the bottom of this window, click minus [-] button to delete the account. Please refer to image above.

5. Close the Profiles window and open the affected browser to change all settings associated with Incognito Searches.

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