Remove Proto-search.com Hijacker

The moment that Proto-search.com gains momentum on controlling internet browser’s homepage, computer users may not be able to browse the web normally as before. This is because computer threat as Proto-search.com can execute different kinds of browser annoyances like pop-up advertisements and aggressive push notifications. Proto-search.com is also observed to be causing series of browser redirects that could force web user to visit questionable websites. Both of these actions are part of the revenue scheme of Proto-search.com as ad display and traffic referral respectively.

Web users are warned not to click on any advertisements as long as Proto-search.com is part of the browser application. These are not usual ads because the provider is a known underground ad network that works with hackers and malware developers, which avails this suspicious ad scheme. As a result, ads by Proto-search.com are more aggressive and appears in significant amount as compare to usual advertisements from legitimate brands.

Aside from flooding the browser with numerous ad platforms, Proto-search.com is also responsible for data gathering where it collects specific information that is stored on internet program like Google Chrome, Safari, or Firefox. It gathers data that corresponds to web users browsing activities like search keywords, favorite websites, visited pages, IP address, and so on. Makers of Proto-search.com are expected to analyze collected information and produce ads that are more attractive to web users, based on their online preferences. After utilizing data to elevate online profit, publishers of Proto-search.com may sell them to third parties for additional revenue. As such, stolen sensitive information of web users may soon be the cause of identity theft.

Proto-search.com

There is no proof that Proto-search.com is a useful homepage and search tool. Therefore, computer security analyst suggests its removal as soon as possible to avoid any further harm. To help users with this task, we are providing simple yet effective procedures on this page. Follow the guide accordingly to ensure complete removal of Proto-search.com.

Proto-search.com Removal Procedure

Below is a systematic instruction that is very useful in getting rid of the potentially unwanted program (PUP) from compromised Windows computer. Aside from removing the malicious browser extension, this guide is also helpful in deleting browser hijacker and pop-ups.

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

Step 1 : Delete Proto-search.com 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 Proto-search.com.

Remove Proto-search.com Extension from Google Chrome

1. Open Google Chrome browser.

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

Chrome URL

3. Find Proto-search.com or relevant entry and remove it from Google Chrome browser.

Uninstall Proto-search.com Extension from Mozilla Firefox

1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser.

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

Firefox URL

3. Choose Extensions on sidebar menu.

4. Look for object that is pertaining to Proto-search.com and remove it from the browser.

After deleting the malicious browser extension, it is expected that Proto-search.com is also gone from the homepage.

Remove Proto-search.com 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 Proto-search.com from Toolbars and Extension. Additionally, delete unwanted entry from Search Providers section.

4. Close the window and restart Internet Explorer.

If Proto-search.com is still present on the IE browser and there are still unwanted homepage and pop-ups, 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 Malware

7. Select Proto-search.com or recently installed unwanted entry. Then, click on Uninstall to remove it from Windows system.

Step 2 : Scan the computer with Malware Removal Program

To remove Proto-search.com automatically, scanning the computer with this powerful anti-virus tool is recommended. This scanner does not just uncover known threats like viruses or malware, it is also effective in discovering browser hijacker like Proto-search.com that slows down online browsing activities.

1. Download Sophos Virus Removal Tool from the link below. Save the file on your computer where you can easily access it.

2. Once the download completes, browse the location of the file. Double-click to run the program and begin the install process.

Screnshot of Sophos Installer

3. On first windows of installation wizard, click Next to continue. Then, it will display the program’s License Agreement. You need to Accept the terms in order to proceed. If Windows prompts for User Account Control, please click Yes to proceed.

Screenshot of Sophos EULA Page

4. On succeeding windows, click Next or Continue to carry on with the installation. After completing the installation process, Launch Sophos Virus Removal Tool.

5. Internet connection is required when running this scanner in order to download important updates. Make sure that everything is up-to-date to effectively remove malicious program like Proto-search.com.

6. Click the  button to  carry out the Scan. This will check the system for presence of malicious objects, malware, and viruses. The tool reveals items that were found linked to Proto-search.com and other suspicious entities. Be sure to remove all identified threats.

Screenshot of Sophos Virus Scan

The above procedures should have totally eliminated the Proto-search.com browser hijacker. However, if you found that there are still remnants of the threat, please proceed to manual removal of associated objects as outlined below.

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 Proto-search.com on the browser that was not deleted during the preceding steps. This tool will scan the computer and check for presence of malicious applications as well as invalid browser entries that produces hijacking, redirects, and pop-ups.

1. Follow the link below to download the tool called AdwCleaner.

2. When the download has completed, please close all running programs on the computer especially browsers affected by Proto-search.com.

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 Proto-search.com. It will also check for suspicious entries on browser settings that is associated with the hijacker.

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.

Check if your internet browser application is no longer being bothered by Proto-search.com. If the browser hijacker still persists, please continue with the steps below to reset internet programs to default settings.

Optional : Reset Internet Browser Program

Cleaning your internet browser from clutter and unwanted add-on/extension is a must when dealing with Proto-search.com. The procedure below discuss on resetting various browsers to its default state.

Restore Google Chrome to Default Settings

Resetting Google Chrome to default settings is helpful in deleting hard-to-remove extension such as from Proto-search.com. This method is highly advisable to perform if you have difficulty in removing unwanted extension.

1. Open Google Chrome Internet browser.
2. On the address bar, type chrome://settings/reset and press Enter key.
3. Under Reset and clean up section, choose Restore settings to their original defaults.
4. Click Reset settings button to clear all entries of Proto-search.com.
5. Close the existing tab and restart Google Chrome. That should have removed Proto-search.com extension and associated objects.

Reset Mozilla Firefox to Default

This section describes how to remove unwanted extension from Firefox that may be related to Proto-search.com. This process can fix many browser issues by restoring Firefox to factory settings without affecting your essential information (bookmarks, browsing history, passwords, and Internet cookies) on the browser. If you desire to remove only specific extension, please see manual removal of add-on from Firefox.

1. Input the string about:support on Firefox web address and press Enter on keyboard.
2. You will now see the Troubleshooting Information page of Mozilla Firefox.
3. You will notice a section on upper-right corner of the screen stating Give Firefox a tune up. Click the Refresh Firefox button.
4. If confirmation window appears, click Refresh Firefox to continue.
5. Firefox browser will close and start the resetting process. When done, it will display a list of restored data. Proto-search.com should be gone by now. Click Finish to open a fresh version of Firefox.

Restore Internet Explorer to Default Settings

1. Open Internet Explorer and navigate to top menu. Click Tools, and then Internet Options.
2. Select Advanced tab on Internet Options window.
3. On lower part of the window, under Reset Internet Explorer Settings area, click the Reset button. Please see image for reference. Your data like favorites, bookmark, and history will remain in the browser. However, this process may delete add-ons by Proto-search.com and other unknown objects. If you prefer to carry out the procedure manually, please add-on removal from Internet Explorer.

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