Search Mask is deemed as potentially unwanted program that asserts to protect your privacy and block any tracking programs from recording your browsing activities. According to the official website, Search Mask does this by directing online search to a secure and encrypted network. Although, upon diagnostics, we did not noticed any security features. Only effective changes it has made is the new default search engine.
With the presence of Search Mask, you can no longer use any search engine aside from the one it provided, which is named Under Cover Search. It is compatible to Google Chrome browser. As we can observed from search result page, Search Mask was made to display advertisements in the sole purpose of generating online revenue. There are also instances that browser is redirected to various address, certainly to drive internet traffic to partner’s websites.
Search Mask may come into your computer uninvited. It is normally packed to various freeware and shareware. This bundling technique is a common thing for adware authors to spread their creation. Thus, be watchful on what you are downloading. Make sure that it is free from adware and malware before installing them onto your computer.
In the case of Search Mask, it comes on certain products of Yontoo like Buzzdock, Trendio, Lucky Tab, and many more. Installing any of the mentioned software likewise loads Search Mask and a bunch of adware without your knowledge. Only obvious sign during the presence of potentially unwanted program are adjustments on browser settings. Search Mask in particular will override settings on your search tool, as already mentioned above.
To remove Search Mask and get rid of all relevant adware, execute the procedures as outlined below. Make sure to scan the computer with recommended anti-virus and ant-malware programs.
Search Mask Removal Procedure
Below is a systematic instruction that is very useful in getting rid of the Adware from compromised Windows computer. Aside from removing the malicious browser extension, this guide is also helpful in deleting pop-ups and redirects.
In order to totally eliminate the threat, it is vital to follow the process in exact manner.
Quick Fix - Scan the PC with Combo Cleaner for Windows
Combo Cleaner is a trusted PC security and optimization tool equipped with powerful virus and malware detection engine. This program can get rid of adware like Search Mask through this procedure.
1. Download the application from the following page:
2. Save the file to your preferred location.
3. Double-click the downloaded file CCSetup.exe and install with the default settings.
4. At the end of the setup process, click Finish to run Combo Cleaner.
5. The tool will update the signature file, please wait for this process to complete.
6. To begin checking for threats like Search Mask, click on the Start Scan button. Wait for this scan to finish.
7. At the end of the scan process, click on Remove all threats to delete Search Mask adware including all malicious objects from the computer.
Free features of Combo Cleaner for Windows include Disk Cleaner, Big Files finder, Duplicate files finder, and Uninstaller. To use antivirus, privacy scanner, and to delete identified threats, users have to upgrade to a premium version.
Please continue with the succeeding removal procedures if your are comfortable to manually get rid of the threat and malicious items linked with it.
Step 1 : Turn Off Sync on Google Chrome
1. Open Google Chrome browser.
2. In the address bar please type the following: chrome://settings/syncSetup
3. On Settings page, click the Turn off button to disable syncing Chrome settings between devices.
If in case that you don't want to stop syncing other sections like Apps, Bookmarks, History, Theme, and so on, please click on Manager what you sync. Next, select Customize sync. To successfully remove Search Mask, you may disable only Apps and Extensions data. Please restart Google Chrome browser.
Step 2 : Delete Search Mask or Suspicious 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 Search Mask. If it is not present, look for and delete any suspicious browser extension.
Remove Search Mask Extension from Google Chrome
1. Open Google Chrome browser.
2. Type chrome://extensions/ in the address bar and press Enter on keyboard.
3. Find Search Mask or relevant entry and remove it from Google Chrome browser.
Uninstall Search Mask Extension from Mozilla Firefox
1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser.
2. Type about:addons in the address bar and press Enter on keyboard.
3. Choose Extensions on sidebar menu.
4. Look for object that is pertaining to Search Mask and remove it from the browser.
After deleting the malicious browser extension, it is expected that pop-ups and other troubles are gone from the browser.
Remove Search Mask from Windows (Internet Explorer or Edge Browser)
1. Press Windows Key + R and then, type appwiz.cpl command.
2. 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.
3. Select Search Mask or recently installed unwanted entry. Then, click on Uninstall to remove it from Windows system.
If Search Mask is still present on the IE browser and there are still homepage and pop-ups, another option is to remove the adware from the browser settings.
4. Open Internet Explorer program.
5. Go to top Menu and click Tools. Then, select Manage Add-ons from the drop-down list.
6. Look for and Remove or Disable entries of Search Mask from Toolbars and Extension. Additionally, delete the same object from Search Providers section.
7. Close the window and restart Internet Explorer.
Step 3 : Scan the computer with Sophos Antivirus
To remove Search Mask automatically, scanning the computer with this powerful virus and malware removal tool is recommended. This scanner does not just uncover known threats like viruses or malware, it is also effective in discovering adware like Search Mask.
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.
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.
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 adware like Search Mask.
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 Search Mask and other suspicious entities. Be sure to remove all identified threats.
The above procedures should have totally eliminated the Search Mask adware. However, if you found that there are still remnants of the threat, please proceed to the succeeding procedures below.
Step 4 : 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 Search Mask 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 annoying 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 Search Mask.
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.
4. AdwCleaner searches the computer for malicious programs, extensions, plug-ins, adware, and any items that may be associated to Search Mask. It will also check for suspicious entries on browser settings.
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 Search Mask. If the adware 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 Search Mask. 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 Search Mask. 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 Search Mask.
5. Close the existing tab and restart Google Chrome. That should have removed Search Mask extension and associated objects.
Reset Mozilla Firefox to Default
This section describes how to remove unwanted extension from Firefox that may be related to Search Mask. 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. Search Mask 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 Search Mask and other unknown objects. If you prefer to carry out the procedure manually, please add-on removal from Internet Explorer.