There are numerous browser extensions these days that may appear valuable but in reality, they were made to conquer the internet program and carry out several illicit tasks. One of the suspicious browser extensions we have recently encountered is named Searchways.net. Come to think of it, the program is marketed as browser add-on that improved online browsing and searching experience of internet users. However, its official website claims that Searchways.net is able to collect private data from the browser. That alone appears to be skeptical.
The Searchways.net browser hijacker
Aside from data gathering, computer security experts reveal that Searchways.net is part of an adware family that have produced numerous similar browser malware, which causes risks when installed on internet browser programs like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Edge. As per our diagnostics, Searchways.net could cause alteration on the homepage and search settings. Homepage will have a new layout with unknown search bar and as expected, online searching will be processed by an unwanted server. The privacy theft occurs in this setup because all online searches are diverted to Searchways.net-assigned servers where attackers can easily gather various browsing details and search terms.
Risks to online privacy and security
Searchways.net developers are very much interested in collecting web user’s data because it can be utilized to boost their online advertising revenue by exhibiting personalized ads on the browser. In addition, amassed information from every victim is sellable and there is a demand for such data especially in the online marketing business section.
The truth is, objective of Searchways.net is very similar to other browser hijackers as Home-gogo.com, SearchTab.xyz, and PickMySearch.com. They all intend to get inside the browser using various deceptive techniques. And once the suspicious extensions are in, they will execute the main tasks, which is unfortunately not favorable to web users. Therefore, we highly recommend immediate removal of Searchways.net using the steps and scanners below.
Searchways.net 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.
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 browser hijacker like Searchways.net 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 Searchways.net, 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 Searchways.net hijacker including all malicious objects from the computer.
Free features of Combo Cleaner for Windows includes 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 : Delete Searchways.net 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 Searchways.net.
Remove Searchways.net Extension from Google Chrome
1. Open Google Chrome browser.
2. Type chrome://extensions/ in the address bar and press Enter on keyboard.
3. Find Searchways.net or relevant entry and remove it from Google Chrome browser.
Uninstall Searchways.net 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 Searchways.net and remove it from the browser.
After deleting the malicious browser extension, it is expected that Searchways.net is also gone from the homepage.
Remove Searchways.net 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.
3. Look for and Remove or Disable entries of Searchways.net from Toolbars and Extension. Additionally, delete unwanted entry from Search Providers section.
4. Close the window and restart Internet Explorer.
If Searchways.net 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.
7. Select Searchways.net or recently installed unwanted entry. Then, click on Uninstall to remove it from Windows system.
Step 2 : Scan the computer with Sophos Antivirus
To remove Searchways.net 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 Searchways.net 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.
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 malicious program like Searchways.net.
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 Searchways.net and other suspicious entities. Be sure to remove all identified threats.
The above procedures should have totally eliminated the Searchways.net 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 Searchways.net 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 Searchways.net.
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 Searchways.net. 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 Searchways.net. 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 Searchways.net. 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 Searchways.net. 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 Searchways.net.
5. Close the existing tab and restart Google Chrome. That should have removed Searchways.net extension and associated objects.
Reset Mozilla Firefox to Default
This section describes how to remove unwanted extension from Firefox that may be related to Searchways.net. 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. Searchways.net 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 Searchways.net and other unknown objects. If you prefer to carry out the procedure manually, please add-on removal from Internet Explorer.