Over the past couple of days I have struggled with Www-searching.com which changed my Firefox homepage and couldn’t be deleted easily. I searched information about it on the web and tried many methods and finally I successfully deleted it from my PC. It’s not easy to deal with that nasty so I’m going to share the process of how I managed to delete it. I hope my first hand experience with Www-searching.com virus can help other computer users who have the same computer problem.
Problem I encountered:
I am running Windows 7 and using Firefox and IE two browsers. A few days ago, whenever I started the Firefox browser my preferred homepage opened, but then a second tab opened with www-searching.com. I looked at my homepage settings but weirdly only my favorite homepage url displayed there. I didn’t know how to stop the second tab from opening. My IE works fine by far. I suspected the PC may have been infected with virus so I ran MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials) to scan the entire system. However, to my disappointment, nothing suspicious was found.
I remembered that I did not download/install anything lately. I sometimes watched videos or played games but everything was fine then. Since I didn’t visit those “exciting” websites, I couldn’t believe my machine was infected. Anyway, it was really annoying to see a strange tab opened automatically every time when I used my browser.
A screenshot of Www-searching.com on my Firefox:
Information about www-searching.com:
I was not sure what to do next so I searched for information about this url and found many other users also had the same problem. Here are some screenshots of the victims of www-searching.com searching for solutions that I discovered in some forums.
It seems that many people have difficulty in removing the url from their PCs. Many websites also provide the instructions on how to get rid of this url. “Www-searching.com, also known as Search Module Plus, is a browser hijacker that changes your browser’s start page to www-searching.com.” (source: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/remove-www-searching.com)
“www-searching.com is a browser hijacker, which is promoted via other free downloads, and once installed it will change your browser homepage and default search engine to www-searching.com.” (Source: http://malwaretips.com/blogs/remove-www-searching-com-virus/)
Obviously, this url falls into the category of browser hijackers. To learn more about browser hijackers, I did a search on the Internet and found a definition of this word given by Norton: A browser hijacker is a type of malware designed to change your browser’s settings. A browser hijacker changes your web browser’s home page and default search provider to a different one without your permission.
In a word, this type of computer threat is able to make modifications on a web browser’s settings. It is created purposely for marketing, commercial and publicity purposes and should not be kept on the PC. It usually comes bundled with free downloads such as freeware. It means that this unwanted stuff can come into the PC when you download a piece of software which is bundled with it. Sometimes the hijacker can be rejected to install during the new software installation process. I have used computer for a long time and of course I know how to prevent such unwanted items when install a program. However, I don’t pay much attention to the licensing agreement that I must accept to when download and install the software. I didn’t realize that the agreement applies to all software in the bundle including the unwanted things. In addition, file sharing and email attachments can also spread this hijacker.
How could I successfully get rid of the malware?
When I noticed that www-searching.com kept showing up on my Firefox, I started to search for solutions to this browser hijacking issue on the Internet. Many posts mentioned uninstalling malicious programs from Control Panel and removing suspicious browser add-on as well as several security tools. To make what I tried to deal with this issue more clearly, I made a list of the steps in order as below.
Step1. Tried to uninstall suspicious programs from the PC by using Control Panel
To do this, I clicked Start -> Control Panel -> Clicked Uninstall a Program under Programs. Then the Programs and Features window opened (see screenshot below).
When the list of all my installed programs fully loaded, I scrolled down to find the malware but all the installed software seemed innocent. I couldn’t find any unfamiliar program that was installed lately.
Step2. Tried to disable malicious browser add-on
Then I started my Firefox browser, clicked on Tools -> Add-ons and then the about:addons page opened.
I saw numerous add-ons there but didn’t know which one to disable. I checked again and again and finally gave up because I failed to find any suspicious add-on and also worried that my misoperation may lead to other problems.
Step3. Ran Malwarebytes anti-malware program to remove www-searching.com
Many forums recommend Malwarebytes anti-malware software to fix the problem and I also had a try. Though this tool detected and deleted a few threats detected on my machine, the hijacker still came back when I restarted Firefox browser. But many users said that they could resolve their issues with the help of this tool. If you have the same problem, why not have a try?
As mentioned at the beginning, my MSE picked up nothing associated with the browser hijacker. So I decided to try another security tool – Malwarebytes anti-malware program. I downloaded the tool from the link below:
When the file was downloaded, I double clicked on the mbam.exe file and then followed the prompts to complete the installation of Malwarebytes.
Then I launched the software and waited a while before the database of the tool was updated to the latest version. When the update was finished, I clicked on Scan Now button to scan the PC and this tool a few minutes.
The tool detected several threats and I clicked Remove Selected button to delete them. Those threats can be deleted completely from the History option.
I restarted my PC after deleting those malicious files with the tool. I thought that www-searching.com wouldn’t show there on my Firefox anymore but it was still there. So I had to continue to try other methods.
Step4. Reset my Firefox settings
Randomly I found someone in a forum said that he was able to get rid of www-searching.com by resetting the browser settings.
I saw hope and tried to reset my Firefox settings with the following steps:
Opened Firefox browser, click on Help -> Troubleshooting information -> Found and clicked on Reset Firefox button – > Confirmed the reset.
Then I restarted Firefox but what irritated me a lot was that the hijacker appeared again! I knew I failed again.
Step5. Removed Www-searching.com by using SpyHunter
I found that many posts in the search results recommended SpyHunter when I googled “remove www-searching.com” on the Internet. I was not sure if this tool worked but I’d like to try because I didn’t have better choice. Thanks to it, my problem was solved in the end. So sometimes you’d better go and try yourself and don’t always listen to others.
Anyway, I successfully removed www-searching.com in a few steps. The steps below show how I cleared the hijacker completely.
1 Download SpyHunter and save it on my PC.
2 Run the file to start the installation process after the file is downloaded.
3 Complete the installation of SpyHunter according to the prompts given.
4 When the installation is finished, the tool will scan the system automatically (If not, you can click Scan Computer Now button) and the scanning may take several minutes.
5 When the scanning is completed, click Fix Threats button to delete the threats found.
Friendly reminder: I have to tell you that SpyHunter is not a piece of free software. It provides free scan but requires you to purchase its full version to fix the threats. To me, it’s not a big problem. Why? It is able to detect and delete all threats on my PC and eliminate www-searching.com thoroughly. This is what I want so I think this security tool is worth.
The following video offers a complete guide for Www-searching.com redirect virus removal. You’d better watch it in full-screen mode!