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Remove Start-pagesearch(.)com Browser Hijacker Redirects

STF-start-pagesearch-com-page-search-browser-hijacker-main-page

Start-pagesearch(.)com is browser hijacker and a fake search engine. The hijacker poses as a legitimate search engine, while implying that it can improve your search results, but instead just redirects you to search engines. Most of those search engines are owned by Trovi and are also browser hijackers. Targeted adverts and sponsored content could show up while you surf the Web. Start-pagesearch(.)com can change the homepage, new tab, and the search engine of your browsers.

To remove the hijacker and its components, you should read the article in full.

Threat Summary

Name Start-pagesearch(.)com
Type Browser Hijacker, PUP
Short Description Browser software on your computer could be affected. The hijacker can redirect you and show you advertisements.
Symptoms Browser settings which can be changed are the homepage, search engine and new tab. An extension could be added as well.
Distribution Method Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by Start-pagesearch(.)com

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Malware Removal Tool

User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss Start-pagesearch(.)com.

Start-pagesearch(.)com – Ways of Delivery

Start-pagesearch(.)com can be delivered in a couple of ways. One way is via third-party installations, which can be launched from bundled programs and freeware apps. Those installers can put additional components in your computer without explicit permission. Before you notice, the hijacker could have altered lots of settings. Avoiding installations of such software can be made possible if you search for Custom or Advanced options, and find deselect settings.

Start-pagesearch(.)com might use other ways for delivering itself to your PC and browsers. That can happen through an extension or add-on directly set inside your browser applications. Another way is through adverts, like banners and pop-ups. This hijacker might be spread with redirects and targeted set on dubious websites. Said sites could be affiliated in a way with Start-pagesearch(.)com. The following browsers could be affected: Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and Mozilla Firefox.

Start-pagesearch(.)com – In Detail

Start-pagesearch(.)com is the primary domain for a browser hijacker. The hijacker is developed by the company Bontio, Inc. You can see how the main web page looks like from the picture displayed below:

STF-start-pagesearch-com-page-search-browser-hijacker-main-page

Start-pagesearch(.)com presents itself as a useful search engine that can supposedly provide better and improved search results than other ones. In fact, the hijacker will only redirect you to other search engines, some of which are reputable to throw you off. But don’t be fooled by that, as everything that you type goes through servers of Bontio and those of other hijacker developers.

The main search page of the unwanted application consists of a search bar and a background. The background can be a simple, solid color or the picture seen in the above screenshot. Other than that there are links to its EULA and Privacy Policy. Any application tied to it can replace the homepage, search engine, and new tab of your browsers.

In the screenshot seen down below, you can see how an example search results page of Start-pagesearch(.)com looks. You will exclaim that this is simply Google, but you will not be exactly right. You will not be right, because although the hijacker redirects you and finally lands you on Google, before that it sends information about you to its servers, from every search query you make. You could also see advertisements and targeted content in the search results, which will not appear otherwise.

STF-start-pagesearch-com-page-search-browser-hijacker-bear-grylls-google-search-results

Some of the information is collected by cookies as well, and other tracking technologies might be involved in the collection process. Be very wary of what information you put in the search bar of the hijacker program and on what links and content you click. Read on to see how exactly Start-pagesearch(.)com collects information from you and your PC and to whom it may send it.

Start-pagesearch(.)com – Privacy Policy

The Privacy Policy of the Start-pagesearch(.)com site is as mixed as it can be. You can find it on the main domain of the hijacker. Apparently, the unwanted software is developed by the Bontio, Inc. company. Personally and non-personally identifying information can be collected and right from the start you can read the following text:

For information on data collection with respect to web search services provided by Trovi Search and powered by Trovi search partners please visit http://info.trovi.com/Privacy. For information on data collection with respect to web search services provided by Seek for Search and MySecureSearch, please visit http://info.seekforsearch.com/privacy-policy and http://info.mysecuresearch.net/privacy-policy/ and the search provider’s privacy policy, as applicable. For information on data collection with respect to web search services provided through the Services by Yandex and powered by Yandex search partners please visit https://legal.yandex.com/privacy/.

The above excerpt states openly that Trovi Search and search engines of other companies are involved. That means that all of the above mentioned privacy policies are applied at the same time and collect lots of information about you and the browsing you do.

You can see the main Privacy Policy, which is always active, in the picture below:

STF-start-pagesearch-com-page-search-browser-hijacker-privacy-policy

The above policy states that the following information is collected:

For unregistered users:
  • Your operating system (OS) type
  • Browser type
  • Language
  • Internet Protocol (IP) address
  • The date and time of your request
  • Cookie ID (when you visit the sites) or unique ID (when you install the software)
  • Your geographical information
For registered users:
  • Information collected from unregistered users (listed above)
  • Your name
  • Email address
  • Date of birth
  • Photo
  • Other information you have provided

And the following quote states what information is obtained from all users:

We also collect information regarding your web browser and browser settings, such as the default browser, the default browser home page setting, the default search setting, and changes to your browser settings, including tracking the download of files that may be responsible for such changes, which helps us ensure that the search protect technology is updated and working effectively.

According to the Policy of Start-pagesearch(.)com you automatically grant your consent for the collection of information, when you use any application or service from the companies mentioned above and those in the said policy. Cookies, web beacons, plus other similar technologies are used in the data collection process, too. Information, may it be personal or not, could be shared with third parties, and in certain events, such as a police investigation or bankruptcy.

Remove Start-pagesearch(.)com Completely from Your PC

To remove Start-pagesearch(.)com manually from your computer, follow the step-by-step removal instructions provided below. In case the manual removal does not get rid of the hijacker and all its files completely, you should search for and remove any leftovers with an advanced anti-malware tool. Such a program can keep your computer safe in the future.

Manually delete Start-pagesearch(.)com from Windows and your browser

Note! Substantial notification about the Start-pagesearch(.)com threat: Manual removal of Start-pagesearch(.)com requires interference with system files and registries. Thus, it can cause damage to your PC. Even if your computer skills are not at a professional level, don’t worry. You can do the removal yourself just in 5 minutes, using a malware removal tool.

1. Remove or Uninstall Start-pagesearch(.)com in Windows
2. Remove Start-pagesearch(.)com from Your Browser
3. Fix registry entries created by Start-pagesearch(.)com on your PC

Automatically remove Start-pagesearch(.)com by downloading an advanced anti-malware program

1. Remove Start-pagesearch(.)com with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool
2. Back up your data to secure it against attacks related to Start-pagesearch(.)com in the future
Optional: Using Alternative Anti-Malware Tools

Berta Bilbao

Berta is the Editor-in-Chief of SensorsTechForum. She is a dedicated malware researcher, dreaming for a more secure cyber space.

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