|Type||Browser Hijacker, PUP|
|Short Description||The redirect can change the homepage, search engine and new tab on each browser installed on the compromised machine.|
|Symptoms||Depending on the exact redirect configuration different behaviour patterns can be executed. The list includes user redirection, malware infections and etc.|
|Distribution Method||Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages|
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|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss Defend Search.|
Defend Search Redirect – Distribution
Browser hijackers like the Defend Search redirect can be distributed using different methods. Depending on the intended scope of infections and target users the criminals behind it can utilize different strategies. A common method is the coordination of email spam messages that are usually made by following pre-existing templates. The hackers employ social engineering tricks that attempts to blackmail the users into getting infected. There are several types of messages that can be made:
- Hyperlinks — The hackers can redirect the users to a site hosting the Defend Search redirect infections via links. They can be masked as password reset notifications, services and etc.
- File Attachments — The hacker operators can directly attach the virus files to the messages. Usually they are disgised as software installers.
- Infected Documents — Computer criminals can embed malware code in different types of documents: rich text documents, spreadsheets and presentations. As soon as they are opened a notification prompt appears which asks the victims to run the embedded scripts (macros). As soon as this is done the virus is downloaded from a remote server and executed on the infected systems.
Another technique bundles the malware code into software installers. The criminals usually obtain the installers from their official sources and then spreads the malware software packages to hacker-operated sites and file sharing apps like BitTorrent. In some cases the computer users may be able to disable the infections by unchecking certain options. The malware sites can also use various web scripts such as redirects, pop-ups and banners.
Defend Search Redirect – In Detail
The Defend Search redirect can impose a variety of malware activity on the targets depending on the preliminary hacker configuration. Usually the attacks begin with the basic browser changes. The criminals modify the default search engine, new tabs page and home page in order to redirect the victims to the malware site. The programmers tend to make the code compatible with the most popular applications: Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge.
When the infection has complete the victims will find that every they open up their browser the Defend Search malware home page will be displayed. At the same time tracking cookies will be placed in the applications that track the victims every site interaction. The bulk of harvested information is relayed in real time to the hacker operators.
As the Defend Search redirect infections happen through the web browsers the computer criminals can access data stored in them. This includes the following: form data, bookmarks, history, preferences, passwords and account credentials.
In many cases redirects such as this one are operated as part of a larger network of connected sites that all pool the data and cross-reference it in order to create a complete profile of the targets. The extracted data can be categorized into two separate categories:
- Anonymous Metrics — Such data creates a complete profile of the installed hardware components and software. This information is used for statistical purposes.
- Personally-identifiable Information — This batch of information can directly expose the users identity. Example data includes names, addresses, phone numbers, nick names and etc.
If used with in conjunction with an advanced infection tactic the Defend Search redirect can be used to deliver additional threats to the victims. This effectively makes the hijacker a step in the multi-stage delivery of the various malware. Examples include ransomware and Trojans.
During the security investigation the experts discovered that the modular framework can allow for a malware server connection. Using it the hackers can institute a Trojan component that can allow the hackers to view the users desktop at any given time. They can also overtake control of the victim machines at any given time.
The Defend Search redirect home page is designed using a template that copies the way legitimate service are made. It is comprised of a top menu bar that holds several interactive elements.
A logo image is placed on the far left, next to it is the search engine box itself and underneath it are search type buttons. On the right the users can view the Login, Photos and Gmail shortcuts. By the looks of it the Defend Search redirect is a customized Google search instance.
The users may be fooled into thinking that it is safe to use the service, however in many cases the results can be altered to inclue sponsored or affiliate links.
How to Remove Defend Search Redirect
The detailed guide below shows how to remove Defend Search redirect from all affected browsers and from the PC. In some cases, the manual removal may not be enough to eliminate completely the hijacker. So be advised to run a scan with an advanced anti-malware tool. It will locate all leftovers so you can easily delete them with a few mouse clicks. Furthermore, an active anti-malware tool on the system guarantees its protection from future malware infections.
- Guide 1: How to Remove Defend Search from Windows.
- Guide 2: Get rid of Defend Search on Mac OS X.
- Guide 3: Remove Defend Search in Google Chrome.
- Guide 4: Erase Defend Search from Mozilla Firefox.
- Guide 5: Uninstall Defend Search from Microsoft Edge.
- Guide 6: Remove Defend Search from Safari.
- Guide 7: Eliminate Defend Search from Internet Explorer.
- Guide 8: Disable Defend Search Push Notifications in Your Browsers.
How to Remove Defend Search from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove Defend Search
Step 2: Uninstall Defend Search and related software from Windows
Here is a method in few easy steps that should be able to uninstall most programs. No matter if you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program are left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, errors with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it.
Step 3: Clean any registries, created by Defend Search on your computer.
The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:
You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by Defend Search there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Get rid of Defend Search from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall Defend Search and remove related files and objects
1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
- Go to Finder.
- In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
- Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
- If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.
In case you cannot remove Defend Search via Step 1 above:
In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.
Step 2: Scan for and remove Defend Search files from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as Defend Search, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. SpyHunter for Mac offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
Remove Defend Search from Google Chrome.
Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu
Step 2: Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"
Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Erase Defend Search from Mozilla Firefox.
Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window
Step 2: Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.
Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Uninstall Defend Search from Microsoft Edge.
Step 1: Start Edge browser.
Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.
Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".
Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.
Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.
Remove Defend Search from Safari.
Step 1: Start the Safari app.
Step 2: After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.
Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".
Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.
Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.
Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.
A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the Defend Search will be removed.
Eliminate Defend Search from Internet Explorer.
Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.
Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'
Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.
Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.
Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.
Remove Push Notifications caused by Defend Search from Your Browsers.
Turn Off Push Notifications from Google Chrome
To disable any Push Notices from Google Chrome browser, please follow the steps below:
Step 1: Go to Settings in Chrome.
Step 2: In Settings, select “Advanced Settings”:
Step 3: Click “Content Settings”:
Step 4: Open “Notifications”:
Step 5: Click the three dots and choose Block, Edit or Remove options:
Remove Push Notifications on Firefox
Step 1: Go to Firefox Options.
Step 2: Go to “Settings”, type “notifications” in the search bar and click "Settings":
Step 3: Click “Remove” on any site you wish notifications gone and click “Save Changes”
Stop Push Notifications on Opera
Step 1: In Opera, press ALT+P to go to Settings
Step 2: In Setting search, type “Content” to go to Content Settings.
Step 3: Open Notifications:
Step 4: Do the same as you did with Google Chrome (explained below):
Eliminate Push Notifications on Safari
Step 1: Open Safari Preferences.
Step 2: Choose the domain from where you like push pop-ups gone and change to "Deny" from "Allow".