A new ad-related program that appears to hijack possibly all browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome) installed on the user PC has appeared by the name of HighlightSearches. The program may claim that it takes the user to ‘the next page faster’, according to some reports, however in reality is a PUP(Potentially Unwanted Program). There have been reports that it displays ad-supported search results that might in some cases redirect to third-party sites.
HighlightSearches – How Does It Work?
This application may come on the user computer as a result of the ‘Fast Clicking’ syndrome in some users when installing free programs from the web. Some Setup programs may have such ‘extras’ embedded in them. These PUPs are usually included in some of the installation steps that most users tend to overlook.
Once this unwanted program is installed on a certain computer, it may begin to run a process in the Windows Task Manager, by the name of abengine.exe, report affected users. The program content may be situated in C:/Program Files(x86)/Highlightsearches folder. In there, an ‘uninstall’ program may be found that deletes it. However, users claim that after uninstall some files could be restored for the program to work again on the browsers. This can usually be done by adding registry values in the Windows Registry Editor.
PUPs such as these are usually created with the purpose of making profits to their developers, by taking advantage of pay-per-click schemes and third party affiliate relationships. HighlightSearches may change some settings on the browser to allow the installation of LSOs(Local Shared Objects) or HTTP cookies. These cookies may aggregate non-personal information about the user’s online clicks, web searches or browsing history. This is usually done with the purpose of displaying ad content based on those, increasing the likely-hood of a user clicking on them.
After being clicked on, the ad-supported results may lead to some malicious third-party sites, that could be associated with:
→-Non-personal information stealing.
-Obtaining of personally identifiable information (PII).
-Downloading of malicious files onto the victim’s PC (Trojan Horses, Ransomware, Adware, Rootkit, Viruses, Worms, etc.)
-Fake tech support toll-free scams.
-Hoax prize claiming (‘Fill out this form to get it now!’).
-Hoax product trials (‘Complete free registration here!’).
The abovementioned methods cyber-crooks use to obtain data via third-party scam domains are probably not even the half of their real number because attackers are developing new tactics on a daily basis. This is why it is highly recommended to change your browsing behavior and inform yourself about the latest threats regularly.
Removal Manual for HighlightSearches Ads
If you have detected any advertisements or applications with text similar to ‘Powered by HighlightSearches’, ‘by HighlightSearches’ or programs and features associated with HighlightSearches, security experts advise to remove any traces of the software swiftly. To do this, their recommendations are to follow the step-by-step guide below to uninstall this program. Since it may still be active after uninstalling, an imperative advice is to download and scan your computer with a special anti-malware tool that will eliminate all traces of it. Also, by installing such cyber-protection software, you are insuring yourself from future attacks against your PC information.
Spy Hunter scanner will only detect the threat. If you want the threat to be automatically removed, you need to purchase the full version of the anti-malware tool.Find Out More About SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool / How to Uninstall SpyHunter
- Guide 1: How to Remove HighlightSearches from Windows.
- Guide 2: Get rid of HighlightSearches from Mac OS X.
- Guide 3: Remove HighlightSearches from Google Chrome.
- Guide 4: Erase HighlightSearches from Mozilla Firefox.
- Guide 5: Uninstall HighlightSearches from Microsoft Edge.
- Guide 6: Remove HighlightSearches from Safari.
- Guide 7: Eliminate HighlightSearches from Internet Explorer.
How to Remove HighlightSearches from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove HighlightSearches
Step 2: Uninstall HighlightSearches and related software from Windows
Step 3: Clean any registries, created by HighlightSearches 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 HighlightSearches there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Get rid of HighlightSearches from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall HighlightSearches 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.
- 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 HighlightSearches via Step 1 above:
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 malware from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts, programs and malware, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. Combo Cleaner offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
Remove HighlightSearches 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 HighlightSearches 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 HighlightSearches 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 HighlightSearches 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 HighlightSearches will be removed.
Eliminate HighlightSearches 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.