THREAT REMOVAL

Privacy Switch Redirect – How to Remove It

how to remove Privacy Switch redirect stf

This article is created in help of all users who want to remove Privacy Switch redirect from affected browsers and PC.

Privacy Switch redirect affects commonly used browsers to provide its deceptive search engine. It sets the domain safeservesearch.com to appear on the homepage and new tab page on all affected browsers. Afterward, it starts to push a lot of annoying advertisements all over the browser which leads to slow browser performance. The redirect can hijack browsers after the installation of a potentially unwanted program on the system. To remove Privacy Switch as well as all files associated with the infection just follow the detailed guide below.

Threat Summary

Name Privacy Switch
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 The homepage, new tab and search engine of affected browsers will be switched to Safeservesearch.com. You will be redirected and could see sponsored content.
Distribution Method Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

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User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss Privacy Switch.

Privacy Switch – Distribution

Privacy Switch is considered to be a potentially unwanted program (PUP) mainly because of the shady ways used for its distribution. In general Privacy Switch hijacks the browser after the installation of freeware programs. The redirect infection may be part of the installers of third-party apps. Thus, it can be set for installation by default. To prevent all undesired additional components from sneaking into the system you should select the “Advanced” or “Custom” options where you can reject their installation.

Privacy Switch could also be delivered via advertisements, such as banners, pop-ups, pop-unders, and redirect links that land you on suspicious websites. These websites might also be partners or affiliates of the Privacy Switch and safeservesearch.com website.

A browser extension of the same name is another spread way option. The extension Privacy Switch can be downloaded from Chrome web store:

privacy switch chrome web store browser extension

However, Privacy Switch redirect can affect other commonly used browsers than Google Chrome like: Mozilla Firefox, Edge, Internet Explorer and Safari.

Privacy Switch – In Detail

Privacy Switch is a dubious search engine of a browser hijacker that is associated with the domain safeservesearch.com. The hijacker is designed to access your browser and then set the safeservesearch.com to appear on the homepage and each new tab you open. Whenever you want to search for something you will be redirected to Privacy Switch search engine as it will be set as a default one. The main page of the redirect can be viewed from the screenshot below:

privacy switch safeservesearch.com hoax search engine stf

As you may have noticed the search engine provided by Privacy Switch is not a real one as it just redirects to the results of reputable search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. However, have in mind that Privacy Switch hijacker keeps a record of every search query that you make.

The hijacker can push a lot of advertisements and cause many redirects to various online offers based on the collected data stored on its servers. All these spammy advertisements can lead to slow browser performance and at worst cause severe malware infections.

Another adverse effect that may occur due to an infection with Privacy Switch is an installed browser extension of the same name. The hijacker can do this without your knowledge. As a result, the extension receives the permission to:

  • Read and change all your data on the websites you visit
  • Read and change your browsing history
  • Communicate with cooperating websites
  • Change your search settings to: search.myprivacyswitch.com
  • Manage your apps, extensions, and themes
  • It appears that the company owner of Privacy Switch

As it gets clear the same extension is related to another potentially unwanted program named MyPrivacySwitch.com reported by our team before a year ago.

Privacy Switch – Privacy Policy

The Privacy Policy of the Privacy Switch is located on the homepage of its associated domain address safeservesearch.com. There you can learn some details about the information obtained by this website. The policy page looks like this:

stf-privacy-switch-browser-hijacker-redirect-privacy-policy

Below, you can see what kind of information could be acquired from you when you are using the services of Privacy Switch:

  • Search terms that you enter into the search box
  • Browser version
  • Browser type
  • Operating system
  • Operating system type
  • Internet protocol (IP) address

In fact, it looks as if your searches are far from private as long as you are using Privacy Switch. Thus, you should be careful what information you input into search engines and websites. If you do not feel comfortable with the collection of all that details, you should remove the browser hijacker completely from the system.

How to Remove Privacy Switch Redirect

The detailed guide below shows how to remove Privacy Switch 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.

Gergana Ivanova

Gergana Ivanova

Gergana has a bachelor's degree in Marketing. She has been with the STF team for five years, researching malware, reporting on the latest computer infections, and following digital marketing trends.

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Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

How to Remove Privacy Switch from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove Privacy Switch

OFFER

Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your PC with SpyHunter

Keep in mind, that SpyHunter’s scanner is only for malware detection. If SpyHunter detects malware on your PC, you will need to purchase SpyHunter's malware removal tool to remove the malware threats. Read our SpyHunter 5 review. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria

1. Hold Windows key() + R


2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.


3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
Tip: Make sure to reverse those changes by unticking Safe Boot after that, because your system will always boot in Safe Boot from now on.


4. When prompted, click on "Restart" to go into Safe Mode.


5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.


Step 2: Uninstall Privacy Switch 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. To do that:


1. Hold the Windows Logo Button and "R" on your keyboard. A Pop-up window will appear.


2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.


3. This will open a window with all the programs installed on the PC. Select the program that you want to remove, and press "Uninstall"
Follow the instructions above and you will successfully uninstall most programs.


Step 3: Clean any registries, created by Privacy Switch on your computer.

The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by Privacy Switch there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.


2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.


3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
Tip: To find a virus-created value, you can right-click on it and click "Modify" to see which file it is set to run. If this is the virus file location, remove the value.

IMPORTANT!
Before starting "Step 4", please boot back into Normal mode, in case you are currently in Safe Mode.
This will enable you to install and use SpyHunter 5 successfully.

Step 4: Scan for Privacy Switch with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

1. Click on the "Download" button to proceed to SpyHunter's download page.


It is recommended to run a scan before purchasing the full version of the software to make sure that the current version of the malware can be detected by SpyHunter. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria.


2. After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.

SpyHunter5-update-2018


3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.

SpyHunter5-Free-Scan-2018


4. After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any files of the associated threat and found them, you can try to get them removed automatically and permanently by clicking on the 'Next' button.

SpyHunter-5-Free-Scan-Next-2018

If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

Get rid of Privacy Switch from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall Privacy Switch and remove related files and objects

OFFER
Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your Mac with SpyHunter for Mac
Keep in mind, that SpyHunter for Mac needs to purchased to remove the malware threats. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter’s EULA and Privacy Policy


1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:


2. Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:


3. In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to Privacy Switch:

Tip: To quit a process completely, choose the “Force Quit” option.


4. Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.


5. In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to Privacy Switch. If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.


6: Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference. Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to Privacy Switch. Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.


7: Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:

  • 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 Privacy Switch 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:

Disclaimer! If you are about to tamper with Library files on Mac, be sure to know the name of the virus file, because if you delete the wrong file, it may cause irreversible damage to your MacOS. Continue on your own responsibility!

1: Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:

2: Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:

3: Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as Privacy Switch. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.

You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:

→ ~/Library/LaunchAgents
/Library/LaunchDaemons

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.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Remove Privacy Switch 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.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Erase Privacy Switch 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.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Uninstall Privacy Switch 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.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Remove Privacy Switch 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".

stf-safari preferences


Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.

stf-safari-extensions


Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.


Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.

stf-safari uninstall

A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the Privacy Switch will be removed.


How to Reset Safari
IMPORTANT: Before resetting Safari make sure you back up all your saved passwords within the browser in case you forget them.

Start Safari and then click on the gear leaver icon.

Click the Reset Safari button and you will reset the browser.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Eliminate Privacy Switch 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.


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