THREAT REMOVAL

STF-similarsites-com-similar-sites-youtube-search-ads-sponsored-content

SimilarSites(.)com is the search page of a browser hijacker. The hijacker acts as a useful site to show you websites similar to the ones you search. Instead, it shows targeted ads and sponsored content and sites, which are not similar to your searches. SimilarSites(.)com can change the homepage, new tab, and the search engine your browsers. A browser extension exists that can be added to browsers, too. To remove the hijacker and its components, you should read the article to the end.

Threat Summary

NameSimilarSites(.)com
TypeBrowser Hijacker, PUP
Short DescriptionBrowser software on your computer could be affected. The hijacker can redirect you and show you advertisements.
SymptomsBrowser settings which can be changed are the homepage, search engine and new tab. An extension could be set as well. You could see sponsored content.
Distribution MethodFreeware Installations, Bundled Packages
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

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Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss SimilarSites(.)com.

SimilarSites(.)com – Ways of Distribution

SimilarSites(.)com has a few ways in which it distributes. Third-party install setups are one of the primary ways that the unwanted program uses for distribution. Bundled programs and freeware can put the hijacker inside your computer. The freeware installers could have more components set to be installed, by default. Lots of settings could already be altered before you become aware of them and the hijacker’s existence. To prevent installations of unwanted software like that, can be achieved if you find Custom or Advanced settings, so to deselect components.

STF-similarsites-com-similar-sites-add-on-extension-chrome-pop-up-ads

SimilarSites(.)com might use other ways of distribution to appear in your browser applications. One of the ways is with the help of a browser extension shown in the picture above. Here, it’s in the form of a pop-up ad, but it might be in Google’s Chrome Web store. Another way is through adverts, such as banners and pop-ups. The hijacker could be spread with redirects and targeted content hosted on suspicious sites. Such websites could be affiliated somehow with SimilarSites(.)com. The following browsers could be affected: Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and Mozilla Firefox.

SimilarSites(.)com – In Detail

SimilarSites(.)com is the main page for a browser hijacker. You can view how the web page looks like in the picture shown right here:

STF-similarsites-com-similar-sites-main-site-page

The SimilarSites(.)com main website page consists of a search bar to search for supposedly related sites. Also, it is filled with numerous links to other sites and possible advertising content. The extension related to the website can replace the search engine, new tab, and home page of your browsers and show different data on pages you visit. The said browser extension does the following:

  • Read and change all your data on the websites you visit

You can see below, in the screenshot, how the search results page of SimilarSites(.)com looks. You will see advertisements and targeted content and websites which are not exactly similar to the ones you seek. Probably the algorithm is strange and not updated, and that’s why the sites are not so similar in actuality.

STF-similarsites-com-similar-sites-youtube-search-ads-sponsored-content

After you click on a website suggested by SimilarSites(.)com the URL might be modified and show the hijacker’s name in it. That is because the unwanted software collects various types of information from its users. Cookies and other tracking technologies are used as well for further data gathering. Be careful with the information you input in searches and on what you click, because it might be disclosed to third parties. Continue to read, and find out what data can be acquired from you by SimilarSites(.)com.

SimilarSites(.)com – Privacy Policy

The Privacy Policy of the SimilarSites(.)com can be found on the site of the same name. There you can find details about what kind of information is collected, in what ways and to whom it may be disclosed. If you read the policy, you will find out that both personally and non-personally identifying information is obtained.

You can see the Privacy Policy in the image below:

STF-similarsites-com-similar-sites-privacy-policy

Read the excerpt that follows quoting the Policy, about third-party advertising to gain a better idea about it:

We may use third-party advertising companies in order to serve advertisements on our Website. Such parties may use cookies and/or other technologies placed on users’ computer in order to adjust the advertisements presented on to them on a certain third parties’ website.

Referring to the policy, the following information can be collected:

  • Personal information you yourself submit
    (when you commence communications with the developers)
  • Advertisements viewed
  • Pages browsed
  • Search inquiries
  • Offers and services that interest you
  • The type of browser you are using
  • Your IP address
  • The URL you have come from
  • Time spent at that URL
  • Information from cookies
  • Your domain type and server

According to the Policy, by using any software or services connected to SimilarSites(.)com you automatically grant your consent for the collection of information from you and your PC. Cookies, web beacons, pixels and other technologies are used in the data collection process as well. All of your personal information may be shared with subsidiaries or joint ventures of the owners of this hijacker and in the case that it is required by a court order.

Remove SimilarSites(.)com Completely from Your PC

To remove SimilarSites(.)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 effectively, you should search for and remove any leftovers with an advanced anti-malware tool. Such a program can keep your computer secure in the future.

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Berta Bilbao

Berta is a dedicated malware researcher, dreaming for a more secure cyber space. Her fascination with IT security began a few years ago when a malware locked her out of her own computer.

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

How to Remove SimilarSites(.)com from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove SimilarSites(.)com

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 SimilarSites(.)com 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 SimilarSites(.)com 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 SimilarSites(.)com 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 SimilarSites(.)com 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 SimilarSites(.)com from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall SimilarSites(.)com 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 SimilarSites(.)com:

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 SimilarSites(.)com. 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 SimilarSites(.)com. 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 SimilarSites(.)com 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 SimilarSites(.)com. 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 SimilarSites(.)com 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 SimilarSites(.)com 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 SimilarSites(.)com 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 SimilarSites(.)com 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 SimilarSites(.)com 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 SimilarSites(.)com 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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