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.
|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|
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|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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
The above policy states that the following information is collected:
For unregistered users:
- Your operating system (OS) type
- Browser type
- 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
- 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.
What Is Start-pagesearch(.)com?
The Start-pagesearch(.)com threat is adware or browser redirect virus.
It may slow your computer down significantly and display advertisements. The main idea is for your information to likely get stolen or more ads to appear on your device.
The creators of such unwanted apps work with pay-per-click schemes to get your computer to visit risky or different types of websites that may generate them funds. This is why they do not even care what types of websites show up on the ads. This makes their unwanted software indirectly risky for your OS.
What Are the Symptoms of Start-pagesearch(.)com?
There are several symptoms to look for when this particular threat and also unwanted apps in general are active:
Symptom #1: Your computer may become slow and have poor performance in general.
Symptom #2: You have toolbars, add-ons or extensions on your web browsers that you don't remember adding.
Symptom #3: You see all types of ads, like ad-supported search results, pop-ups and redirects to randomly appear.
Symptom #4: You see installed apps on your Mac running automatically and you do not remember installing them.
Symptom #5: You see suspicious processes running in your Task Manager.
If you see one or more of those symptoms, then security experts recommend that you check your computer for viruses.
What Types of Unwanted Programs Are There?
According to most malware researchers and cyber-security experts, the threats that can currently affect your Mac can be the following types:
- Rogue Antivirus programs.
- Browser hijackers.
- Fake optimizers.
What to Do If I Have a "virus" like Start-pagesearch(.)com?
With few simple actions. First and foremost, it is imperative that you follow these steps:
Step 1: Find a safe computer and connect it to another network, not the one that your Mac was infected in.
Step 2: Change all of your passwords, starting from your email passwords.
Step 3: Enable two-factor authentication for protection of your important accounts.
Step 4: Call your bank to change your credit card details (secret code, etc.) if you have saved your credit card for online shopping or have done online activities with your card.
Step 5: Make sure to call your ISP (Internet provider or carrier) and ask them to change your IP address.
Step 6: Change your Wi-Fi password.
Step 7: (Optional): Make sure to scan all of the devices connected to your network for viruses and repeat these steps for them if they are affected.
Step 8: Install anti-malware software with real-time protection on every device you have.
Step 9: Try not to download software from sites you know nothing about and stay away from low-reputation websites in general.
If you follow these recommendations, your network and all devices will become significantly more secure against any threats or information invasive software and be virus free and protected in the future too.
How Does Start-pagesearch(.)com Work?
Once installed, Start-pagesearch(.)com can collect data about your web browsing habits, such as the websites you visit and the search terms you use. This data is then used to target you with ads or to sell your information to third parties.
Start-pagesearch(.)com can also download other malicious software onto your computer, such as viruses and spyware, which can be used to steal your personal information and show risky ads, that may redirect to virus sites or scams.
Is Start-pagesearch(.)com Malware?
The truth is that PUPs (adware, browser hijackers) are not viruses, but may be just as dangerous since they may show you and redirect you to malware websites and scam pages.
Many security experts classify potentially unwanted programs as malware. This is because of the unwanted effects that PUPs can cause, such as displaying intrusive ads and collecting user data without the user’s knowledge or consent.
About the Start-pagesearch(.)com Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this Start-pagesearch(.)com how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific, adware-related problem, and restore your browser and computer system.
How did we conduct the research on Start-pagesearch(.)com?
Please note that our research is based on independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, thanks to which we receive daily updates on the latest malware, adware, and browser hijacker definitions.
Furthermore, the research behind the Start-pagesearch(.)com threat is backed with VirusTotal.
To better understand this online threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.