Top Search is a browser hijacker that changes your default search provider with its own page – search.tops-searchs.com. In this case, the browser hijacker is redirecting users to the search.tops-searchs.com search engine. This behavior is illustrative for browser-hijacking programs in the wild.
In terms of distribution, Top Search may have been added to your browser as a result of a bundled installation. This happens when you download a freeware program from the internet, which may have been bundled with a PUP or a browser hijacker, just like Top Search. Note that software bundling is used by both suspicious and legitimate entities to monetize their products. Even though bundled installers are mostly a nuisance and not a real computer virus, the ads generated by the bundled PUA could lead you to various suspicious pages. In other words, the longer you keep Top Search on your system, the more susceptible you become to scams and more PUPs.
Note that potentially unwanted programs and hijackers generally fail to provide any functionality at all, and instead only flood you with ads. Moreover, they may also collect information about your browser and browsing habits which can later be used in targeted advertising campaigns. Because of this, the removal of Top Search is highly advisable.
Due to its unexpected appearance and overall behavior, Top Search is classified as a potentially unwanted application (PUA) and browser hijacker, set to change the settings of your default browser without your knowledge or permission. The browser hijacker itself could be advertised as an app that improves the browsing experience by blocking ads. In truth, the hijacker may collect information about your browsing and could share it with third-party advertisers. This is done for monetization purposes.
As a result of having the rogue extension installed on your machine, it is possible that you start experiencing intrusive pop-up ads, which are often entirely unrelated to your browsing. These ads could contain information about other questionable applications such as system optimizers, virus alerts and detected system issues, or push notifications. Keep in mind that your searches could also be redirected to unwanted and suspicious pages.
Information that Top Search may collect about your browsing includes the following:
Visited URLs and websites;
Browser’s home page;
Search queries on the visited web pages;
Type of used browser;
Operating system type;
Internet protocol (IP) address;
The domain name of current Internet service provider (ISP);
Diagnostic information which describes how their Services are operating on the system.
NOTE. To avoid the installation of unwanted programs, you should play close attention during the installation of freeware apps. Freeware you recently downloaded from software download pages could have been bundled with this unwanted extension. Third-party developers may support shady practices for monetization purposes, and may offer you to change your homepage or search provider. You can decline any of these additional offers only if you are careful enough to spot them during installation. In other words, paying attention to the installation setups of freeware could spare you from having to deal with this browser hijacker.
Is Top Search a Computer Virus?
Browser hijackers and potentially unwanted apps are not classified as computer viruses, but they could be considered a form of malware, depending on the result of their installation. However, they are known to take users to suspicious pages. If you interact with any of the content Top Search provides, like clicking an ad or subscribing to push notifications, you can unknowingly install a potentially unwanted app or browser hijacker. If your homepage and new tab page are changed without your consent, you may have a browser hijacker “attached” to your browser.
How to Remove Top Search
To get rid of Top Search along with any associated files, you should complete several removal steps. If you want to make sure that no undesired and potentially harmful files are running on your system, we recommend that you follow the guide to the end. Keep in mind that some of the installed files may be named in a way not related to the PUPs’a name, so that they can be hard to find, and therefore hard to remove.
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How to Remove Top Search from Windows.
Step 1: Scan for Top Search with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool
1.1 Click on the "Download" button to proceed to SpyHunter's download page.
1.2 After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.
1.3 After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.
1.4 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.
If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.
Step 2: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode
2.1 Hold Windows key + R
2.2 The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.
2.3 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.
2.4 When prompted, click on "Restart" to go into Safe Mode.
2.5 You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.
Step 3: Uninstall Top 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.
3.1 Hold the Windows Logo Button and "R" on your keyboard. A Pop-up window will appear.
3.2 In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.
3.3 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 4: Clean Any registries, Created by Top Search on Your PC.
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 Top Search there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
4.1 Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.
4.2 When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.
4.3 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.
Video Removal Guide for Top Search (Windows).
Get rid of Top Search from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall Top Search and remove related files and objects
1.1 Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
1.2 Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:
1.3 In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to Top Search:
Tip: To quit a process completely, choose the “Force Quit” option.
1.4 Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.
1.5 In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to Top Search. If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.
1.6 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 Top Search. Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.
1.7 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 Top 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:
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 Top Search. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.
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 Top Search files from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as Top 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.
Click the button below below to download SpyHunter for Mac and scan for Top Search:
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 Top 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 Top 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 Top 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 Top Search 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.
Eliminate Top 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 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".
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 Top Search?
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.
What to Do If I Have a "virus" like Top Search?
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 Top Search Work?
Once installed, Top Search 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.
Top Search 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 Top Search 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 Top Search Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this Top Search 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 Top Search?
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 Top Search threat is backed with VirusTotal.
To better understand this online threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.