THREAT REMOVAL

Search Incognito Redirect Removal

stf-searchincognito-com-search-incognito-browser-hijacker-redirect-main-website-page

Search Incognito is the name of a search engine that supposedly will not track your searches, nor invade your privacy. That is not true as the engine has browser hijacking capabilities and will put its main page SearchIncognito.com as your default start page. On top of that, your new tab window and current search engine will also redirect you to the hijacker’s page. Doing a search will land you on the hijacker’s search results and your search will be filtered by unknown servers. To remove the browser hijacker and its related files, you should read the full article.

Threat Summary

NameSearch Incognito
TypeBrowser Hijacker, PUP
Short DescriptionBrowser applications on your computer can be affected. The hijacker can redirect you and will show you ads.
SymptomsThe homepage, search engine and new tab of your browsers will be replaced. You will be redirected from the search results, from search bars or from the new tab.
Distribution MethodFreeware Installations, Bundled Packages
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

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User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss Search Incognito.

SearchIncognito.com – Spread

The SearchIncognito.com redirect could be spreading itself in many ways. One of them is through third-party installations of freeware and bundled applications. Normally, applications such as these are some download clients, media players and converting software. The installation setups could add additive features on your computer system, by default. With you not knowing that, nothing will stop the program to install a feature like that, which will lead to the hijacker altering your browsers’ settings. Avoiding undesirable components from being installed on your computer device is manageable if you find a Custom or an Advanced options menu.

Various other ways for spreading the SearchIncognito.com redirect. Some of them might involve a browser add-on, extension or even a plug-in, placed in your browser software. Banners, pop-ups, as well as pop-unders and other ad types, hosted on sites can be used as another spread method. This hijacker might use redirect links for distributing itself and could be putting them around similar websites. These websites might be partnered or affiliated with the hijacker in question. The following browsers could be affected: Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and Mozilla Firefox.

SearchIncognito.com – Analysis

Search Incognito is a fake search engine which has an official website that bears the same name – SearchIncognito.com. The platform has browser hijacking capabilities and it uses them to push it website and replace your browser settings with it. Those settings are the default search engine, start page, and new tab window. On top of that, it will redirect you to other sites as well and might replace more settings in your browser programs.

You can see the official page described above, right here on the snapshot:

stf-searchincognito-com-search-incognito-browser-hijacker-redirect-main-website-page

The SearchIncognito.com page is simply made and does not offer much. The page is made of a blank, white background, a logo of a ninja, a search bar a few links in the footer of the page. The links redirect to the Privacy Policy, Terms and Conditions and related contact information. Beneath the search bar, there is a button that leads to the setup of a browser extension for the current browser you are viewing the page with, although it’s only for the most popular browsers.

In the image shown under this paragraph, you can see two examples of pages showing search results of SearchIncognito.com. The hijacker platform promotes itself as being a viable and better substitution for the most famous search engines. The reason that is given to support this claim is that the hijacker does not track you, does not gather information about you and does not push targeted content in the form of advertisements. The facts speak the contrary, and this platform can collect everything you input into its search bar.

When the hijacker’s search engine does not work, you will see a similar result as the one depicted below:

stf-searchincognito-com-search-incognito-browser-hijacker-redirect-edward-snowden-search-results

That happens often and probably more than half of the times a person tries to search something. The most contradictory thing here is that even though the hijacker goes out of its way to make you believe that it does not track you and is different than the most popular search engines, it provides links to them on the right of the page when it fails to do a simple search.

And this is the outcome if the search is repeated:

stf-searchincognito-com-search-incognito-browser-hijacker-redirect-alicia-keys-search-results

You will witness so many advertisements that they will cover almost the entire page. You could even get redirected to other browser hijackers. Each search query you make will get filtered by the SearchIncognito.com redirect. That means that some information is going to be collected and stored on its servers, including other queries made from the search bar, clicks on links and advertisements, etc. Be careful if you used that fake search engine before and think about removing it.

The duplicity seen above proves that this hijacker is absolutely dishonest. Refrain from giving it any information like account credentials or banking details. The redirect links, which are in the form of in-text ads could be displayed all over search pages. Browser cookies and other tracking technologies are used for the gathering of information. Read further to see everything related to the intrusion of your Privacy regarding the SearchIncognito.com website.

SearchIncognito.com – Privacy Policy

The Privacy Policy of the SearchIncognito.com website can be found at the address: https://www.searchincognito.com/legal/siteprivacy. The policy is rather short but both ambiguous and suspicious. You can have a look at the Policy from here:

stf-searchincognito-com-search-incognito-browser-hijacker-redirect-privacy-policy

The policy makes statements which are contradictory by themselves from seeing what this browser hijacker does. For instance, take a look at this excerpt from the policy:

The most popular search engines create search profiles of specific users in order to retarget ads based on those search queries…

The above statement is only provided to boost the reputation of SearchIncognito.com of being different than other search engines. The funny thing is that in actuality, the browser hijacker is different, but not in a good way. Despite the fact that your browsers will be hijacked, there is a multitude of advertisements being pushed by SearchIncognito.com. To make it worse, the ads come in bulk and can fill up the whole page with search results, when it works. The ads are both targeted and irrelevant, as some may even lead you to the result pages of other browser hijackers.

Many more inconsistencies exist, and the most obvious one is that the hijacker says that it does not use tracking tools, but is evident it uses cookies. Browser cookies are one of the most common tracking tools used by websites, and they can provide their owners with both personal and technical information. In this case, it is only assumed that personally identifying information is collected by the cookies. The basis of this assumption is presented in the following screenshot:

stf-searchincognito-com-search-incognito-redirect-browser-cookies

Notice how the expiration date of one of the cookies is set for a whole year. Even if you stop using their service, that cookie will stay on your computer if you do not delete it. That is highly suspicious, and the only logical explanation is that the hijacker has sent its cookies to spy on you and your interactions with its site as well as others online.

Note that this is a platform that lies to you, gathers information from you and it definitely can have access to your IP address and geographical location, which is considered as personally identifiable information. Thus, do not trust it in any way and be careful with what you input on the SearchIncognito.com site if you decide to keep using it, despite the revelations which are described above.

Remove SearchIncognito.com Fully

To remove SearchIncognito.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 redirect and 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.

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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 Search Incognito from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove Search Incognito

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 Search Incognito 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 Search Incognito 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 Search Incognito 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 Search Incognito 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 Search Incognito from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall Search Incognito 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 Search Incognito:

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 Search Incognito. 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 Search Incognito. 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 Search Incognito 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 Search Incognito. 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 Search Incognito 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 Search Incognito 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 Search Incognito 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 Search Incognito 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 Search Incognito 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 Search Incognito 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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