THREAT REMOVAL

How to Remove Search.tools Hijacker

search.tools browser hijacker on an affected chrome web browser sensorstechforum

This article reveals more about the impacts of Search.tools hijacker and guides you through its thorough removal process from affected browser and system.

Search.tools is classified as a browser hijacker that alters main settings of the browsers installed on affected PCs. It usually gains access to target machines by being distributed in software bundles and compromised installers. Once started on the computer its associated files implement several changes that set the main page of the hijacker as homepage, new tab page and default search engine in all targeted browsers. The presence of Search.tools in the browser means that you agree with its data collection practices that are known to affect either personally and non-personally identifiable data.

Threat Summary

Name Search.tools
Type Browser Hijacker, Redirect, PUP
Short Description A website that provides questionable search enigne in order to collect data from afected browsers and display targetted ads.
Symptoms The main page of the hijacker replaces browser homepage, new tab page and default search engine without your knowledge. Browser slowdowns may occur due to increased number of online ads.td>
Distribution Method Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages
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User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss Search.tools.

Search.tools – Spread Techniques

How did Search.tools infect your PC? The first thing that comes to our minds one is software bundle. This is the most common channel used for the distribution of potentially unwanted programs like this hijacker. With the help of free third-party programs, its owners could easily spread the installation code of their suspicious app.

Usually, the installation code of such extra programs is incorporated and concealed into the installers of third-party apps. So you might have unnoticeably installed this annoying program on your computer during the installation process of any recently downloaded desired free app. Such side effect could be is prevented with the options presented in the Advanced or Custom configuration steps. They should inform you about the existence of any additional apps and let you opt out their installation.

Frequently used web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari could be affected by Search.tools hijacker.

Search.tools Hijacker – More About Its Impact

After it is installed on the PC Search.tools hijacker starts to appear during each browsing session. Its files contain code that triggers several modifications of browser settings. They are most likely designed to set the main page of the hijacker as browser homepage, new tab page and default search engine. Once these changes occur you may start to see Search.tools each time you open the affected browser:

search.tools browser hijacker on an affected chrome web browser sensorstechforum

The main function of Search.tools is to provide searching services. What could be seen on its main page are a search field and a logo that resembles a lot the Google’s logo. Its simplistic design is an attempt by its owners to make you believe that its services alike the services of other trustworthy search engines are reliable and secure. However, its sudden and unexpected appearance in your browser is still a fact.

Search.tools aims to lure you into using its deceptive services and leave it on your system mainly because this enables it to spy on your online activities. More information about data collection practices associated with this hijacker is revealed in the next paragraph. Records with data of yours may be used by its owners for their business and advertising purposes. So as long as the undesired Search.tools resides on your system it could be used by them as a convenient advertising channel. As a result, you may become a target of lots of ads based on your interests.

Ads pushed by the hijacker may appear all over the browser in an attempt to leave you no other choice than visiting what they promote. This aggressive technique may be implemented due to the fact that each click on an ad injected by Search.tools generates revenue for its owners. The bad news is that it could display ads that land on compromised web pages set to trigger drive-by download attack each time a user loads them in the browser. So if you want to keep your system protected against malware you should install and activate a professional anti-malware tool on it.

Search.tools – Privacy Policy

This paragraph reveals the main points of Search.tools’s privacy policy. They are related to data collection practices associated with this deceptive website and its services.

According to information presented in the policy once the hijacker is running in your browser it automatically receives your permission to collect all of the following details:

  • Visited URLs and websites
  • Search queries
  • Type of used browser
  • Internet protocol (IP) address
  • Cookie information
  • The domain name of current Internet service provider (ISP)

The company owner that has the same name as the hijacker claims that their products do not collect personally identifiable information by default. However, SearchTools™ could attempt to trick you into providing some sensitive details of yours by presenting phishing web pages, questionnaires, polls, quests or other forms of inquiry.

“SearchTools™ does not automatically collect any personally identifiable information, such as names, e-mail, age, gender, address, telephone numbers, login names and passwords or other self-identifying information (“Personal Information”). SearchTools™ may request that a user provide an e-mail address if such user wishes to be contacted..”

Several cookies dropped on the hard drive by the hijacker allow it to obtain additional information related to your browsing habits, demographic data and Internet usage.

How to Remove Search.tools Browser Hijacker

In order to remove Search.tools hijacker and all associated files from your PC make sure to complete all the steps listed in the removal that follows. It presents both manual and automatic removal instructions that combined will help you to remove this undesired program in full. The automatic approach guarantees maximum efficiency as a scan with an advanced anti-malware tool reveals the exact location of all malicious files and objects created by Search.tools. The results enable you to access and remove all harmful files from the infected PC. Have in mind that files associated with this hijacker may be detected with different names than Search.tools.

In case that you have further questions or need additional help, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact us via email.

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 Search.tools from Windows.


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

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.tools 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.tools 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.tools 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.tools 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.tools from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall Search.tools 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.tools:

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.tools. 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.tools. 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.tools 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.tools. 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.tools 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.tools 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.tools 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.tools 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.tools 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.tools 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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