In this article we are going to try and help you remove Safesurf. Our instructions cover all Windows versions as well as most browsers – Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer etc.
Are you being swarmed by ads from all over your screen? Are you petrified by the possibility of a malicious virus harming your system? Have you noticed a suspicious piece of software named Safesurf roaming around your PC? If so, you’ve come to the right place. In this brief article we will cover the topic of browser hijacker and what it means for you, what Safesurf does and does not do and other minor tidbits. The first section of this article will explain the basics of what you’re dealing with. It will span a few paragraphs and we will go over the usual symptoms associated with Safesurf and browser hijacker as well as some background information. The second half of the article is the guide, which will help you manually remove your problem, as long as you follow it step by step. You also have the option of using our recommended removal tool to solve your issues with minimal effort. With that out of the way, let us begin!
In the earlier days, software developers often wrote programs referred to as freeware. They carried no cost to the end-user and were simply created out of the desire to code or for self-improvement. However, they would not reject a little bit of compensation for their efforts either. For this exact reason, browser hijacker was created to cover the cost of development by using paid ads. Those ads usually carried the CPI or CPM model of reimbursement. Each time a user clicked on an ad (or otherwise known as interaction), the company behind the ad paid the developer a certain sum of money. Sometimes, they don’t get paid for every user, but rather for each thousand clicks (CPM). Everything went well until certain people found holes in the concept and decided to maliciously abuse it for their own gain. They realized that a program can be rigged to spam ads at the end-user and in turn force them to eventually attempt to figure out what was going on. After each click, these black hat hackers grew more and more interested in exploiting this idea. This brings us the issue of the day – Safesurf.
What does Safesurf “Virus”do? Can it harm my machine?
First of all Safesurf “Virus” should not be counted as a virus in the first place. In the most basic sense, Safesurf simply uses anything available to it to flood you with as many ads as it can. It can shape them in various forms and sizes and distributes them in several ways. Before going into how exactly it serves the ads, we will put the following popular rumor to rest. Safesurf or browser hijacker in general does not resemble viruses like you’re used to knowing them. The main distinguishing features of a virus are the goal to reproduce inside your system and take over as much of it as possible (much like a biological virus). It also usually carries secondary goals, such as information gathering (also known as spying), computer resource acquisition (hard disk space or CPU time), corrupting data, extorting money (like ransomware) and so on. Safesurf in comparison, also installs itself without your knowing consent, but does not reproduce and does not hide itself as much. It cannot harm your system in any way and does not leave long-lasting damage after its removal. Once it is gone, you won’t even notice that it was ever on your PC in the first place.
The way it distributes is very similar to the way the freeware was shared. Certain channels and websites were established to host these programs. The browser hijacker developers found the potential in them and decided to abuse them. As such, browser hijacker is often found as optional software hidden in installers. It’s often masked in the advanced options – a place most people avoid due to them believing they aren’t ‘advanced’ in the first place. Regardless of the fact, everyone should take a look at the advanced options of any installer, because it can help you stop Safesurf dead in its tracks. Sometimes, browser hijacker is advertised as standalone programs, but their promoted usefulness is questionable at best.
As for the common symptoms, take a look at the bullet points below:
- These objects usually reside inside the page of your browser window, stationed at the sides of the main content area of the site you are currently viewing. They aren’t as obstructive as the others, but compensate with their size and numbers.
- In-text ads. These ads are hidden inside the text of the page and masked as hyperlinks. Clicking on them leads to unknown places, possibly dangerous – so do not do it! They also sometimes display a small window above the link the moment you hover your mouse over it.
- Pop-up ads. Last but certainly not least, these pesky buggers fill your entire window with a single, large ad, capable of obstructing everything and leaving you with nothing to work on. They are certainly the most annoying of the bunch.
And with that comes our conclusion. This more or less covers the basics of what you’re dealing with and we hope you found it useful and/or educational. As always, leave a comment if you’re having any issues and do make sure to try our removal guide to deal with the problem.
Many types of malware will restrict your access to their core files. It is highly recommended that you reboot your PC in safe mode before attempting to use this guide.
- To enable Safe Mode reboot you PC, then hit F8 repeatedly. When the corresponding menu opens please select Safe Mode with Networking.
WARNING! If you are using Windows 8,0 or later and/or your operating system is installed on a fast SSD drive this may fail to work. In this case click here to see how to start your PC in Safe Mode.
#1: Uninstall the malicious program from your control panel
Enter control panel to look for any suspicious programs, which may have installed on your PC. To do that:
- Navigate to your Desktop
- Press simultaneously the Win button together with the R button (Win+R)
- In the Run window that just opened type appwiz.cpl
- Go through the list of programs and find Safesurf or anything else that may seem suspicious. Right-click on it and choose the uninstallation option
WARNING! Carefully read any confirmation messages that may be created in the process. Sometimes you may get offers to download more browser hijacker applications and this can be linked to either the Yes or the No answer depending on the wording!
Go through the list of programs again and check online for any potentially unwanted programs. We have an article that covers this awesome free software that makes sure that your computer is free from bloatware and programs that you don’t need.
#2: Remove Safesurf From Chrome
Now we’ll remove the extensions that the malware has attached to your browser.
- Open your Google Chrome browser.
- Type chrome://extensions/ in the URL address bar and press Enter.
- Click on “Developer Mode” on the top right and look for the extension installed by Safesurf and anything that might be related to it. Copy their IDs (the string of letters), then remove them by clicking on the trash bin icon.
- Type Regedit in the Windows Start Menu and press Enter. Go in : HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Google\Chrome\Extensions and delete the entries corresponding to the suspicious IDs you recorded.
#3: Remove Safesurf From Firefox
- Open Mozilla Firefox browser.
- Type “about:support” in the URL address bar and press Enter.
- Click on the “Refresh Firefox” button on the right and confirm.
#4 Remove Safesurf From Internet Explorer
- Open your Internet Explorer internet browser.
- Click on the Gear icon on the up right, then on manage add-ons.
- Go through the list disable any suspicious extensions.
#5 Remove any leftover parasitic processes
From the task manager:
- Use Ctrl + Shift + Esc and open the Task manager, then click on the Processes
- Go through the list of processes and look for unknown or otherwise suspicious entries.
- If you see anything suspicious right click on the process and shoes Open File Location, then terminate the process and delete any files you find in the directory.
WARNING! If the directory you open from this menu has no files inside of it it’s probably because the malware has hidden them. You need to reveal hidden files and folders in order to be able to see them. Click here if you don’t know how to do that.
From the start menu:
- Press simultaneously the Win button together with the R button (Win+R)
- In the Run window that just opened type msconfig
- Click on the Startup tab.
This menu controls which programs are loaded when windows starts after a reboot. Disable anything that seems suspicious. Optionally you can also disable any program that you don’t need and also has a high impact on your startup time.
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