This is an article dedicated to the removal of Secure Surf “Virus” from your system.
Browser hijackers are arguably the most annoying and irritating type of software you’re likely to come across these days. For one, they usually tend to appear without an invitation and for another – they act as though they’re at home, introducing their own settings and changes that often don’t answer to your preferences.
Such are, for example, the change in homepage and default search engine within your Chrome, Firefox, Edge or other popular browser that they initiate almost immediately after becoming part of your system. As a result of their presence, your browser might soon also start to redirect your various searches to different sponsored web pages, which isn’t something many would welcome with an open heart either. And if that weren’t enough, they also tend to flood your browser with undesired, intrusive popup, banner and other ads. Today we’ll be talking about Secure Surf “Virus” – one of the latest representatives of the browser hijacker software type. The following article will aim to provide with all the most necessary information regarding this program. And at the very end, we will also provide you with a removal guide that will help you effectively locate and remove all the Secure Surf-related files.
What is the purpose of browser hijackers?
Browser hijackers are a kind of home delivery service of the online marketing industry. Instead of waiting for you, the user, to come by and view the respective ads, the program comes to you and brings all the ads along with it. That’s really all there is to this type of software. However, there is much that is dictated by this fact that escapes the naked eye. To explain what we mean, let’s first mention the Pay-Per-Click method, which is a popular remuneration scheme that many browser hijackers like Secure Surf operate on. It sees to it that the hijacker developers profit based on the amount of clicks the ads displayed by the program gain from the average user. As a result, the developers have done everything possible to ensure as many clicks as they can. One thing is the common aggression with which the ads are typically displayed.
But another is the fact that these pieces of software are often programmed to monitor your browsing patterns. They will take special interests in information regarding your recent search requests, the kind of content you share and like on social media, or even simply your browsing history. This data will allow them to determine what type of products or services you will be more likely to show interest in. Once the hijacker has collected enough data to draw its conclusions, it will alter the stream of ads to match your potential preferences. This way the program automatically increases its chances of gaining more clicks from you as an individual and this is done for each separate user, who has this program installed on their machine. The problem, however, is that this is often perceived as a privacy invasion and is part of what has contributed to browser hijackers and other advertising software being dubbed potentially unwanted.
Dangerous or not so much?
Programs like Secure Surf aren’t considered to be inherently dangerous. Even despite what we’ve described above, browser hijackers do not have access to any sensitive or private information of your and will never aim to harm you or your PC. You might come across accusations of these programs being viruses, but they’re just that – accusations. There is no evidence to suggest that hijackers are synonymous to viruses or other malware. However, that’s not to say that you should let your guard down around them. Due to the increasing popularity of viruses like ransomware and Trojans, which often rely on online ads for their distribution, there is a substantial risk of getting infected via the ads you see on a day-to-day basis. These fake ads that have been injected with the malicious scripts are known as malvertisements and can literally be found anywhere. And to make matters worse, one click is often all that’s need to land an infection, and in the case of ransomware – you might not even realize it, until it’s already too late.
That much said, we highly recommend avoiding any kind of interaction with the said ads. It’s far simpler and safer to just remove the program responsible for the numerous intrusive popups and banners that may very well be obstructing your browsing experience anyway. If that’s what you’ve decided to do, just follow the instructions in the removal guide below.
Secure Surf “Virus” Removal
Before you begin completing the steps from the following guide, we advise you to place a bookmark on this page or have it opened on a separate device since some of the following steps will require you to close your browser.
Enter Safe Mode. If you don’t know how to do it, use this guide.
Open the Task Manger by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc. Go to the processes/details Tab and take a look at the resulting list. If you see a process with the name of the unwanted program or looks shady, right-click on it and select Open File Location. If you believe it is part of the infection, delete the files.
Use the Winkey+R key combination to open the Run window and in the search field type appwiz.cpl. Hit Enter and in the resulting list, look for recently installed programs that look potentially unwanted. If you find anything – uninstall it.
Re-open Run and this tie type msconfig. Hit Enter again and in the resulting window, go to the Startup tab. See if there are any shady programs there and if anything looks suspicious uncheck it and then select OK.
In the Start Menu search field, copy-paste the following line: notepad %windir%/system32/Drivers/etc/hosts . Open the first result and look at the bottom of the file where it says “Localhost”. If there are any IP addresses below that, tell us what they are in the comments since they might be coming from the unwanted software.
Type Network Connections in the Windows search field and click on the first result. Right-click on the adapter that you are using at the moment and go to Properties > Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP) > Properties.
If the DNS line is not set to Obtain DNS server automatically, make sure to check that option.
Now go to Advanced > DNS tab and remove everything in DNS server addresses, in order of use.
Right-click on your browser’s icon and select Properties. Delete everything in Target that is after .exe”.
For Chrome users
Close Chrome and go to this folder: C:/Users/*Your username*/AppData/Local/Google/Chrome/User Data. Change the name of the Default folder to Backup Default. Re-open Chrome.
For Firefox users
Open Firefox and click on the Main Menu > Add-ons > Extensions. If you see anything suspicious there, remove it.
For IE users
When you open the browser, go to Tools > Manage Ad-ons and remove the unwanted software if you see it there. Next, go to Tools > Internet options and change the homepage URL to whatever you are normally using.
Open Run (Winkey+R), type Regedit and click on OK. Next, press Ctrl+F and type the malware name. Hit Enter and delete everything that gets found.
If there are no results from the search, manually visit those folders in the Registry Editor.
- HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Internet Explorer/Main
If you find there any suspicious keys that have names with a lot of random letters and numbers, delete them or if you are not sure, tell us in the comments what you saw.