Browser hijackers have gained momentum over the years due to channels of income that they present to dubious developers. Apart from opening doors for malware in the affected system, browser hijackers also generate revenue through pay-per-click affiliate marketing. Unfortunately, only malicious programs use browser hijackers as a means of distribution. Therefore, there is no good that can come out of being infected by a browser hijacker. This is the reason why you should act swiftly and remove HDMovieSearch if it’s in your system.
What Is HDMovieSearch?
HDMovieSearch is a browser hijacker that promotes a fake search engine that promise to improve one’s browsing experience. However, the search engine is fake, and just like any other common browser hijackers, search queries get redirected to irrelevant sponsored ads. Moreover, when the HDMovieSearch browser hijacker infects the system, it configures the browser without the user’s knowledge or consent. This makes it difficult for an average user to access the browser settings, locking the victim out.
What Does HDMovieSearch Do?
HDMovieSearch does a lot to your system than just taking over your favorite browser. It also exposes the system and the user to serious virus threats. It makes your online browsing sessions unsafe due to trackers and cookies that it is capable of planting.
With your activities being monitored, your personal information can be recorded and stolen and then sold to dubious third parties. This, in the long run, can lead to identity theft as well as heavy financial losses.
The HDMovieSearch browser hijacker can change the default browser search engine address and the home page to hdmoviesearch.com. This means whenever the user opens a browser, a new tab, or performs a search query, the hdmoviesearch.com opens up. But again, hdmoviesearch.com is useless as a search engine. It doesn’t have the feature nor functionality of a search engine. It can only redirect victims to search.yahoo.com and showcase results spawn by Yahoo.
As already indicated, removing an address that is promoted by a browser hijacker without uninstalling the app is impossible. The app runs its roots deep into the system, tampering with important system files and the Registry to prevent the user from accessing the browser settings.
Here are some of the things that this browser hijacker can do to your system:
- Collects search queries and share them with various third parties for target marketing
- Records and share visited sites
- Capture your geolocations and IP addresses
- Goes to an extent of reading sensitive data, causing serious online privacy and safety issues
Most of the browser hijackers are advertised as useful programs, but they are only as good as balloons full of air. Sticking to the common, tried and tested browser is the best way to avoid online privacy issues. If you are to consider the methods used to distribute such programs, surely it becomes clear why the removal of HDMovieSearch is a pressing issue.
How Did the HDMovieSearch Browser Hijacker Get on Your System?
It’s very rare for users to willingly install browser hijackers. In most cases, the victims are not even aware of its existence until they start to see intrusive ads accompanied by endless redirects. However, by the time they realize, the damage has already been done.
HDMovieSearch is commonly distributed through unofficial software distribution sites using software bundling techniques.
This method allows perpetrators to load malicious setup files on legitimately looking software.
For instance, a supposedly PC optimization tool will be laced with the HDMovieSearch browser hijacker. The extra loaded malicious apps will then be set to install automatically when the user selects the Recommended or Express installation process. However, this can be avoided by simply selecting the Custom or Advanced installation process which will give you control over what gets installed.
Other distribution methods include the use of deceptive ads designed to execute particular scripts when clicked upon. The ad may feature a huge X, prompting the user to think that it’s for closing the ad. However, once clicked, the malware installation will be triggered.
The good news is that it’s possible to avoid potentially unwanted programs such as HDMovieSearch. The first step is to use official sites when downloading installation files. Utilities such as peer-to-peer channels, unverified third-party downloaders, as well as torrent clients should also be avoided. Moreover, you must check if the download has completed without performing any additional downloads. Advertisements that are shown on sites related to gambling, porn, dating, and other dubious platforms should not be clicked upon nor trusted.
How to Get Rid of HDMovieSearch?
Now that we have established the dangers of the HDMovieSearch browser hijacker, it’s time to get rid of it. There are several steps that you will need to go through to permanently get rid of this malicious program. But before attempting to change anything from the browser, you must first remove the malicious app from the computer. Here is a guide on how to remove the HDMovieSearch browser hijacker on your system:
Solution #1: Remove the HDMovieSearch App from the Computer
To remove the HDMovieSearch program, you must follow the steps below:
- Press the Windows key and type Control Panel before hitting the Enter key.
- Select the Programs and Features option, and then go through the list of installed programs. Identify the ones that look suspicious, have recently been installed without your knowledge, and are related to HDMovieSearch.
- Click to highlight the suspicious program and select the Uninstall button at the top. Repeat the same until you are satisfied that all suspicious programs have been removed.
- Close the Settings window and move on to the next solution.
Solution #2: Remove HDMovieSearch from the Affected Browser
Now that you have removed the root cause that’s blocking access to the browser configurations, you can remove the HDMovieSearch browser hijacker from the browser. Here is how:
- Access your default browser (for instance, Google Chrome) and click on the 3 dots icon to reveal the drop-down menu.
- Select the Settings option, and then click on Privacy and security.
- Now, next to the Search engine used in the address bar under the Search engine category, select Google as your default.
- Then, click on Manage search engines. Remove everything you don’t recognize from the list or anything that you suspect is related to HDMovieSearch.
- When done, select the Extensions options. Identify all suspicious extensions and the ones related to HDMovieSearch. Click on the Remove button to eliminate any dubious extensions.
- Go back to the Settings tab. This time, select Advanced to expand the option.
- Click Reset and clean up before selecting Restore settings to their original defaults. Click on Reset settings to confirm the action.
- When done, close the browser and move on to the next solution.
Solution #3: Perform a Full System Scan Using a Reliable Anti-Malware Security Software
Once you have eliminated the threat from the system and your browser, you can now use professional help to clean up the remaining malware. Install a reliable and recommended anti-malware security software and perform a full system scan. Quarantine or remove all flagged content to clean up your system. When done, keep the software running in the background for real-time protection.
Solution #4: Execute an SFC Scan to Check for Corrupt System Files
When your system is free from malware, you might still experience crashes, lags, and freezing moments. This is due to damaged or corrupt system files caused by the virus. To fix this, you must execute a System File Checker (SFC) scan.
- Launch Administrator: Command Prompt by pressing Windows + R keys. In the text field, type cmd and then hit Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys simultaneously. When prompted by the UAC, click on the Yes button to give administrator privileges.
- Inside the Command Prompt, type sfc /scannow and hit the Enter key.
- Wait for the process to complete, and then restart the computer for changes to take effect.
A clean and tidy computer free from malware has a longer lifespan. It also helps improve productivity and records high-performance levels. You must keep a trusted and reputable security software in your system to prevent malware infiltration. Moreover, update the operating system on time and download files from official sites to decrease your chances of getting infected.