Google Redirect Virus Removal
Have you ever noticed your web browser redirect to what looks like Google’s home page? If so you might have the Google redirect virus. This article will tell you how to recognize it and remove it.
What is the Google redirect virus?
The first thing you need to know is that there is no single “Google redirect virus”. It’s a term that includes many types of malware and viruses that redirect your web browser to Google.com, or something that looks like Google. If you’ve ever gone online and found that your browser mysteriously changes to a Google search page, or the default search engine in your browser’s search bar has changed, then you’re likely the target of the Google redirect virus.
Why would someone create a virus like this, you ask? The short answer: to make money. Unfortunately, the people who create this software do it because they want to make money via Google search, or another search engine. You know those ads that appear every time you conduct a Google search? Yep, those searches generate revenue for Google. And for those who create the software and hijack your browser.
Keep in mind, legitimate websites can use Google Custom Search to enhance searching on their own website, and to bring in a little extra cash. So if you search a site and see Google ads in your results, they are probably using Google Custom Search, not a redirect virus. Other browsers such as Firefox also use similar things to generate revenue.
Basically, Google redirect malware uses this function to direct your browser to a custom search page, which generates small amounts a money every time you use that page and ads are shown. These very annoying search toolbars and pages, like Babylon and Delta go an extra step and build legitimate search engine functionality into their own dubious “search engines” by delivering ads they sell themselves. It’s generally for low quality products, using low brow ads.
Because they make money every time you search, the malware tries to force you to use the search engine as often as possible. They’ll change the default, managed, and provided search engines, and change your home pages. You might even notice your computer’s browser shortcuts and Windows host files are manipulated without your conscious permission…you may have clicked a License Agreement when you were trying to install what looked like an unrelated, legitimate software. They can be that sneaky.
It’s never a good idea to have software on your computer or tablet that you don’t know about. It can be more than just annoying; some versions of the Google redirect virus can be used to collect your data, which is then used as a sales lead for other questionable sites. Your passwords, account names, and other personal information may not be safe. You just don’t know what you’re getting into when you click on a link from an infected site. Get it out of your life, now.
How to Remove the Google Redirect Virus
There are several things you can do to remove unwanted browser toolbars. It’s recommended you try them all. It’s best to follow them in the order that is set here. If you only do one thing, make it a virus scan, because that should root out any further infections. However to completely resolve the irksome issues that brought you to this article, you will need to at least change your browser settings and remove the unwanted extensions and toolbars.
Step One: Scan and remove malware
Let’s assume you have an up-to-date antivirus, antispyware, and firewall. If you don’t, it’s time to get it. Stat. There are several tools that work well, do your research and find one that you like.
Obviously though, having up to date security software is not enough. The Google redirect virus has gotten past your computer’s best defenses. So…once you have the correct software installed, you’ve scanned for malware and removed anything that was found, do a second sweep. This is not as easy as installing a second antivirus or security suite. These programs are not designed to run concurrently and many times will incorrectly identify the other security software as malware. Instead, we recommend using Malwarebyte’s Anti-Malware Free, which is free software specifically designed to run as a second virus scan. So after running your virus scan, install Malwarebytes and run a second scan to ensure the infection is removed.
Step Two: Remove browser add-ons, toolbars, and extensions
Internet Explorer: Open Explorer and click the cog wheel at the top right and click “manage add-ons”. The toolbars and extensions tab opens by default, so locate the Toolbar you want to delete and click the trash icon.
Firefox: Open Mozilla Firefox, open the menu bar and select Add-Ons. Browse or search the Extensions and Plugin lists for any unwanted toolbars. Remove or disable any undesired toolbars.
Google Chrome: Open Chrome. In the top right hand corner click the icon that looks like three horizontal bars. Select Settings, then click on Extensions. Disable or delete the unwanted toolbars.
Step Three: Manually change home page(s)
If the virus changed your browser’s home page to the Google search page, and you didn’t want that, you will need to manually change it back.
Internet Explorer: Open Explorer and go to Tools, Internet Options. Type in the website you want to use for your home page in the home page field and click OK.
Google Chrome: Click the icon in the top right hand corner of the screen that looks like three short horizontal bars. Go to Settings, then scroll down to “On start-up” and make sure “open a set of specific pages” is enabled. Then click “set pages” and type in your desired home page.
Firefox: Click the Firefox tab in the top left hand corner of the window. Choose Options, then select General, and check that next to “When Firefox Starts:” the option selected is “Show my home page”. Then in the home page field type in your desired home page.
Step Four: Manually change default browser and remove unwanted search engines
Internet Explorer 10: Click the gear icon in the top right corner of the browser (it looks like a cog). Scroll down and select “manage add-ons”, then choose “select search providers”. A list will appear of the search providers currently installed on your browser in a list. The default will be marked as such. To change search engines, click on the one you want to move and hit “move up” or “move down”, just below the middle of the window on the right side. This is also how you change the default. Select the one you want and click “set as default”.
Firefox: The search bar is the smaller input field to the right of the main address bar at the top right corner of your browser window. Look at the icon in the left corner of the search bar. If it’s the search engine you want to use, then you don’t need to do anything. But if you want to change it, click the little arrow next to the symbol and a drop down menu will appear with all the installed search engines. To change the default scroll to the bottom to “manage search engines”. Click it. The search engine at the top is the current default. Highlight the desired search engine and use “move up” and “move down” to rearrange the order. To remove a search engine completely, highlight it and click “remove”.
Google Chrome: Open Chrome, and in the top right click the three horizontal bar icon then go to Settings. In the “search” section, select the desired search engine from the drop down menu.
Step Five: Repair browser settings
Your web browsers should now be back to where you want them, but it’s always a good idea to make sure. Install the free CCleaner utility. Go to Cleaner, Windows/Applications. Click Analyze, and then when the analysis is complete click the Run Cleaner button. Go to Tools, Startup, and search through each tab. Click Disable and Delete for any entry that includes “search” in the title or file name.
Step Six: Repair Windows host file and reset proxy settings
At this point the Google redirect virus should be out of your life. However if you want to be extra careful it’s recommended you complete the following tasks as well. Before we proceed let’s be clear – if you feel like you’re in over your head here, leave it to the experts.
First – Repair the Windows host file. You can open MS Notepad with administrator privileges by right clicking Notepad and clicking Run as Administrator. Next, open the Hosts file. It’s found here: C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts. Before you do anything else, copy the whole file and paste it to another text document that you then save on your desktop, with the same file name as the Hosts file. That way if the changes you make mess anything up, you can replace the Hosts file with the saved document.
Delete any entries that look anything like this: 000.00.00.00 botcrawl.com or 000.00.00.00 google.com. They will appear as additions at the bottom of the file. Resave the Hosts file.
Now we’ll repair the browser’s proxy settings to that the Google redirect virus can’t hijack your browser.
Internet Explorer: Go to Tools, Internet Options. Click the Connections tab, select Local Area Network (LAN) Settings and unselect everything, then click OK.
Google Chrome: Go to Google Chrome Options. Select Under the Hood, then Network. Then click Change proxy settings. in the Internet Properties window click the LAN settings button. Next click Local Area Network (LAN) Settings. Uncheck “Use proxy server for your LAN”, then click OK.
Firefox: Hit the Firefox tab, then go to Tools, Options. Click Advanced, then open the Network tab and press Settings. Select “no proxy” , then click OK.
So there you have it. Follow these steps and the Google Redirect Virus should be a thing of the past on your device. And remember to be cautious before you click on that questionable link.