Last updated on April 19th, 2014
Webs Searches is a browser hijacker that changes the default homepage and search settings to “http://istart.webssearches.com” in popular Web browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, without the user’s permission. In fact, Webssearches hijacker modifies the browser settings in order to perform browsing redirects into advertisements and earn money from their publishers.
Webssearches hijacker is designed to modify your browser settings and may install additional plugins (toolbars, extensions or add-ons) inside your Web browser in order to promote other links or products. Browser hijackers like this, may redirect users into malicious websites or may install malicious programs in order to compromise their computer to security risks.
Technically “Webssearches” is not a virus and is categorized as a malware program (“Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP)” that may contain and install malicious programs on your computer, like adware, toolbars or viruses. If a computer is infected with “Webssearches”, then more pop-up ads, banners and sponsored links are displayed on the victim’s computer screen or inside the Internet browser and in some cases the computer speed may be slowed down due to malicious programs running on the background.
Istart.Webssearches.com was probably installed without the user's notice because it is commonly bundled inside other freeware software which are downloaded -and installed- from known internet sites like “download.com (CNET)”, “Softonic.com”, etc. For that reason, you must always pay attention at the installation options for any program you install on your computer, because most software installers contain additional software that you never wanted to install. With simple words, DO NOT INSTALL ANY IRRELEVANT SOFTWARE that comes with the software installer of the program that you want to install. More specifically when you install a program on your computer:
- DO NOT PRESS the “Next” button too fast at the installation screens.
- READ & ACCEPT CAREFULLY the Terms and Agreements.
- ALWAYS SELECT: “Custom” installation.
- DECLINE to install any offered additional software that you don’t want to install.
- UNCHECK any option that says that your homepage and search settings will be modified.
If you want to easily remove “WebsSearches” from your computer, follow the steps below:
How to get rid of Istart.Webssearches.com Browser Hijacker.
Step 1. Uninstall "Webs Searches” from your Control panel.
1. To do this, go to:
- Windows 8/7/Vista: Start > Control Panel.
- Windows XP: Start > Settings > Control Panel
2. Double click to open
- Add or Remove Programs if you have Windows XP
- Programs and Features if you have Windows 8, 7 or Vista.
3. When the program list is displayed on your screen, sort the programs displayed by Installation date (Installed on) and then find and Remove (Uninstall) any unknown application that was lately installed on your system. Also remove any of these adware applications listed below:
- webssearches uninstaller (By: webssearches)
- WPM22.214.171.12442 (By: Cherished Technology LIMITED)
- * Also remove any other unknown or unwanted application.
Step 2: Remove Webssearches with AdwCleaner.
1. Download and save “AdwCleaner” utility to your desktop.
2. Close all open programs and Double Click to open ”AdwCleaner” from your desktop.
3. Press “Scan”.
4. When the scan is completed, press “Clean” to remove all the unwanted malicious entries.
4. Press “OK” at “AdwCleaner – Information” and press “OK” again to restart your computer.
5. When your computer restarts, close "AdwCleaner" information (readme) window and continue to the next step.
Step 3. Manually remove Webssearches homepage from your Internet browser.
How to remove “Istart.Webssearches.com” from Internet Explorer.
1. From Internet Explorer main menu, click: "Tools " and choose "Internet Options".
2. At “General” tab, delete the unwanted homepage (istart.webssearches.com) from “Home page” box & type your preferred Home Page (e.g. www.google.com)
3. At “Search” section press “Settings” in Search section. *
Notice*: If you want to modify search settings in Internet explorer while in main Internet Explorer window, just press the “Gear” icon (on the top right corner) and choose “Manage Add-ons” .
4. On "Search Providers" options, choose and "Set as default" a search provider other than the unwanted search provider “webssearches”.
5. Then choose the unwanted search provider “webssearches” and click Remove.
6. Choose “Toolbars and Extensions” on the left pane and then “Disable” any unwanted toolbar or extension.
- Extensions to disable/remove in this case:
- IETabPage Class
7. Close all Internet Explorer windows and restart IE.
How to remove “Istart.Webssearches.com” from Google Chrome.
2. On “Startup” section choose “Set Pages“.
3. Delete the unwanted webpage "istart.webssearches.com" from startup pages by pressing the "X" symbol on the right.
4. Set your preferred startup page (e.g. http://www.google.com) and press "OK".
5. Under “Appearance” section, check to enable the “Show Home button” option and choose “Change”.
6. Delete the unwanted webpage “istart.webssearches.com” entry from “Open this page” box.
7. Type (if you like) your preferred webpage to open when you press your “Home page” button (e.g. www.google.com) or leave this field blank and press “OK”.
5. Go to "Search" section and choose "Manage search engines".
6. Choose your preferred default search engine (e.g. Google search) and press "Make default".
7a. Now choose the unwanted “webssearches” search engine and remove it by pressing the "X" symbol at the right.
7b. Choose "Done" to close "Search engines" window.
8. Choose "Extensions" on the left.
9. Remove any unwanted extension from here by pressing the “recycle icon” to the right.
- Extensions to disable/remove in this case:
- Quick Start
10. Close all Google Chrome windows and restart Chrome.
How to remove “Istart.Webssearches.com”from Mozilla Firefox.
1. Click on “Firefox” menu button on the top left of Firefox window and go to “Options”.
2. In “General” tab delete the unwanted homepage: “http://istart.webssearches.com” page from “Home Page” box & type your preferred homepage (e.g. http://www.google.com).
Press “OK” when finished.
3. From Firefox menu, go to “Tools” > “Manage Add-ons”.
4. Choose “Extensions” on the left and then remove any unwanted extension that exists there, by pressing the "Remove" button.
Extensions to disable/remove in this case:
- Fortunitas 1.0.1
- Quick Start 3.1.9
5. Close Firefox Options.
6. In Firefox URL box type the following command: about:config & press Enter.
7. Click at “I’ll be careful, I promise” button.
8a. In the search box type: “webssearches” & press Enter.
8b. Now right-click on every “webssearches” value found & select “Reset”.
9a. Repeat the same procedure but this time write “quick_start” in the search box & press “Enter”.
9b. Reset all “quick_start” values if listed.
10a. Repeat (for the last time) the same procedure, but this time write “fortunitas” in the search box & press “Enter”.
10b. Reset all “fortunitas” values if listed.
11. Close all Firefox windows and restart Firefox.
Step 4. Remove Istart Webssearches with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free.
Download and install one of the most reliable FREE anti malware programs today to clean your computer from remaining malicious threats. If you want to stay constantly protected from malware threats, existing and future ones, we recommend that you install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium:
Quick download & Installation instructions:
- After you click the above link, press at the “Start My Free 14-Trial” option to start your download.
- To install the FREE version of this amazing product, uncheck the “Enable free Trial of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium” option at the last installation screen.
Scan & Clean your computer with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
1. Run "Malwarebytes Anti-Malware" and allow the program to update to its latest version and malicious database if needed.
2. When the update process is completed, press the “Scan Now” button to start scanning your system for malware and unwanted programs.
3. Now wait until Malwarebytes Anti-Malware finishes scanning your computer for malware.
4. When the scan has completed, first press the “Quarantine All” button to remove all threats and then click “Apply Actions”.
5. Wait until Malwarebytes Anti-Malware removes all infections from your system and then restart your computer (if required from the program) to completely remove all active threats.
6. After the system restarts, run Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware again to verify that no other threats remain in your system.
Advice: To ensure that your computer is clean and safe, perform a Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware full scan in Windows "Safe mode". Detailed instructions on how to do that you can find here.
Step 5. Clean unwanted files and entries.
Use “CCleaner” program and proceed to clean your system from temporary internet files and invalid registry entries.*
*If you don’t know how to install and use “CCleaner”, read these instructions.