If you have recently been the victim of a search.us.com toolbar attack it is very likely that your PC has been left extremely vulnerable to having its browser hijacked by start.search.us.com homepage. If your browser has been hijacked it means that it is under somebody else's control – and that person has less than scrupulous intentions. They will also very likely automatically install other programs, usually adware and spyware, so they can change the way you use the internet and search for things.
Once infected, it will change your browser homepage and default search engine to start.search.us.com. Symptoms to look out for include your files and settings being changed and those annoying little pop up adverts will suddenly start appearing – and the vast majority of them will be for shady websites. Your computer might also slow down all of a sudden for no apparent reason and you might also find websites you have never visited saved in your browser bookmarks or favourites folders. You will very likely see that new programs and toolbars have been installed on your browser. Your default browser will probably have also changed and will keep redirecting you to websites you probably have no interest in visiting. Since this application displays sponsored links in your search results it may collect search terms from your search queries, so we can assume that it's not only a browser hijacker but also spyware.
This is most definitely annoying but having your browser hijacked can also mean serious trouble, as just as we mentioned above, another knock on effect of hijacking includes the possible theft of your personal data.
So what causes your computer to be hijacked? A hijacking normally happens when malware has been installed on your computer. Malware is an umbrella term for malicious software programs including adware, spyware, Trojan horses and other type of unwanted software that have downloaded and installed themselves on your PC without either your permission or your knowledge.
Often these programs are hidden inside freeware downloads but the program writers of malicious software also like to take advantage of the gaps and security problems that are found in other software programs and operating systems. To put it another way, a malware program will sneakily enter your computer by the ‘back door’ without you being any the wiser. Then once it has installed itself on your computer it will set about attacking your files, corrupting your system and putting your security at risk.
So how do you protect against start.search.us.com home page redirect? The number one preventative method is to install a reputable anti-malware software and / or anti-virus program as this will scan your computer on a regular basis and hunt down any viruses, malware programs or browser hijackers. One important thing is to make sure that you have the latest patches and that it is always the newest version too as in the fast paced world of cyber crime new viruses and new ways to harm you or defraud you are being dreamed up all the time.
Once you have an anti-malware installed if you spot anything strange happening to your computer you should run your security software so that it can locate and delete any malware. In really extreme cases you might need to restore your computer with the ‘System Restore’ option or possibly even completely reformat your system. If you’re not sure how to do this, it is always best to speak to an expert.
One other important thing to be aware of is that you should make sure all of your programs and your operating system are also up to date. You should also be vigilant when downloading freeware programs from the web as many of them have hidden dangers and if any program asks you if you want to install it, or its updated version, make sure you trust it 100% - and also check the small print in the end-user agreement. If you very unlucky enough to install this junk software on your computer, please follow start.search.us.com removal guide below.
Written by Michael Kaur, http://deletemalware.blogspot.com
start.search.us.com removal instructions:
1. First of all, download recommended anti-malware software and run a full system scan. It will detect and remove this infection from your computer. You may then follow the manual removal instructions below to remove the leftover traces of this infection. Hopefully you won't have to do that.
2. Uninstall Search.us.com application from your computer using the Add/Remove Programs control panel (Windows XP) or Uninstall a program control panel (Windows 7 and Windows 8).
Go to the Start Menu. Select Control Panel → Add/Remove Programs.
If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7, select Control Panel → Uninstall a Program.
If you are using Windows 8, simply drag your mouse pointer to the right edge of the screen, select Search from the list and search for "control panel".
Or you can right-click on a bottom left hot corner (formerly known as the Start button) and select Control panel from there.
3. When the Add/Remove Programs or the Uninstall a Program screen is displayed, scroll through the list of currently installed programs and remove the Search.us.com and also other applications you have recently installed.
Simply the application and click Remove. If you are using Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8, click Uninstall up near the top of that window. When you're done, please close the Control Panel screen.
Remove start.search.us.com from Google Chrome:
1. Click on Chrome menu button. Go to Tools → Extensions.
2. Click on the trashcan icon to remove the Search.us.com Toolbar Chrome extension:
3. Click on Chrome menu button once again. Select Settings.
4. Click Set pages under the On startup.
Remove Search.us.com by clicking the "X" mark as shown in the image below.
5. Click Show Home button under Appearance. Then click Change.
Select Use the New Tab page and click OK to save changes.
6. Click Manager search engines button under Search.
Select Google or any other search engine you like from the list and make it your default search engine provider.
Select Search.us.com from the list and remove it by clicking the "X" mark as shown in the image below.
Remove start.search.us.com from Mozilla Firefox:
1. Open Mozilla Firefox. Go to Tools → Add-ons.
2. Select Extensions. Remove Search.us.com Toolbar extension. Close the window.
3. In the URL address bar, type about:config and hit Enter.
Click I'll be careful, I promise! to continue.
In the search filter at the top, type: search.us.com
Now, you should see all the preferences that were changed by start.search.us.com. Right-click on the preference and select Reset to restore default value. Reset all found preferences!
Remove start.search.us.com from Internet Explorer:
1. Open Internet Explorer. Go to Tools → Manage Add-ons.
2. Select Toolbars and Extensions. Remove Search.us.com Toolbar Internet Explorer add-on.
3. Select Search Providers. First of all, choose Live Search search engine and make it your default web search provider (Set as default).
4. Select Search.us.com and click Remove to remove it. Close the window.