HotStart Search is a type of browser hijacker that tends to acts as a useful tool. It pretends as real to make you believe that it can enhance your search results by using the engine from hotstartsearch.com. However, in reality, cyber criminals used this program as a disguise so as many users do attract easily to download an adware.
The very moment this program get into your PC, major trouble surely waits. Not just on your entire system but as well as to your personal data. For it has the ability to collect your private data. The main goal why HotStart Search was created is to gain revenue through advertising method. It intends to steal your vital and even sensitive information so that attackers may use it on their marketing campaign.
In addition, functions of HotStart Search are to redirect you hotstartsearch.com. It can trace your browsing activity. It feeds you countless of annoying ads. Moreover, this adware can replace your home page with a search box of HotStart Search.
Unclear intentions of this program convince many security experts to consider it as a redirect virus. Even though it looks like a genuine search engine, you have to remove it as soon as you can. Looks can be deceiving as always. Be aware and smart in installing any program to your PC. You have to make sure that it is a useful program and not part of so many adware currently flooding the Internet.
As many other Hijackers, HotStart Search can be remove by just uninstalling them from Add or Remove of Windows control panel. There are also some cases that you need to delete extensions or add-on and scan the PC with anti-virus program to remove it.
What are the Symptoms of HotStart Search presence?
HotStart Search modifies the home page of the affected Internet browser. Instead of the default home page of yours, this adware will replace it and set hotstartsearch.com as your current search engine. Please see image above for reference.
Follow these Procedures to Remove HotStart Search
Procedure 1: Uninstall HotStart Search from Windows Control Panel
1. Click on Start button on bottom left corner of the screen. From the list, choose Control Panel to access settings of Windows and make the needed changes.
2. Under Programs, click on Uninstall a program. It will open a program and features window where-in you can uninstall, change, or repair installed software.
3. Look for the name HotStart Search or any related term. Please note that the adware may change the title anytime. Once found, please select the item you wanted to remove.
If the given term is not present on the list of installed programs, look for item that was installed recently. To do this, you need to arrange the items chronologically. Click on 'Installed On' to display the latest program. Make sure the recent ones are on top of the list. Look for any dubious software that are not familiar or you didn't remember installing.
4. Click on Uninstall button to remove the program automatically.
5. If it prompts for confirmation, please click OK to proceed.
Procedure 2: Start Windows in Safe Mode with Networking
Restart your computer in Safe Mode with Networking
- After turning On the power of the computer, just before Windows start, press F8.
- From the selections, choose Safe Mode with Networking. Please use keyboard's arrow up/down to navigate between selections and press Enter to proceed.
Procedure 3: Scan and remove HotStart Search files with MalwareBytes Anti-Malware
To remove HotStart Search, download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. This tool is effective in getting rid of Trojans, viruses and malware.
1. After downloading, please install the program using the default settings.
2. At the end of the installation, please make sure that it will download necessary updates.
3. Once update has completed. The tool will launch.
4. Thoroughly scan the computer and remove all threats detected by this anti-malware program.
Procedure 4: Reset Affected Internet Browser
In order to fully remove all changes made by HotStart Search that heavily affects your Internet browser; we need to restore it to the state when it was first installed. Follow the procedures below to execute these steps on Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Firefox respectively.
Reset configuration of Google Chrome:
1. Open Google Chrome browser
2. Type this in the address bar chrome://settings/
3. Navigate at the end of the page and click on Show advanced settings
4. At the bottom of the page, click on Reset settings to remove all changes made by HotStart Search. You need to confirm this action to apply the changes.
Reset Internet Explorer Settings:
1. Open Internet Explorer software
2. Navigate to top menu and click Tools > Internet Options
3. On Internet Options window, select Advanced tab
4. In order to reverse modifications caused by HotStart Search, click on Reset button to bring back Internet Explorer's settings to their default condition.
Reset Firefox to its default state:
1. Open Mozilla Firefox program
2. Navigate to top menu and click on Help > Troubleshooting Information
3. Click on Reset Firefox button to erase the effect of HotStart Search.
Procedure 5: Run Qualys Browser Check
Qualys Browser Check performs a security examination on your browser including installed plug-ins and add-ons. At the end of the scan, this tool will recommend on what to remove and give you steps to resolve any vulnerabilities found on the browser.
1. Open Internet browser application that is affected by HotStart Search.
2. Click Here to visit Qualys Browser Check web site.
3. Next, click on "Install Plug-in" button. You must accept the Terms and Conditions to proceed.
4. After installing the plug-in, Qualys Browser Check will download the host application. This is required to check and remove HotStart Search and any other malicious add-ons and extensions.
5. Once finished downloading, please Open or Run the file to install needed data.
6. Restart the browser after installing the tool.
7. Next, click on the Qualys Browser Check icon on the browser to begin the scan.
8. Once finished scanning your browser, the tool will display a recommendation. It will advise removing HotStart Search extension. Also, there will be other programs and plug-ins that requires updating to make your online surfing secure.
Protect your PC from HotStart Search or Similar Attack
Turn On Safe Browsing Features
Internet Explorer - Activate SmartScreen Filter
Internet Explorer versions 8 and 9 has this feature called SmartScreen Filter. It helps detect phishing web sites and protect you from downloading malicious files online. To turn on SmartScreen Filter, follow these steps:
1. Please open Internet Explorer.
2. On top menu, select Tools (IE 9). For IE 8, please look for Safety menu.
3. Select SmartScreen Filter from the drop-down list and click on Turn on SmartScreen Filter.
4. Please restart Internet Explorer.
Google Chrome's Enable Phishing and Malware Protection
With Google Chrome's Phishing and Malware Detection feature, you will have lesser risks browsing the web. It will display a warning when the site you are trying to visit is suspicious. To enable Phishing and Malware Protection, please do these steps:
1. Open Google Chrome.
2. Click on the Customize and control Google Chrome (3-Bars Icon) located on top right corner of the browser.
3. Select Settings from the drop-down list.
4. Once on the settings page, click on Show advanced settings... at the bottom of the page to see the rest of the Chrome setup.
5. Locate Privacy section and mark 'Enable phishing and malware protection'.
6. Please restart Google Chrome. New settings keep your browser safe while surfing the web.
Mozilla Firefox - Block Attack Sites and Web Forgeries
Phishing and Malware Protection is a built-in feature on Firefox version 3 or later. It warns you when a page you are trying to visit contains phishing content or an attack site designed to drop threats on the computer. To help you keep safe while browsing the Internet using Firefox, please follow this guide:
1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser.
2. On top menu, click on Tools. Then select Options from the list.
3. Select Security and put a check mark on the following items:
- Warn me when sites try to install add-ons
- Block reported attack sites
- Block reported web forgeries