Remove Privitize VPN Search Hijacker

Threat Summary

Threat: Privitize VPN Search
Type: Browser Hijacker/Toolbar
Brief Description: Unwanted extension that produces malicious toolbar and also hijacks home page of infected browser.

Privitize VPN is a browser hijacker that when run can change your default home page, control searches, and cause browser hijacking problems. This adware or malware as some may call it, can get into your computer and installing a program that is packed with it. As of this writing, there are almost dozens of free software are deploying Privitize VPN Search Hijacker. It is installed on PC without asking permission from user.

If Privitize VPN is installed in full, you may notice that your home page will have the default address of search.privitize.com/?aff=7. In some browser, it will reveal unfamiliar Google URL such as google.com/webhp. The adware may use various addresses and names to confuse user as well as anti-malware programs to prevent own removal. Privitize VPN Search Hijacker is not as harmful as other malware and viruses; however, it can bother you by redirecting your searches to unknown web site. Worst, it may deliver a harmful site that can drop other threats onto your computer.

You should never install any programs coming from unknown sources. Most importantly, be aware of the program you are installing. It might contain adware like Privitize VPN that can integrate search hijacker and toolbar to your Internet browser. Whenever you are installing free tools, always pick the ‘custom install’ and exclude needless features.

What are the Symptoms of Privitize VPN Hijacker?

With URL search.privitize.com/?aff=7 on your home page manifests the presence of Privitize VPN on the computer. Image below shows the main site for this adware.

Privitize VPN

Procedures to Remove Privitize VPN Search

Removal steps on this page will help you get rid of the threat effectively using tools and virus scanners. Please make sure that you will carry out the guide in exact order.

Procedure 1: Uninstall Privitize VPN Search from Windows Control Panel

1. Begin the removal process by uninstalling the adware program from Windows. To do this, we need to open Control Panel. Please ensure that you are logon with the Administrative privilege to access this function.

Accessing Windows 10 Control Panel

- Click on the Windows Start button at lower left corner of the screen.
- Type Control Panel on the search box, and click on its icon on the search result.
- Alternatively, you can just press Windows + X on the keyboard to display Quick Access Menu. Then, click Control Panel.

How to access Control Panel in Windows 8

- The easiest way to access Control Panel on Windows 8 is through the Search function.
- Simply press Windows Key + Q on your keyboard to display the Charms Bar. Alternatively, you can drag mouse pointer to lower-right portion of desktop until the Charms Bar slide-out.
- Click on the Magnifying Glass icon and search for 'Control Panel'. Click the item on the result to access this feature.

cpanel-win8

How to access Control Panel in Windows XP, Windows Vista/ 7

- Click on Start button that can be found on bottom left corner of the screen.
- From the list, choose Control Panel to access settings of Windows and make the needed changes.

Cpanel Win7

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 adware title or any suspicious name that was installed recently. To do this, you need to arrange the items chronologically. Click on 'Installed On' to display the latest program that looks unfamiliar.

As observed, this threat is also linked to known malware. You may also look for and delete the following names that were identified with Privitize VPN Search: PrivatizeVPN, Zoom, and 000 Industry

Uninstall Item

4. Click on Uninstall button to remove the program automatically.

5. If it prompts for confirmation, please click OK to proceed.

Procedure 2: Scan Computer in Safe Mode Using Installed Anti-virus Program

1. In troubleshooting a PC, one common step is to boot operating system into Safe Mode with Networking. The same approach will be used in the removal of Privitize VPN Search. Please execute instructions based on your Windows OS version.

Start Windows 8 / Windows 10 in Safe Mode with Networking

- Please restart the computer and as soon as it begins to start, please press Shift + F8 keys.
- Instead of seeing Advance Boot Options, latest version of Windows will display Recovery Mode. Continue with the given steps until you reach Safe Mode function.
- Click on 'See advanced repair options'.

win8-recovery

- Then, click on Troubleshoot.
- Next, please select Advanced options.
- On the next window, please choose Windows Startup Settings.
- Lastly, click on Restart button. Windows 8 / Windows 10 will now restart and boot into Advanced Boot Option wherein you can run the system in Safe Mode with Networking.

win8-safemode

Start in Safe Mode with Networking (Windows XP/Vista/7 Instruction)

- Please restart the computer and just before Windows start, press F8 on your keyboard repeatedly. You will be presented with Advanced Options Menu.
- From the selections, choose Safe Mode with Networking. Please use keyboard's arrow up/down to navigate between selections and press Enter to proceed.

win7-safemode

2. Once your Windows is running in Safe Mode, open your installed anti-virus programs and update it to the most recent version by automatically downloading necessary updates.

3. Thoroughly scan the computer and remove all identified threats. Do not restart or turn off the computer after the scan process. You still need to run another scan. Please follow the next procedure.

Procedure 3: Scan and remove Privitize VPN Search files with MalwareBytes Anti-Malware

To remove Privitize VPN Search, download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. This tool is effective in getting rid of Trojans, viruses and malware.

Download Removal Tool

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, MBAM will launch.

MBAM Scanner

4. Select SCAN from the top menu. Then, click on Threat Scan (Recommended) section.

5. Click on Start Scan to thoroughly scan the computer. Remove all threats detected by this anti-malware program after the process.

Procedure 4: Run extra scan with Junkware Removal Tool

To make sure that no more malicious files linked to Privitize VPN Search are inside the computer, we must run another effective scanner. This time, use Junkware Removal Tool. No installation is necessary with this tool.

Download JRT

1. Click the button above to start the download process. Save the file to your preferred location.

2. Junkware Removal Tool will close all running applications later. So, before executing the file, please Bookmark or Print this page. And then, close all programs.

3. Double-click the JRT.exe file to initiate the tool.

4. It will prompt you to "Press any key to continue."

JRT Scanner

5. Junkware Removal Tool will create a Restore Point and proceed with the scan. Please wait for the scan process to finish.

6. After scanning the computer, JRT will open a Notepad containing scan logs. It may have not find Privitize VPN Search relevant entities, but it will surely delete any malicious items not found in the previous scans.

Procedure 5: Reset Affected Internet Browser

Reset browser settings of Google Chrome:

1. Open Google Chrome browser.

2. In the address bar, type this: chrome://settings/ and then, press Enter.

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 Privitize VPN Search.

Reset Google Chrome

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 Privitize VPN Search, click on Reset button to bring back Internet Explorer's settings to their default condition.

Internet Explorer

Reset Firefox to its default state:

1. Open Mozilla Firefox program.

2. Navigate to top menu and Open Help Menu. Then, select on Troubleshooting Information.

3. Click on Refresh Firefox button to erase the effect of Privitize VPN Search.

Reset Firefox

Procedure 6: Run Qualys Online 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 Privitize VPN Search.

2. Click Here to visit Qualys Browser Check web site.

3. Next, click on "Scan without installing lugin" link.

Online Browser Check

4. Click on Scan Now button to check and remove Privitize VPN Search and any other malicious add-ons and extensions. You must read and accept "Service User Agreement" to continue.

5. After the scan, you will be presented with Browser Check Summary. Fix any issues and follow the recommendation on the result.

Protect your PC from Privitize VPN Search or Similar Attack

Protect your PC from Privitize VPN Search or Similar Attack

Turn On Safe Browsing Features

Google Chrome's Protection from Dangerous Sites

With Google Chrome's Dangerous Site Protection feature, you will have lesser risks browsing the web. It will display a warning when the site you are trying to visit is suspicious, thus, you can prevent Privitize VPN Search infection. To enable protection from dangerous sites, please do these steps:

1. Open Google Chrome.

2. In the address bar, type this: chrome://settings/ and then, Press Enter.

3. Once on the settings page, click on Show advanced settings... at the bottom of the page to see the rest of the Chrome setup.

4. Locate Privacy section and mark 'Protect you and your device from dangerous sites'.

Chrome Security Settings

5. Please restart Google Chrome. New settings keep your browser safe while surfing the web.

SEE MORE : Enable Google Chrome's protection from dangerous sites

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 programs including Privitize VPN Search. 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.

IE SmartScreen Filter

4. Please restart Internet Explorer.

SEE MORE : Comprehensive steps to activate SmartScreen Filter

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 such as Privitize VPN Search. 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 Open Menu. 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

Firefox Security Settings

Edge Browser - SmartScreen Filter

SmartScreen filter is a built-in feature in Microsoft Edge browser that can help you deter malicious programs such as Privitize VPN Search. It can block malicious web sites and downloads.

1. Open Microsoft Edge browser.

2. Click on More Actions button located at top right corner of the screen.

3. Select Settings from the drop-down list.

4. Under Settings menu, go to Advanced Settings section and click on View Advanced Settings.

5. Scroll down to "help protect my PC from malicious sites and downloads with SmartScreen Filter". Turn it to ON.

6.You may now restart Microsoft Edge browser.

Edge SmartScreen Filter

20 thoughts on “Remove Privitize VPN Search Hijacker

  1. Grateful! says:

    This is easily the most comprehensive and thorough guide to getting rid of this most pernicious and annoying bit of malware. Cannot express enough thanks to you for this guide!

  2. Larry says:

    I did this went to control panel yet couldn’t find it,i hate this vpn crap everytime i search for something it uses it cept since yesterday when my laptop did a automatic repair after a pretty bad crash & restored to a previous date it now says it offline.The search goes to searchab.com if that helps at all

  3. LucyGreen says:

    Thankyou sooo much. Finally someone that speaks the language of the people. Jargon free great information. Keep doing what you are doing!

  4. Jason says:

    Thank you soooo much! This was the only relevant post in a sea of worthless how-to uninstall pages! Simple, thorough, and best of all it WORKED!! :) You rock!

  5. Brooke says:

    I have privitize vpn installed without the adware, just choose “custom” install when installing and uncheck the adware junk. This is pretty common with most free software, always use the custom install and remove the adware or junkware.

    Privitize VPN, if installed without the junkware, is a great product.

  6. Liz says:

    Worked perfectly. I thought I had all of it removed and then went through each step and found “privitize” residue still there. Thank you for posting this!

  7. fabCOM says:

    I had once installed the toolbar and it worked fined. I was actually in loved with the tools it provided. I did some windows installation and I need the toolbar back. Can some body give a link a site where I can get the PrivitizeToobar back. THANKS!

  8. John Q says:

    Great write-up! Thank you! I had done most of the steps on my own but never would have found the other problems, so thank you!!

  9. nell says:

    i got problem in pressing f8 it doesn’t show same content as what was in your guide. and where can i get free anti-malware scanner ?? thanks

  10. jackmorgan says:

    thank you so much for this guide it took a lot on searching but i found it as ZOOMEX i removed it and ads are all gone! pretty sure i got it from pirate bay it was still worth the free movie

  11. Anthony says:

    Very easy to follow thank you very much!
    However, i still have the problem of ‘freezing’ browsers when i connect to the internet.
    Would there be any other place infected files would be placed in my computer that I need to get rid of?

  12. Priscilla says:

    I thought restoring my computer would have been enough (I accidentally installed Privitize VPN this past weekend). But while it didn’t appear in the Control Panel and my settings returned to default, it did appear as an option in my search bar. These instructions were a big help, and also helped me to get rid of other programs I don’t remember installing. Thank you.

  13. vince says:

    I agree with everyone else, this is the only uninstall guide that worked/ made any sense/ didnt want me to give them money. you are awesome thank you!

  14. VNLXV says:

    VPN is actually very useful you guys just need smarten up and realize that when you install something you must always remember to uncheck any other unneeded functions like a toolbar.

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