All about Search Encrypt browser hijacker and how to remove it

Abeerah Hashim Last updated: December 11, 2022 Read time: 18 minutes Disclosure

Search Encrypt is a harmful browser hijacker. This article explains why and how to remove it from any browser in any operating system.

Sneek peek at removing Search Encrypt

Search Encrypt is a controversial browser extension. Some consider it a privacy tool, while others think it is malware. The truth is more subtle. It is a browser hijacker indeed. It does nothing harmful in itself, but it will enable others to harm. That’s why you need to be aware of it and remove it if it’s on your computer already.

Today, most netizens want to do whatever they need or want online and be left alone while they mind their own business. Unfortunately, not every user on the planet shares that approach to digital life. Some of them can’t just leave the rest of us alone — we’re talking about hackers and cybercriminals, obviously. Because of them, the average innocent internet user has to worry about having an identity stolen, a banking account, or having a computer held to ransom with encryption. Those nasty activities come courtesy of viruses, trojan horses, and malware. That’s where Search Encrypt comes into the picture.

Search Encrypt is neither a virus nor a piece of malware. But it shows suspicious and annoying behavior similar to those search engine extensions that are malware indeed. So, in the final analysis, Search Encrypt is not a lethal piece of software in itself. Still, it paves the road for other pretty damaging software to reach your system. It’s terrible news, and if you have it, you should get rid of it.

This article will tell you all about Search Encrypt: what it is, how it spreads, and what it does to your system. But most importantly, it will tell you how to get rid of it once and for all.

Search Encrypt: What is it?

You can find a wide variety of opinions about what Search Encrypt is. According to the project’s website, it’s nothing but a harmless browser extension with a private search engine. Moreover, the Search Encrypt staff is adamant about this software: it’s nothing like a virus or any form of malware.

And we can’t contradict that assertion -at least from the most technical point of view. Search Encrypt won’t perform any malicious operations on your browser or system. However, it will open the doors for other actors to gain some kind of access to your device and be as intrusive as they please.

So the spectrum of reviews about Search Encrypt goes from calling it malware (a browser hijacker) to a privacy-focused search engine extension that will allow you to browse the web with complete anonymity.

Search Encrypt: Is it malware?

Some reliable privacy experts have examined Search Encrypt’s behavior closely. They explain that this “simple browser extension” could look harmless on the surface. Nevertheless, it can change your browser’s homepage and search engine, redirecting you to affiliate websites (of the fishy kind) and forcing you to see unwanted ads. It also has the potential to track your search history and other information. Is this how a neutral and safe piece of software should work?

We can’t tell you that Search Engine is malware. It isn’t by itself. But it’s still an exceedingly dangerous thing to have around your computer. It will most likely show you many intrusive ads. Besides, it can do damage to any browser in the market. Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, you name it. Every browser is in danger with this bug.

Potential risks of having Search Encrypt on your computer

While the extension won’t harm you on its own, some risks are associated with using it. Hijackers still pose possible security hazards even if they do not impact your device as much as other forms of malware. 

Your browsing experience may be harmed by modifications introduced by the Search Encrypt malware. Web tracking, which involves gathering your data and giving it to third parties, is the biggest risk of using this service.

The search engine displays a ton of sponsored advertisements. It makes money by advertising affiliate websites and employing a pay-per-click marketing technique. However, the virus disclaims any liability for the information provided by its partners. Such advertisements may be not only bothersome but also dangerous

Once you click it, it may take you to dubious websites or automatically install infected software on your computer.

How does anybody end up with Search Encrypt installed in their system?

The destructive potential of Search Encrypt is well known. While the company claims that everything about this browser extension is pristine (it even has a Crunchbase entry), the extension stores on the internet do not offer a download for this plugin.

So, in principle, it shouldn’t be overly easy for any user to get exposure to Search Encrypt. However, these things keep happening because security in the current online environment demands a measure of responsibility from each user –and not everybody has the expertise or concern to do their part.

Carelessness is the main factor in acquiring a Search Encrypt “non-infection.” The said carelessness can take one of the following forms:

  • A user installs this plugin under the impression that it’s a legitimate program. The Search Engine staff invests a lot of energy in making the extension look kosher (official website, Crunchbase reference, and other things). So maybe there’s no blame for making this mistake.
  • It can be stealthily included in a package with other, not as bad, applications. That is why it’s essential to untick boxes that install software on the side when installing new programs.
  • The user tried installing a different extension but got catfished. So make sure to check capitalization, reviews, and permissions for extensions when you add them to your browser.