Ecosia.org “Virus” Uninstall

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I wrote this article to help you remove Ecosia.org. This Ecosia.org removal guide works for Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.

Ecosia.org is a website with an intriguing background. The owners of the platform have stated that it serves an environmental cause. According to the entity, people contribute by using it to conduct their searches. The mission is to plant trees. The numbers listed on Ecosia.org indicate that over 6 million trees have been planted through the collective effort of developers and computer users. The platform itself is a convenient search engine, with a whole bundle of functions and extended options. The user can optimize his search results by selecting a region and setting a language. There are 56 regions to choose from. Ecosia.org supports German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Dutch. In addition, there is a security setting. Even if you maximize the safe search option, you will still be exposed to security threats. This is because the domain is connected to a browser hijacker.

Ecosia.org offers the hijacker as an extension, compatible with Google Chrome. If you decide to add the tool to your browser, you will be asked to accept its terms and conditions. A breakdown of them is shown when clicking on the download button. Using the extension means you are allowing it to read and change all your data on the websites you visit, as well as your browsing history. Performing such tasks does not benefit you as a user, nor does it help improve the services of the program. Adding the extension to your browser would also enable it to edit its settings. It will change your homepage and default search provider to Ecosia.org. The website itself offers users to reset it as their default search engine. Once the hijacker renders the settings, you will not be able to make alterations anymore.

The Ecosia.org domain allows the rogue program to tamper with the browser’s operations and exploit its resources. The first target of the hijacker are the search results. It inserts supported websites amid the pages which legitimately match the user’s queries. The sponsored content belongs to third party advertisers. A lot of organizations pay developers to devise software which promotes their platforms. Online advertising is just as legal as all other kinds of advertising. In the same sense, it is subject to legislative rules and regulations. The creators of the extension should have added security features to make it safe to use. Analysis on the insidious program has shown that it does not protect the end user from potential threats.

Remove Ecosia.org
The Ecosia.org Virus

The developers of the Ecosia.org hijacker have only put an effort into the monetizing function. The covert program generates advertisements in order to raise revenue. It uses the pay-per-click system. The number of ads users click on determines the amount of the proceeds. To attract people to more advertisements, the hijacker uses marketing tricks. It focuses on discounts, sales, freebies, auctions, package deals, and other exclusive offers. To accent on the ad windows, it decorates them with flash animations, bright color patterns, cursive fonts, and other special effects. You will encounter various types of ads. The pop-up formats will annoy you the most, as they will cover your active pages and interrupt you. Some pop-unders do the same. The floating and transitional ads follow the movements up and down the page.

A clever way to get users to follow the ads is to show them deals for items they are interested in. The Ecosia.org hijacker has the ability to record information from the browsing history, so this is easy to achieve. In fact, the nefarious program can access different kinds of data from the web browser. This includes the user’s IP address, geographic location, zip code, email, telephone number, demographic details, and login credentials. The owners of the furtive program sell users’ private input on darknet markets. Your personal information can fall into the hands of cyber criminals. The entity behind the hijacker is called Ecosia GmbH. It is headquartered in Berlin, Germany. The terms of use (TOS) and privacy policy it has set forth allow it to disclaim responsibility for people’s security.

If you have not acquired the extension from its official website, do not be surprised to find it on your computer. The hijacker uses a couple of dark patterns to improve its rate of distribution. It often gets bundled with unlicensed programs, like freeware and shareware. In this instance, it would be offered with the download client as a bonus. To locate the option and change the setting, you would have to read the end user license agreement (EULA). Do not skip through the installation steps in haste. The shady tool can also use a spam email as a means of entry. The bogus message can be presented as a genuine notification from a reliable entity. The hijacker will be stored in an attachment. To check if a given email is reliable, look up the contacts the sender has provided.

Ecosia.org Uninstall

STEP-1 Before starting the real removal process, you must reboot in Safe Mode. If you are familiar with this task, skip the instructions below and proceed to Step 2. If you do not know how to do it, here is how to reboot in Safe mode:

For Windows 98, XP, Millenium and 7:
Reboot your computer. When the first screen of information appears, start repeatedly pressing F8 key. Then choose Safe Mode With Networking from the options.
Safe Mode with Networking
For Windows 8/8.1
Click the Start button, next click Control Panel —> System and Security —> Administrative Tools —> System Configuration.‌
Windows 8 Safe Mode with Network
Check the Safe Boot option and click OK. Click Restart when asked.
For Windows 10
Open the Start menu and click or tap on the Power button.
win10 safemode 1
While keeping the Shift key pressed, click or tap on Restart.
win10 safemode 2

STEP-2Here are the steps you must perform to remove the hijacker from the browser:

Remove From Mozilla Firefox:

Open Firefox, click on top-right corner , click Add-ons, hit Extensions next.
firefox extensions
Look for suspicious or unknown extensions, remove them all.

Remove From Chrome:

Open Chrome, click chrome menu icon at the top-right corner —>More Tools —> Extensions. There, identify the malware and select chrome-trash-icon(Remove).
chrome extensions

Remove From Internet Explorer:
Open IE, then click IE gear icon on the top-right corner —> Manage Add-ons.
ie gear
Find the malicious add-on. Remove it by pressing Disable.

STEP-3

Right click on the browser’s shortcut, then click Properties. Remove everything after the .exe” in the Target box.

ff shortcut

STEP-4

Open Control Panel by holding the Win Key and R together. Write appwiz.cpl in the field, then click OK.

appwiz

Here, find any program you had no intention to install and uninstall it.

STEP-5

Run the Task Manager by right clicking on the Taskbar and choosing Start Task Manager.

task manager

Look carefully at the file names and descriptions of the running processes. If you find any suspicious one, search on Google for its name, or contact me directly to identify it. If you find a malware process, right-click on it and choose End task.

STEP-6

Open MS Config by holding the Win Key and R together. Type msconfig and hit Enter.

msconfig

Go in the Startup tab and Uncheck entries that have “Unknown” as Manufacturer.

Still can not remove Ecosia.org from your browser? Please, leave a comment below, describing what steps you performed. I will answer promptly.

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Daniel Stoyanov
Daniel Stoyanov has a Master's degree in Computer Science from the Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria. He is also a Microsoft Certified Professional. Daniel provides top cyber security news with in-depth coverage of malware, vulnerabilities, PC and Network security, online safety. If you have any questions feel free to ask him right now.

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