What is Search.hwatchtvnow.co? And how does it work?
Search.hwatchtvnow.co is a browser extension created by Polarity Technologies. This browser extension supposedly allows users to watch TV online. It provides quick links to “Watch TV Now”, “Local Weather” and “TVNews” as well as links to popular websites like Amazon, Sport News, Gmail, Facebook, Macys, Walmart, and many more. It may appear like a useful browser extension but it’s really not. In fact, security experts classify it as a browser hijacker and a PUP.
If installed, you will be granting Search.hwatchtvnow.co the following permissions to:
- Read and change all your data on the websites you visit
- Replace the page you see when opening a new tab
- Manage your apps, extensions, and themes
Apart from giving them the aforementioned permissions, this browser hijacker will also modify the default settings on your browser. As a result, you will constantly see Search.hwatchtvnow.co every time you open your browser or open a new tab. The changes don’t stop there as you will also notice the increase of sponsored content from the affiliated sites of Search.hwatchtvnow.co. You might also experience sudden redirects to some websites even when you did not click anything. This occurrence is common when you have a browser hijacker like this one installed in your computer. Aside from redirects, you will also encounter misleading ads that could redirect you to suspicious websites that might contain harmful content. Moreover, like a typical browser hijacker, Search.hwatchtvnow.co also monitors all your browsing activities in order to collect browsing information like:
- Search queries and all related search data
- Browser type
- Email address
- Device-specific data (hardware model and operating system)
- Data about crashes, system activity, hardware settings and browser language
- Date and time of query request and referral URL
- IP address
- Source of traffic acquisition
- Your geographic location
- Domain name of your Internet Search Provider (ISP)
The information that this browser hijacker obtains is used and may even be shared with third parties to generate more sponsored content. As you can see, there is nothing useful about Search.hwatchtvnow.co and the sooner you delete it from your browser, the better.
How is Search.hwatchtvnow.co distributed online?
Like other browser hijackers developed by Polarity Technologies, Search.hwatchtvnow.co is distributed on free sharing sites as a part of software bundles. It is included as one of the optional programs in such packages and is not visible during installation unless you select the Advanced or Custom setup instead of the standard one. Thus, if you want to avoid unwanted programs from infiltrating your computer, you need to use the Advanced or Custom setup when installing software bundles.
Delete this unwanted browser extension by following the recommended steps below.
Step 1: First, you need to flush the DNS cache of your computer. To do so, right click on the Start button and click on Command Prompt (administrator). From there, type the “ipconfig /flushdns” command and hit Enter to flush the DNS.
Step 2: After that, restart your computer and then open all the browsers infected by Search.hwatchtvnow.co. Reset all the affected browsers to default to their default state.
- Open Google Chrome, then tap the Alt + F keys.
- After that, click on Settings.
- Next, scroll down until you see the Advanced option, once you see it, click on it.
- After clicking the Advanced option, go to the “Restore and clean up option and click on the “Restore settings to their original defaults” option to reset Google Chrome.
- Now restart Google Chrome.
- Open Mozilla Firefox and tap Ctrl + Shift + A to access the Add-ons Manager.
- In the Extensions menu Remove the unwanted extension.
- Restart the browser and tap keys Alt + T.
- Select Options and then move to the General menu.
- Overwrite the URL in the Home Page section and then restart the browser.
- Launch Internet Explorer.
- Next, click the wrench icon for Settings.
- Then click Internet Options.
- After that, go to the Advanced tab.
- From there, click the Reset button. This will reset Internet Explorer’s settings to their default condition.
- Now click OK to save the changes made.
- Restart your computer.
Step 3: Next, tap the Win + R keys to open the Run dialog box and type “appwiz.cpl” in the field and press Enter to open the Programs and Features in Control Panel.
Step 4: From the list of programs installed, look for any programs that could be related to Search.hwatchtvnow.co or any suspicious program you don’t remember installing under the list of installed programs and once you’ve found it, uninstall it.
Step 5: Edit your Hosts File.
- Tap the Win + R keys to open then type in %WinDir% and then click OK.
- Go to System32/drivers/etc.
- Open the hosts file using Notepad.
- Delete all the entries that contain Search.hwatchtvnow.co.
- After that, save the changes you’ve made and close the file.
Step 6: Hold down Windows + E keys simultaneously to open File Explorer.
Step 7: Navigate to the following directories and look for suspicious files associated to the browser hijacker such as the software bundle it came with and delete it/them.
Step 8: Close the File Explorer.
Step 9: Empty the contents of Recycle Bin.
Refer to the advanced instructions given below to ensure the removal of this browser hijacker from your computer as well as all the file residues it left behind.
Perform a full system scan using [product-code]. To do so, follow these steps:
- Turn on your computer. If it’s already on, you have to reboot it.
- After that, the BIOS screen will be displayed, but if Windows pops up instead, reboot your computer and try again. Once you’re on the BIOS screen, repeat pressing F8, by doing so the Advanced Option shows up.
- To navigate the Advanced Option use the arrow keys and select Safe Mode with Networking then hit
- Windows will now load the Safe Mode with Networking.
- Press and hold both R key and Windows key.
- If done correctly, the Windows Run Box will show up.
- Type in the URL address, [product-url] in the Run dialog box and then tap Enter or click OK.
- After that, it will download the program. Wait for the download to finish and then open the launcher to install the program.
- Once the installation process is completed, run [product-code] to perform a full system scan.
- After the scan is completed click the “Fix, Clean & Optimize Now” button.