What is Search.hroutefinder.net? And how does it function?
Search.hroutefinder.net, also known as Route Finder, is a questionable browser extension that supposedly functions as a search engine. Aside from claiming to provide users with enhanced search results to improve browsing experience, it also supposedly allows users to find routes online by providing users with links to Google Maps and Bing Maps. It also gives quick links to several sites like Amazon, Yahoo, Gmail, Facebook and many more. Although it might seem like a useful browser extension, it is actually created by Polarity Technologies, a company notorious for creating tons of browser hijackers and unwanted programs which is why it isn’t surprising why security experts categorize it as a browser hijacker and a PUP.
If installed, Search.hroutefinder.net will modify the existing default settings of the browser such as the search provider, homepage, and new tab page. It could also install other browser extension or add-ons or toolbar in the browser, allowing this browser hijacker to inject push notifications and ads like banners, pop-ups, and in-text links. Thus, each time you browse the web, you will be constantly dealing with these pesky ads, some of which can redirect you to suspicious sites that may contain harmful content. Aside from that, it also jeopardizes your sensitive information as it spies on all your activities online in order to collect browsing-related data. This allows the browser hijacker to generate more sponsored content and share the information with third parties. So if you do not want to risk your privacy and your computer’s safety, you need to get rid of Search.hroutefinder.net as soon as you can.
How is Search.hroutefinder.net distributed over the web?
Like other browser hijackers created by Polarity Technologies, Search.hroutefinder.net is distributed using free software packages known as freeware or shareware. They can be found on free sharing sites. Search.hroutefinder.net is added as one of the optional components in these packages. So if you often use software bundles to install a program, be careful and you must always use the Advanced or Custom setup when installing them to avoid unwanted programs like Search.hroutefinder.net from getting installed in your computer.
You can get rid of Search.hroutefinder.net from your browser and computer using the removal instructions provided below as well as the advanced steps that follow.
Step 1: First, you have to close the browser infected with the browser hijacker. And if you can’t close it manually, you can close it using the Task Manager instead. Tap the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys and open the Task Manager.
Step 2: Next, look for the process of your browser, right click on it and select End task or End process to close it.
Step 3: Afterwards, 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.hroutefinder.net 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.hroutefinder.net.
- After that, save the changes you’ve made and close the file.
Step 6: Now you have 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 7: Next, hold down Windows + E keys simultaneously to open File Explorer.
Step 8: 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 9: Close the File Explorer and empty the contents of Recycle Bin.
Step 10: After that, restart your computer and then open your browsers and reset them back 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.
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.