SearchYA is a misleading browser hijacker that may be set as a default start page and search engine on Chrome without properly requesting for permission

SearchYA virus start page

SearchYA virus start page

SearchYA is a suspicious web browser extension that belongs to the browser hijacker family. Spreading around since 2017 or even earlier, it was one of the Mindspark’s Inc. creations and shared the exact same features and design as HoroscopeBuddy Toolbar, Internet Speed Tracker,, and many other browsers extensions. The current version of SearchYA virus available at has a new, more appealing, style, and offers its users a free PDF converter[1], currency converter, crypto converter, and other useful services straight on the start page. However, trusting this search site is not recommended due to its aggressive advertising campaigns and possible privacy-related issues. 

Cybersecurity experts agree upon the fact that such programs as SearchYA hijackers should be recognized as potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) because of practicing the misleading distribution method, known as bundling. Although this search tool has a community of thousands of users, most of them are looking for a way to remove SearchYA virus because it has been installed by default along with other freeware. Pre-selected as a default component, this extension manages to replace start page, search engine, and toolbars on Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, or any other web browser. 

Name SearchYA
Related or
Classification Potentially unwanted program (PUP), browser hijacker
Distribution The hijacker spreads in the form of a browser’s extension disguised under freeware installation process as a pre-selected component. So-called bundling distribution is applied

Once this extension is installed, it settles SearchYA as a default search provider, and as a start page. Moreover, it injects various toolbars within the web browser, displayed altered search results, causes redirects to suspicious web domains, and fill websites with third-party ads

Promises Promise to provide an easy way to manage search sessions
Man dangers The hijacker may expose you to suspicious and potentially dangerous websites. An attempts to download malware are possible as well. 
Ways of removal SearchYA removal can be initiated manually. For that, the user has to remove all PUPs from the Apps folder and reset the web browser’s settings. However, using a professional anti-malware tool will guarantee the success of removal. 
System repair Since various changes might have been initiated by this browser hijacker, it is advisable to restore your PC’s stability with the Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego tool

The SearchYA add-on is not illicit or dangerous on its nature. It’s one of those search engines that provide Yahoo-based search results[2] and seek to gain profit from affiliate marketing. Despite the fact, it implements many suspicious activities that couldn’t be ignored, for example:

  • Settles down on people’s web browsers without direct permission;
  • Replaces existent search engine, start page, and toolbars;
  • Generates pre-determined Yahoo search  results;
  • Initiates browser’s redirects to Yahoo and questionable third-party websites;
  • Installs cookies for tracking browser-based information;
  • May display misleading ads and popups on any website;
  • Can be difficult to remove and restore itself with the help of supporting apps;

People on Reddit and other forums are looking for solutions on how to remove SearchYA virus. Suchlike questions are not surprising having in mind that it infiltrates PCs as an additional component of various download managers, video streaming software, games, and other free programs. The problem is that the extension is resistant to removal. SearchYA removal often requires a full system scan with a professional anti-malware tool and a full reset of the web browser’s settings. 

Users often believe that a severe cyber infection is installed on their PCs because SearchYA malware dramatically slows down the web browser’s performance and prevents them from browsing efficiently. Once this PUP takes over the browser it enables traffic to the websites of its partners. For this purpose, it injects pre-arranged search results with multiple links to suspicious websites not corresponding to the search queries that the user types in. Moreover, SearchYA hijacker generates intrusive ads, including intrusive popups, banners, or full-page ads.[3] researchers recommend uninstalling PUPs like SearchYA to prevent exposure to dangerous websites. Any of the ads it generates or websites promote may be involved in activities like phishing, malware distribution, or scams. Thus, be careful with questionable ads and links delivered by this search provider, especially the ones including warnings about Windows insecurities, missing software updates, free online malware scanners, or surveys. 

SearchYA PUP
SearchYA is a potentially unwanted program that initiates active involved in shady advertising techniques and affiliate marketing

SearchYA PUP
SearchYA is a potentially unwanted program that initiates active involved in shady advertising techniques and affiliate marketing

Privacy protection is yet another aspect that should accelerate SearchYA virus removal. The search has a bunch of pre-installed cookies that are programmed to track non-personally identifiable information about its users. Developers of this tool claim that they are not capable of collecting personal information and we, actually, believe that. However, it can gather a considerable amount of people’s browsing history, as well as IP address and email address, not to mention technical information that is later being used for providing personalized ads. 

We are not aware of the identity of the user from which the Non-Personal Information was collected. The Non-Personal Information which is being collected may include technical information automatically transmitted by the user’s device (for example, type of browser, the type of the user’s device and technical information pertaining to the user’s device, language preferences, time stamps, clicks and visited pages, search logs, the operating system, utilized internet service provider and other similar information.

 Even though you are not fond of using this search engine, it may not go away easily. Setting an alternative web browser will not save the day because the next time you re-open the web browser SearchYA hijacker will be there. Note that this extension is closely related to the freeware that you have recently installed. Thus, as long as it won’t be removed, SearchYA removal will not be possible either. Even more, this PUP roots deeply into the web browser, may corrupt some of the Windows Registry entries, modify browser’s shortcuts, and other settings. 

There is a way to remove this PUP manually. For this purpose, you can use a step-by-step tutorial provided down below this article. However, if manual removal failed, try to remove SearchYA from Windows or Mac with a security tool like SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes. After that, disable unwanted extensions on your web browser and delete related websites, including At best, we recommend resetting browser’s settings. 

Freeware packages are still actively used for PUP distribution 

 The extension that we have been discussing does not have the official website, though the search provider website can be accessed by typing its name to the URL bar. However, there is no direct download of an extension. That’s a shred of evidence that it is being distributed by other means. 

SearchYA virus installer
SearchYA extension is promoted via freeware as a pre-selected additional installer

SearchYA virus installer
SearchYA extension is promoted via freeware as a pre-selected additional installer

The so-called bundling distribution is the main method used to disseminate unwanted advertisement-based web browser’s extension, plug-ins, and add-ons. The scheme is quite simple; in order to get commissions for the downloads of PUPs, freeware developers disguise several unwanted programs under Quick or Basic installation options. This way, people are not directly informed about a bundle and unconsciously agree upon downloading additional tools. 

Although it’s not possible to disclose a bundle from the surface, people can decompose the bundle by selecting Advanced or Custom installation techniques. They unravel more installation setup windows, some of which will contain the pre-selected extensions. Unmarking the checkboxes stating that you agree with the installation of these additions will be sufficient to keep your PC safe. 

If you have been suffering from redirects to questionable websites, clicked on some of the displayed ads, or otherwise engaged in browser hijacker’s activities, then we recommend you check the machine with a professional anti-virus program to make sure that it does not have any PUPs or malware installed. 

Delete SearchYA PUP from Chrome to prevent potentially dangerous redirects

 If you’ve been suffering from SearchYA virus redirects for a while, it’s very important to initiate a thorough system scan with a professional anti-virus program to delete all PUPs, malware, or even virus that might have been installed while visiting related websites. 

This PUP is not a virus and that means that it must have a direct installer/uninstaller. Therefore, you should carefully check the list of programs installed on your Windows or Mac system and get rid of those you are not familiar with. Finally, reset your web browser’s default settings to disable unwanted extensions and toolbars.  

You may remove virus damage with a help of Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego. SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and Malwarebytes are recommended to detect potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.

Get rid of SearchYA from Windows systems

The guide below explains how to removeSearchYA virus from Windows OS. Follow the instructions step-by-step:

  1. Click Start Control Panel Programs and Features (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs). Click 'Start -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features’ (if you are ‘Windows XP’ user, click on ‘Add/Remove Programs’).” title=”Click ‘Start -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features’ (if you are ‘Windows XP’ user, click on ‘Add/Remove Programs’).”></li>
<li>If you are <span class=Windows 10 / Windows 8 user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once Quick Access Menu shows up, select Control Panel and Uninstall a Program. If you are 'Windows 10 / Windows 8' user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once 'Quick Access Menu' shows up, select 'Control Panel' and 'Uninstall a Program'.
  2. Uninstall SearchYA and related programs
    Here, look for SearchYA or any other recently installed suspicious programs.
  3. Uninstall them and click OK to save these changes. Right click on each of suspicious entries and select 'Uninstall'
  4. Remove SearchYA from Windows shortcuts
    Right click on the shortcut of Mozilla Firefox and select Properties. Right click on browsers' icon and select 'Properties'
  5. Go to Shortcut tab and look at the Target field. Delete malicious URL that is related to your virus. Select 'Shortcut' tab and delete '' or other suspicious URL

Repeat steps that are given above with all browsers’ shortcuts, including Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. Make sure you check all locations of these shortcuts, including Desktop, Start Menu and taskbar.

Delete SearchYA from Mac OS X system

Even though Macs are less prone to malware, these days more and more unwanted programs are developed to target Mac users. In case SearchYA virus appears to be one of them, follow this guide to restore your machine:

  1. If you are using OS X, click Go button at the top left of the screen and select Applications. Cick 'Go' and select 'Applications'
  2. Wait until you see Applications folder and look for SearchYA or any other suspicious programs on it. Now right click on every of such entries and select Move to Trash. Click on every malicious entry and select 'Move to Trash'

Uninstall SearchYA from Internet Explorer (IE)

Get rid of SearchYA from Internet Explorer with these instructions:

  1. Remove dangerous add-ons
    Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top right corner of the browser and choose Manage Add-ons. Click on menu icon and select 'Manage add-ons'
  2. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for SearchYA and other suspicious plugins. Disable these entries by clicking Disable: Right click on each of malicious entries and select 'Disable'
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the gear icon (menu) on the top right corner of the browser and select Internet Options. Stay in General tab.
  4. Here, remove malicious URL and enter preferable domain name. Click Apply to save changes. Delete malicious URL, enter your desired domain name and click 'Apply' to save changes
  5. Reset Internet Explorer
    Click on the gear icon (menu) again and select Internet options. Go to Advanced tab.
  6. Here, select Reset.
  7. When in the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete SearchYA removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again

Remove SearchYA from Microsoft Edge

Reset Microsoft Edge settings (Method 1):

  1. Launch Microsoft Edge app and click More (three dots at the top right corner of the screen).
  2. Click Settings to open more options.
  3. Once Settings window shows up, click Choose what to clear button under Clear browsing data option. Go to Settings and select 'Choose what to clear'
  4. Here, select all what you want to remove and click Clear. Select 'Clear' button
  5. Now you should right-click on the Start button (Windows logo). Here, select Task Manager. Open the start menu and select 'Task Manager'
  6. When in Processes tab, search for Microsoft Edge.
  7. Right-click on it and choose Go to details option. If can’t see Go to details option, click More details and repeat previous steps. Right-click 'Microsoft Edge' and select 'Go to details'Select 'More details' if 'Go to details' option fails to show up
  8. When Details tab shows up, find every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right click on each of them and select End Task to end these entries. Find Microsoft Edge entries and select 'End Task'

Resetting Microsoft Edge browser (Method 2):

If Method 1 failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method.

  1. Note: you need to backup your data before using this method.
  2. Find this folder on your computer: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  3. Select every entry which is saved on it and right click with your mouse. Then Delete option. Go to Microsoft Edge folder on your computer, right-click every entry and click 'Delete'
  4. Click the Start button (Windows logo) and type in window power in Search my stuff line.
  5. Right-click the Windows PowerShell entry and choose Run as administrator. Find Windows PowerShell, right-click it and select 'Run as administrator'
  6. Once Administrator: Windows PowerShell window shows up, paste this command line after PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> and press Enter:

    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml -Verbose}

    Copy and paste a required command and press 'Enter'

Once these steps are finished, SearchYA should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

Eliminate SearchYA from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

In case Mozilla firefox started redirects to suspicious websites and you see SearchYA search engine set as a default, then remove PUPs from your machine and perform these steps to disable unwanted extension:

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Mozilla Firefox, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Add-ons Extensions. Click on menu icon and select 'Add-ons'
  2. Here, select SearchYA and other questionable plugins. Click Remove to delete these entries. Select 'Extensions' and look for malicious entries. Click 'Remove' to get rid of each of them
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the menu (top right corner), choose Options General.
  4. Here, delete malicious URL and enter preferable website or click Restore to default.
  5. Click OK to save these changes. When in 'General' tab, delete malicious URL from 'Home Page' section or click on 'Restore to Default' button. Click 'OK' to save changes
  6. Reset Mozilla Firefox
    Click on the Firefox menu on the top left and click on the question mark. Here, choose Troubleshooting Information. Click on menu icon and then on '?'. Select 'Troubleshooting Information'
  7. Now you will see Reset Firefox to its default state message with Reset Firefox button. Click this button for several times and complete SearchYA removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Erase SearchYA from Google Chrome

IT-related forums are filled with questions on how to remove SearchYA virus from Chrome. Thus, we come up with a presumption that this search engine targets Chrome in particular. In case your Chrome’s settings were compromised, follow these steps to get back to the previous state:

  1. Delete malicious plugins
    Open Google Chrome, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Tools Extensions. Click on menu icon. Select 'Tools' and 'Extensions'
  2. Here, select SearchYA and other malicious plugins and select trash icon to delete these entries. Look for malicious entries and delete each of them by clicking on the Trash bin icon
  3. Change your homepage and default search engine if it was altered by your virus
    Click on menu icon and choose Settings.
  4. Here, look for the Open a specific page or set of pages under On startup option and click on Set pages. After clicking on menu and 'Settings', select 'Set pages'
  5. Now you should see another window. Here, delete malicious search sites and enter the one that you want to use as your homepage. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  6. Click on menu icon again and choose Settings Manage Search engines under the Search section. When in 'Settings', select 'Manage search engines...'
  7. When in Search Engines…, remove malicious search sites. You should leave only Google or your preferred domain name. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  8. Reset Google Chrome
    Click on menu icon on the top right of your Google Chrome and select Settings.
  9. Scroll down to the end of the page and click on Reset browser settings. When in 'Settings', scroll down to 'Reset browser settings' button and click on it
  10. Click Reset to confirm this action and complete SearchYA removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Get rid of SearchYA from Safari

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu at the top left of the screen. Once you do this, select Preferences. Click on 'Safari' and select 'Preferences'
  2. Here, select Extensions and look for SearchYA or other suspicious entries. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid each of them. Go to 'Extensions' and uninstall malicious add-ons
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Open your Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu section. Here, select Preferences as it was displayed previously and select General.
  4. Here, look at the Homepage field. If it was altered by SearchYA, remove unwanted link and enter the one that you want to use for your searches. Remember to include the “http://” before typing in the address of the page. When in 'General', delete malicious URL and enter your desired domain name
  5. Reset Safari
    Open Safari browser and click on Safari in menu section at the top left of the screen. Here, select Reset Safari…. Click on 'Safari' and select 'Reset Safari...'
  6. Now you will see a detailed dialog window filled with reset options. All of those options are usually checked, but you can specify which of them you want to reset. Click the Reset button to complete SearchYA removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button