Remove the EZSearch Chrome Extension

  • April 12, 2017

EZSearch is a Google Chrome extension that hijacks the search function of Chrome's address bar so that searches go through Yahoo.com. This is done in order to generate advertisement revenue for the developer when they redirect users to Yahoo.

  • EZSearch Extension
  • Redirected to Yahoo Search

To make matters worse, this hijacker will install a new Google Chrome shortcut on the desktop that forces the loading of this extension when you start Chrome. The command that is executed when this special Chrome shortcut is executed is:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --load-extension="%UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Extensions\ikmapcaeknfgfmjlibnhcbchfablckbpa"

How was the EZSearch Extension installed in Google Chrome?

The EZSearch extension is installed in Google Chrome by adware programs that are bundled with free programs you download from the Internet. These free programs do not adequately disclose that other software would be installed along with it. Therefore, it is important that you pay close attention to license agreements and installation screens when installing anything off of the Internet. If an installation screen offers you Custom or Advanced installation options, it is a good idea to select these as they will typically disclose what other 3rd party software will also be installed. Furthermore, If the license agreement or installation screens state that they are going to install a toolbar or other unwanted adware, it is advised that you immediately cancel the install and not use the free software.

If you find Russian advertisements being displayed on web sites and you are not from Russian, then there is a good chance you are infected with this adware or possibly a similar one. To scan your computer and remove detected malware for free, you can use the removal guide below.

Self Help Guide

This guide contains advanced information, but has been written in such a way so that anyone can follow it. Please ensure your data is backed up before proceeding.

If you are uncomfortable making changes to your computer or following these steps, do not worry! Instead you can get free one-on-one help by asking in the forums.

To remove EZSearch Extension, follow these steps:

1

This removal guide may appear overwhelming due to the amount of the steps and numerous programs that will be used. It was only written this way to provide clear, detailed, and easy to understand instructions that anyone can use to remove this infection for free. Before using this guide, we suggest that you read it once and download all necessary tools to your desktop. After doing so, please print this page as you may need to close your browser window or reboot your computer.

2

To terminate any programs that may interfere with the removal process we must first download the Rkill program. Rkill will search your computer for active malware infections and attempt to terminate them so that they wont interfere with the removal process. To do this, please download RKill to your desktop from the following link.

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Rkill

When at the download page, click on the Download Now button labeled iExplore.exe. When you are prompted where to save it, please save it on your desktop.

3

Once it is downloaded, double-click on the iExplore.exe icon in order to automatically attempt to stop any processes associated with EZSearch Extension and other malware. Please be patient while the program looks for various malware programs and ends them. When it has finished, the black window will automatically close and a log file will open. Please review the log file and then close so you can continue with the next step. If you have problems running RKill, you can download the other renamed versions of RKill from the rkill download page. All of the files are renamed copies of RKill, which you can try instead. Please note that the download page will open in a new browser window or tab.

Do not reboot your computer after running RKill as the malware programs will start again.

4

As EZSearch Extension sometimes has a usable Uninstall entry that can be used to remove the program, we want to try that first. To do this, click on the Start button and then select Control Panel.

5

When in the Control Panel, double-click on one of the options below depending on your version of Windows

  1. For Windows XP double-click on the Add or Remove Programs icon.

  2. For Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 double-click on the Uninstall Program option.
6

When the Add or Remove Programs or the Uninstall Program screen is displayed, please scroll through the list of programs and double-click on each of the entries listed in bold below to uninstall them.

EZSearch

When you double-click on each of the above entries to uninstall them, please follow the default prompts and allow it to remove all files and all configuration information related to this program. If any of the programs ask you to reboot your computer, do not allow it to reboot until you have uninstalled all of the programs listed above.

7

When you are done, you can close the Control Panel screens.

8

At this point you should download Zemana AntiMalware, or ZAM, in order to scan your computer for any any infections or adware that may be present. Please download Zemana AntiMalware from the following location and save it to your desktop:

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Zemana AntiMalware
9

Once downloaded, close all programs and open windows on your computer.

10

Now double-click on the icon on your desktop named Zemana.AntiMalware.Setup.exe. This will start the installation of Zemana AntiMalware onto your computer.

11

When the installation begins, keep following the prompts in order to continue with the installation process. Do not make any changes to default settings and when the program has finished installing, Zemana will automatically start and display the main screen.

12

You will now be at the main screen for Zemana AntiMalware as shown below.

Zemana AntiMalware

Above the Scan button, please change the scan type to Deep Scan and then click on the Scan button to start the malware removal scan.

13

Zemana AntiMalware will now start scanning your computer for malware. This process can take quite a while, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.

Zemana AntiMalware Scan

14

When Zemana has finished finished scanning it will display a screen that displays any malware that has been detected. Please note that the infections found may be different than what is shown in the image below.

Zemana AntiMalware Scan Results

Review the scan results and when you are ready to continue with the cleanup process, click on the Next button to delete or repair all of the the selected results. Once you click on the Next button, Zemana will remove any unwanted files and fix any modified legitimate files. If you receive a warning that Zemana needs to close your open browsers, please close any web browsers that may be open and then click on the OK button to continue.

Zemana will now create a System Restore Point and remove the detected files and repair any files that were modified.

15

When the process is complete, you will be shown a screen that says Completed. At this screen, you can now close the Zemana AntiMalware screen and continue with the rest of the instructions.

16

Now please download AdwCleaner and save it to your desktop. AdwCleaner will scan your computer for adware programs that may have been installed on your computer without your knowledge. You can download AdwCleaner from the following URL:

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AdwCleaner
17

When AdwCleaner has finished downloading, please double-click on the AdwCleaner.exe icon that now appears on your desktop. Once you double-click on the icon the AdwCleaner program will open and you will be presented with the program's license agreement. After you read it, click on the I agree button if you wish to continue. Otherwise, click on the I disagree button to close the program. If Windows prompts you as to whether or not you wish to run AdwCleaner, please allow it to run.

If you selected to continue, you will be presented with the start screen as shown below.

AdwCleaner Start Screen

18

Now click on the Scan button in AdwCleaner. The program will now start to search for known adware programs that may be installed on your computer. When it has finished it will display all of the items it has found in Results section of the screen above. Please look through the results and try to determine if the programs that are listed contain ones that you do not want installed. If you find programs that you need to keep, then uncheck the entries associated with them.

For many people, the contents of the Results section may appear confusing. Unless you see a program name that you know should not be removed,please continue with the next step.

19

To remove the adware programs that were detected in the previous step, please click on the Clean button on the AdwCleaner screen. AdwCleaner will now prompt you to save any open files or data as the program will need to close any open programs before it starts to clean.

Please save your work and then click on the OK button. AdwCleaner will now delete all detected adware from your computer. When it is done it will display an alert that explains what PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) and Adware are. Please read through this information and then press the OK button. You will now be presented with an alert that states AdwCleaner needs to reboot your computer.

AdwCleaner Reboot Prompt

Please click on the OK button to let AdwCleaner reboot your computer.

20

When your computer reboots and you are logged in, AdwCleaner will automatically open a log file that contains the files, registry keys, and programs that were removed from your computer.

AdwCleaner Log

Please review this log file and then close the Notepad Window.

21

If you are still having problems with EZSearch Extension then you should also reset your browsers back to their default configuration. Please note that this method will remove all add-ons, extensions, toolbars and other customizations but will leave your bookmarks and favorites intact.

For each browser that you have installed on your computer, please click on the browsers icon below and follow the displayed steps to reset that browser.

In order to remove EZSearch Extension completely you will need to reset Chrome back to its initial settings. Doing these steps will erase all configuration information from Chrome such as your home page, tab settings, saved form information, browsing history, and cookies. This process will also disable any installed extensions. All of your bookmarks, though, will be preserved.

To reset Chrome, open the program and click on the Chrome menu button (Chrome Menu Buttonm) in the top right-hand corner of the window. This will open the main menu for Chrome as shown below.

Chrome Menu Settings Option

Now click on the menu option labeled Settings as shown by the arrow in the picture above, which will open the basic settings screen. Scroll down to the very bottom and you will see a Show advanced settings... option as shown in the image below.

Advanced Settings Option

Click on the Show advanced settings... option to open the advanced settings screen. Scroll to the very bottom until you see the reset button as shown in the image below.

Advanced Settings Reset Button

Now click on the Reset settings button as shown in the image above. Chrome will now open a confirmation dialog asking if you are sure you wish to reset your browser.

Reset Chrome Confirmation

To reset Chrome, click on the Reset button. Chrome will now erase all your personal data, browsing history, and disable all installed extensions. Your bookmarks, though, will remain intact and still be accessible. You can now close the Settings tab and continue with the rest of the instructions.

In order to remove EZSearch Extension completely you will need to reset Internet Explorer back to its initial settings. Doing these steps will erase all configuration information from Internet Explorer such as your home page, saved form information, browsing history, and cookies. This process will also disable any installed toolbars and add-ons. All of your bookmarks, though, will be preserved.

To reset Internet Explorer, open the program and click on the Internet Explorer menu button (Tools Menu Button) in the top right-hand corner of the window. This will open the main menu for Internet Explorer as shown below.

Internet Options Menu Item

 

Now click on the menu option labeled Internet options as shown by the arrow in the picture above, which will open the Internet Options screen.

General tab of the Internet Options

Now click on the Advanced tab as shown in the image above. This will open the Advanced Settings screen.

Advanced Settings Tab

Now click on the Reset... button as shown in the image above. Internet Explorer will now open a confirmation dialog asking you to confirm that you wish to reset your browser.

Reset Confirmation

In the reset dialog shown above, please put a check mark in Delete personal settings and then click on the Reset button. Internet Explorer will now erase all your personal data, browsing history, and disable all add-ons and toolbars. Your favorites, though, will remain intact and still be accessible.

Reset finished

Once the Reset process has been completed, click on the Close button. You will now be prompted to restart Internet Explorer to complete the reset. Once you have restarted Internet Explorer, you can continue with the rest of the instructions.

In order to remove EZSearch Extension completely you will need to refresh Firefox back to its initial settings. It does this by removing all add-ons and personalized configuration settings. All of your bookmarks, though, will be preserved.

To reset Firefox, open the program and click on the Firefox menu
button (Firefox menu button) in the top right-hand corner of the window. This will open the main menu for Firefox as shown below.

Firefox Menu

 

Now click on the question mark button (Help button) as indicated by the arrow in the image above. This will open up the Firefox help menu.

Help Menu

Next click on the Troubleshooting Information option as indicated by the arrow in the image above. This will bring you to a Troubleshooting page.

Troubleshooting Information Page

To begin the refresh process click on the Refresh Firefox.. button. When you do this a confirmation will be shown asking if you wish to perform a Firefox refresh.

Firefox Refresh Confirmation

To refresh Firefox, click on the Refresh Firefox button. When the refresh process is finished you will be shown an Import window that will automatically close. When that closes, Firefox will be open and state that it has been refreshed.

Refresh Complete

You can now click on the Let's go! button to start using Firefox again.

In order to completely remove EZSearch Extension you will need to reset Safari back to its initial settings. Doing these steps will erase all configuration information from Safari such as your Top Sites, saved form information, browsing history, and cookies. This process will not erase your bookmarks or extensions, which will still be available after you reset Safari.

To reset Safari, open the program and click on the gear (Safari Options Gear) in the top right-hand corner of the window. This will open the main menu for Safari as shown below.

Safari Options Menu

 

Now click on the menu option labeled Reset Safari as shown by the arrow in the picture above. This will open a window that allows you to select all the items you wish to reset.

Reset Options Window

Keep the check marks in each option and then click on the Reset button. Safari will delete all of your personal data and then open a blank page, which means the process has finished.

It is important to note that this process does not delete your Bookmarks or any installed Safari Extensions. If you wish to remove your Safari Extensions as well, you can download this batch file, which will reset Safari and delete all installed extensions, while still retaining your bookmarks.

22

Now you should download HitmanPro from the following location and save it to your desktop:

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HitmanPro

When you visit the above page, please download the version that corresponds to the bit-type of the Windows version you are using.

23

Once downloaded, double-click on the file named HitmanPro.exe (for 32-bit versions of Windows) or HitmanPro_x64.exe (for 64-bit versions of Windows). When the program starts you will be presented with the start screen as shown below.

HitmanPro Start Screen

Now click on the Next button to continue with the scan process.

24

You will now be at the HitmanPro setup screen. If you would like to install the 30 day trial for HitmanPro, select the Yes, create a copy of HitmanPro so I can regularly scan this computer (recommended) option. Otherwise, if you just want to scan the computer this one time, please select the No, I only want to perform a one-time scan to check this computer option.

Kickstart Setup Options

Once you have selected one of the options, please click on the Next button.

25

HitmanPro will now begin to scan your computer for infections. When it has finished it will display a list of all the malware that the program found as shown in the image below. Please note that the infections found may be different than what is shown in the image.

MalwareBytes Scan Results

You should now click on the Next button to have HitmanPro remove the detected infections. When it is done you will be shown a Removal Results screen that shows the status of the various infections that were removed. At this screen you should click on the Next button and then if prompted you should click on the Reboot button. If HitmanPro does not prompt you to reboot, please just click on the Close button.

Once your computer has has restarted or you pressed the Close button, you should now be at your Windows desktop.

26

As many malware and unwanted programs are installed through vulnerabilities found in out-dated and insecure programs, it is strongly suggested that you use Secunia PSI to scan for vulnerable programs on your computer. A tutorial on how to use Secunia PSI to scan for vulnerable programs can be found here:

How to detect vulnerable and out-dated programs using Secunia Personal Software Inspector

Your computer should now be free of the EZSearch Extension program. If your current security solution allowed this program on your computer, you may want to consider purchasing the full-featured version of Zemana AntiMalware to protect against these types of threats in the future.

If you are still having problems with your computer after completing these instructions, then please follow the steps outlined in the topic linked below:

Preparation Guide For Use Before Using Malware Removal Tools and Requesting Help

Are Your Protected?

While Zemana AntiMalware & HitmanPro will scan and clean a computer for free, the free versions do not offer real-time protection. If you want to be fully protected at all times then it is recommended that you purchase a premium version.

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Zemana AntiMalware

Purchase the full-featured version of Zemana AntiMalware, which includes second opinion malware scanner when other solutions do not work, cloud scanning, and super-fast scan time, to protect yourself against these types of threats in the future!


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HitmanPro

Purchase the full-featured version of HitmanPro, which includes discover viruses, trojans, rootkits, spyware and other malware on up-to-date and fully protected computers using cloud protection and behavioral detections, to protect yourself against these types of threats in the future!

Disclaimer: While we do earn a commission from the sale of the above products, rest assured we only recommend them due to their effectiveness.

View Associated EZSearch Extension Files

%UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Extensions\ikmapcaeknfgfmjlibnhcbchfablckbpa\ %UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Extensions\ikmapcaeknfgfmjlibnhcbchfablckbpa\favicon.ico %UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Extensions\ikmapcaeknfgfmjlibnhcbchfablckbpa\icon.png %UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Extensions\ikmapcaeknfgfmjlibnhcbchfablckbpa\icon128.png %UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Extensions\ikmapcaeknfgfmjlibnhcbchfablckbpa\icon16.png %UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Extensions\ikmapcaeknfgfmjlibnhcbchfablckbpa\icon48.png %UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Extensions\ikmapcaeknfgfmjlibnhcbchfablckbpa\manifest.json %UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Extensions\ikmapcaeknfgfmjlibnhcbchfablckbpa\Postback.dll %UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Extensions\ikmapcaeknfgfmjlibnhcbchfablckbpa\uninstall.exe

File Location Notes:

%UserProfile% refers to the current user's profile folder. By default, this is C:\Documents and Settings\<Current User> for Windows 2000/XP, C:\Users\<Current User> for Windows Vista/7/8, and c:\winnt\profiles\<Current User> for Windows NT.

View Associated EZSearch Extension Registry Information

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\EZSearch

This is a self-help guide. Use at your own risk.

BleepingComputer.com can not be held responsible for problems that may occur by using this information. If you would like help with any of these fixes, you can ask for malware removal assistance in our Virus,Trojan,Spyware, and Malware Removal Logs forum.

If you have any questions about this self-help guide then please post those questions in our Am I infected? What do I do? and someone will help you.

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