WebsSearches.com Browser Hijacker Removal Guide

  • April 2, 2014

The WebsSearches.com adware from the Adware/ShortcutHijacker family of browser hijackers that are bundled with certain free programs that you can download off of the Internet. This adware is considered a browser hijacker because it changes your web browser's home page and default search provider to WebsSearches.com without your permission. Furthermore, this adware will append the argument http://istart.webssearches.com/?type=sc&ts=<timestamp>&from=<affiliate_id>&uid=<disk_id> to various web browser shortcuts and sometimes non-internet related programs. This causes the WebsSearches.com web page to open when you launch one of these hijacked shortcuts. Unfortunately, there is no Uninstall Programs entry that uninstalls WebsSearches from your computer and instead you need to use the specialized tools found in this guide to clean your computer.

  • WebsSearches.com Browser Hijacker screen shot

It is important to note that this program is installed by free programs that did not adequately disclose that other software would be installed along with it. Therefore, it is important that you pay attention to the 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 cancel the install and not use the free software.

Without a doubt, this adware was created to promote the WebsSearches website without giving you the option to remove it and revert back to your original browser settings. To remove this browser hijacker and clean the affected shortcuts, please 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.
  1. Print out these instructions as we may need to close every window that is open later in the fix.

  2. It is possible that the infection you are trying to remove will not allow you to download files on the infected computer. If this is the case, then you will need to download the files requested in this guide on another computer and then transfer them to the infected computer. You can transfer the files via a CD/DVD, external drive, or USB flash drive.

  3. Before we can do anything we must first end the processes that belong to WebsSearches.com so that it does not interfere with the cleaning procedure. To do this, please download RKill to your desktop from the following link.

    RKill Download Link - (Download page will open in a new tab or browser window.)

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

  4. Once it is downloaded, double-click on the iExplore.exe icon in order to automatically attempt to stop any processes associated with WebsSearches.com and other Rogue programs. 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 you can continue with the next step. If you get a message that RKill is an infection, do not be concerned. This message is just a fake warning given by WebsSearches.com when it terminates programs that may potentially remove it. If you run into these infections warnings that close RKill, a trick is to leave the warning on the screen and then run RKill again. By not closing the warning, this typically will allow you to bypass the malware trying to protect itself so that rkill can terminate WebsSearches.com . So, please try running RKill until the malware is no longer running. You will then be able to proceed with the rest of the guide. If you continue having 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.

  5. Now you should download Emsisoft Anti-Malware, which will clean the remnants of this infection for free. Please download and save the Emsisoft Anti-Malware setup program to your desktop from the link below:


    The download is fairly large, so please be patient while it downloads.

  6. Once the file has been downloaded, double-click on the EmsisoftAntiMalwareSetup_bc.exe icon to start the program. If Windows Smart Screen issues an alert, please allow it to run anyway.

    If the setup program displays an alert about safe mode, please click on the Yes button to continue. You should now see a dialog asking you to agree to a license agreement. Please access the agreement and click on the Install button to continue with the installation.

  7. You will eventually get to a screen asking what type of license you wish to use with Emsisoft Anti-Malware.

    Select License Screen

    If you have an existing license key or want to buy a new license key, please select the appropriate option. Otherwise, select the Freeware or Test for 30 days, free option. If you receive an alert after clicking this button that your trial has expired, just click on the Yes button to enter freeware mode, which still allows the cleaning of infections.

  8. You will now be at a screen asking if you wish to join Emsisoft's Anti-Malware network. Read the descriptions and select your choice to continue.

  9. Emsisoft Anti-Malware will now begin to update it's virus detections.

    Downloading Updates

    Please be patient as it may take a few minutes for the updates to finish downloading.

  10. When the updates are completed, you will be at a screen asking if you wish to enable PUPs detection. We strongly suggest that you select Enable PUPs Detection to protect your computer from nuisance programs such as toolbars and adware.

  11. You will now be at a screen asking what type of scan you would like to perform.

    Scan selection screen

    Please select the Full Scan option to begin scanning your computer for infections. The Full Scan option will take the longest time to scan your computer, but will also be the most thorough. As you are here to clean infections, it is worth the wait to make sure your computer is properly scanned.

  12. Emsisoft Anti-Malware will now start to scan your computer for rootkits and malware. Please note that the detected infections in the image below may be different than what this guide is for.

    Scanning screen

    Please be patient while Emsisoft Anti-Malware scans your computer.

  13. When the scan has finished, the program will display the scan results that shows what infections where found. Please note, due to an updated version of Emsisoft Anti-Malware, the screenshot below may look different than the rest of the guide.

    Scan Results

    Now click on the Quarantine Selected button, which will remove the infections and place them in the program's quarantine. You will now be at the last screen of the Emsisoft Anti-Malware setup program, which you can close. If Emsisoft prompts you to reboot your computer to finish the clean up process, please allow it to do so. Otherwise you can close the program.

  14. We now need to clean up the various Windows shortcuts that have been hijacked by Webs Searches Browser Hijacker . To do this, please download Shortcut Cleaner from the following web page and save it to your Windows desktop.

    Shortcut Cleaner Download Link - https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/shortcut-cleaner/

  15. Once the file is downloaded, double-click on the ss-cleaner.exe file that should now be on your desktop. If you are using Windows Vista, 7, or 8 you will need to allow it to run when the prompt appears. Shortcut Cleaner will now start and scan your computer for hijacked Windows shortcuts and if any are found it will automatically clean them for you. When it is done, it will show you a log that contains a list of shortcuts that were cleaned. When you have finished reviewing the log file, please close it and continue with the rest of the steps.

  16. We now need to reset the home page for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and any other browsers you may have installed. Please perform the following steps for each of the installed browsers.

    1. Internet Explorer - Internet Explorer should already be reset. If not, then open IE and click on the Tools menu and then select Internet Options. On the General tab, change your home page to your desired home page and then close the options screen.

    2. Firefox- To reset Firefox click on the Tools menu and then select Option. When the settings screen opens, click on the General tab and change your home page to your desired site.

    3. Chrome - To reset Chome click on the menu button (Chrome Menu). When the menu appears, click on the Settings menu option. When the Settings screen opens, click on the Set Pages link under the On Startup category to specify the pages that should start automatically when Chrome opens.

  17. 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 Webs Searches Browser Hijacker infection. If your current anti-virus solution let this infection through, you may want to consider purchasing the full version of Emsisoft Anti-malware to protect your computer against these types of threats in the future.

View Associated WebsSearches.com Files

%AppData%\SupTab\ %AppData%\SupTab\SupTab.dll %AppData%\webssearches\ %AppData%\webssearches\92.json %AppData%\webssearches\uninstallDlg.xml %AppData%\webssearches\UninstallManager.exe %AppData%\webssearches\images\ %AppData%\webssearches\images\bg1.png %AppData%\webssearches\images\button1.png %AppData%\webssearches\images\checked.png %AppData%\webssearches\images\close.png %AppData%\webssearches\images\min.png %AppData%\webssearches\images\Thumbs.db %AppData%\webssearches\images\unchecked.png %CommonAppData%\IePluginService\ %CommonAppData%\IePluginService\PluginService.exe %CommonAppData%\IePluginService\update\ %CommonAppData%\WPM\ %CommonAppData%\WPM\wprotectmanager.exe %CommonAppData%\WPM\update\ %CommonAppData%\WPM\update\conf c:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\searchplugins\webssearches.xml c:\Program Files\SupTab\ c:\Program Files\SupTab\DpInterface32.dll c:\Program Files\SupTab\DpInterface64.dll c:\Program Files\SupTab\DpInterfacef32.dll c:\Program Files\SupTab\ient.json c:\Program Files\SupTab\install.data c:\Program Files\SupTab\RSHP.exe c:\Program Files\SupTab\SearchProtect32.dll c:\Program Files\SupTab\SearchProtect64.dll c:\Program Files\SupTab\SpAPPSv32.dll c:\Program Files\SupTab\SpAPPSv64.dll c:\Program Files\SupTab\SupTab.dll c:\Program Files\SupTab\uninstall.exe c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\ c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\img c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\img\weather c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\js c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\indexIE.html c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\indexIE8.html c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\style.css c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\ver.txt c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\_locales c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\_locales\en-US\ c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\_locales\en-US\messages.json c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\_locales\es-419\ c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\_locales\es-419\messages.json c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\img\default_logo.png c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\img\icon128.png c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\img\icon16.png c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\js\background.js c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\js\ga.js c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\js\jquery.autocomplete.js c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\js\jquery-base.js c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\js\js.js c:\Program Files\SupTab\web\js\xagainit.js

File Location Notes:

%CommonAppData% refers to the Application Data folder for the All Users Profile. By default, this is C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data for Windows 2000/XP and C:\ProgramData\ in Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.

%AppData% refers to the current users Application Data folder. By default, this is C:\Documents and Settings\<Current User>\Application Data for Windows 2000/XP. For Windows Vista and Windows 7 it is C:\Users\<Current User>\AppData\Roaming.

%CommonAppData% refers to the Application Data folder in the All Users profile. For Windows XP, Vista, NT, 2000 and 2003 it refers to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\, and for Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 it is C:\ProgramData.

View Associated WebsSearches.com Registry Information

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes\{33BB0A4E-99AF-4226-BDF6-49120163DE86} HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Browser Helper Objects\{3593C8B9-8E18-4B4B-B7D3-CB8BEB1AA42C} HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\webssearches uninstaller HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\WPM HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\supTab HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\supWPM HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\webssearchesSoftware HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wpm HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\IePluginService HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Wpm HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\BrowserEmulation "TLDUpdates" = "1" HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main "Default_Page_URL" = "http://istart.webssearches.com/?type=hp&ts=<timestamp>&from=<affiliate_id>&uid=<disk_id>" HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\TabbedBrowsing "NewTabPageShow" = "0" HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main "Start Page" = "http://istart.webssearches.com/?type=hp&ts=<timestamp>&from=<affiliate_id>&uid=<disk_id>" HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Clients\StartMenuInternet\FIREFOX.EXE\shell\open\command "(Default)" = "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe http://istart.webssearches.com/?type=sc&ts=<timestamp>&from=<affiliate_id>&uid=<disk_id>" HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Clients\StartMenuInternet\Google Chrome\shell\open\command "(Default)" = ""C:\Documents and Settings\Bleeping\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" http://istart.webssearches.com/?type=sc&ts=<timestamp>&from=<affiliate_id>&uid=<disk_id>" HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Clients\StartMenuInternet\IEXPLORE.EXE\shell\open\command "(Default)" = "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe http://istart.webssearches.com/?type=sc&ts=<timestamp>&from=<affiliate_id>&uid=<disk_id>" HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Clients\StartMenuInternet\Opera\shell\open\command "(Default)" = ""C:\Program Files\Opera\Opera.exe" http://istart.webssearches.com/?type=sc&ts=<timestamp>&from=<affiliate_id>&uid=<disk_id>" HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Clients\StartMenuInternet\Opera.exe\shell\open\command "(Default)" = ""C:\Program Files\Opera\Opera.exe" http://istart.webssearches.com/?type=sc&ts=<timestamp>&from=<affiliate_id>&uid=<disk_id>" = ""C:\Program Files\Safari\Safari.exe" http://istart.webssearches.com/?type=sc&ts=<timestamp>&from=<affiliate_id>&uid=<disk_id>" HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Clients\StartMenuInternet\SEAMONKEY.EXE\shell\open\command "(Default)" = "C:\Program Files\SeaMonkey\seamonkey.exe http://istart.webssearches.com/?type=sc&ts=<timestamp>&from=<affiliate_id>&uid=<disk_id>" HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main "Default_Search_URL" = "http://istart.webssearches.com/web/?type=ds&ts=<timestamp>&from=<affiliate_id>&uid=<disk_id>&q={searchTerms}" HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main "Search Page" = "http://istart.webssearches.com/web/?type=ds&ts=<timestamp>&from=<affiliate_id>&uid=<disk_id>&q={searchTerms}" HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main "Start Page" = "http://istart.webssearches.com/?type=hp&ts=<timestamp>&from=<affiliate_id>&uid=<disk_id>" HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Search "CustomizeSearch" = "http://istart.webssearches.com/web/?type=ds&ts=<timestamp>&from=<affiliate_id>&uid=<disk_id>&q={searchTerms}" HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Search "SearchAssistant" = "http://istart.webssearches.com/web/?type=ds&ts=<timestamp>&from=<affiliate_id>&uid=<disk_id>&q={searchTerms}" HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows "AppInit_DLLs" = "C:\PROGRA~1\SupTab\SEARCH~1.DLL"

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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