The iStartsurf.com website/extension (by Greensky Technology Co.) promises to enhance Google Search displayed results with related content – pictures, videos, maps, news, and stock quotes. As nice as it sounds, iStartsurf.com is nothing more than a browser hijacker. It’s similar to Astromenda, Tuvaro, or Conduit – sites that install themselves and take over the default search engine, alter the search results you see, and track data about your online surfing habits.
Istartsurf Com Virus quicklinks
- What is iStartsurf.com?
- The signs of the iStartSurf.com virus
- How did you get the iStartSurf.com infection?
- How to remove the iStarsurf.com virus completely
- Automatic Malware removal tools
- How to uninstall iStartsurf.com free
- How to remove iStartsurf.com using Windows Control Panel
- How to remove iStartsurf.com from macOS
Whether you installed iStartsurf.com voluntarily (unlikely) or it hijacked your browser without permission, the fate of this browser virus should be obvious – permanent removal. At the end of this article, you will find the instructions for how to get rid of the iStartSurf virus quickly and for free. But first, an explanation for how this browser hijacker works. So without further ado, let’s get straight to the answers.
What is iStartsurf.com?
Your first encounter with iStartsurf.com may have been very sudden and unexpected and that is because this displayed website is the visual part of the virus that your computer is infected with. This threat that is causing the different browser’s homepage, slower search, more ads, and pop-ups, is called a browser hijacker and most likely is installed as an extension on your Chrome, Edge, or Firefox. Browser hijackers like istartsurf.com is not technically a full virus, however, it does have the ability to do some damage to the system, expose computer’s vulnerabilities to other malware and etc.
Though iStartSurf is not really a virus, it should be uninstalled to prevent it from causing security problems and flooding the browser with ads:
|Symptoms of an iStartSurf infection||The home page looks different,
unexpected sites return web search results,
the results take longer to load,
you might see more ads than you’re used to,
extensions come back after being removed.
|How iStartSurf gets installed||It’s installed by other software as an optional offer,
it’s advertised online.
|Why hijackers are dangerous||Your browsing data can be exposed to advertisers,
too many ads interfere with browsing and slow everything down,
low-quality ads can lead to malicious content,
there is no way to customize the home page or the search settings.
|Remove iStartSurf||Delete malware using antivirus programs (SpyHunter for PC, SpyHunter for Mac, Malwarebytes, Combo Cleaner for Mac),
manually uninstall unwanted browser extensions.
iStartSurf.com is most prevalent in Brazil, Mexico, and Poland, but also affecting quite a few countries in Asia. It is closely related to another browser hijacker by the same company, Delta-homes.com, which can infect users at the same time as iStartSurf.com. This hijacker has been active for several years, though now its popularity is dropping significantly. In June 2018, iStartSurf.com had around 2.87 million visits total, which was almost 1 million visits less than January 2018. In September 2019, it had even fewer visits – only 1.43 million. In May 2021 it hovers around 800,000 visits. Yet it is still a pretty common and annoying virtual parasite that’s persistently clinging to some people’s browsers and interfering with their browsing.
The signs of the iStartSurf.com virus
Here are a few things you might notice if iStartSurf.com hijacked your browser:
- Your browser’s homepage and search engine changed to iStartSurf.com,
- your browser takes a bit more time to show search results,
- you might encounter obnoxious pop-up ads and redirects to unwanted sites,
- website layouts look different, new ads are placed in unusual spots.
Greensky Technology Co., Limited (“Greensky”) collects personal information when you use the Greensky product. Greensky is the sole owner of the information collected by the Greensky product.
Greensky uses information for the following general purposes: to customize the search results on selected search engines, to customize sponsored results (which are always clearly labeled as such) on Greensky’s search engine, to improve our services, and to provide anonymous, aggregate reporting for internal and external clients.
We tie your personally identifiable information to information in the profile in order to provide tailored search results and sponsored results for you. We share your profile with other third parties in aggregate form only. We share aggregated demographic information about our user base with our partners. As is true of most Web sites, we gather certain information automatically and store it in log files. This information includes internet protocol (IP) addresses, browser type, operating system, date/time stamp, and click stream data.
We use this information, which does not identify individual users, to analyze trends, to administer the site, to track users’ movements around the site and to gather demographic information about our user base as a whole. We do not link this automatically-collected data to personally identifiable information.
When you execute a query on selected search engines, the Greensky product may make additional network connections to the search engine and execute additional queries. The additional network connections may cause you to exceed a search engine’s bandwidth limit more quickly.
The ads that we deliver to users may be provided by our advertising partners. We share Web site usage information about users with reputable third parties for the purpose of targeting our advertisements on this site. The information that our advertising partners collect is not personally identifiable.
Since iStarSurf.com acts like a virus, it’s not unreasonable to doubt the ethics of the people pushing it. A lot of sensitive, personal data is available to iStarSurf.com. Browser plugins have a whole lot of control over the browser, some can even see what passwords you type into text fields. While iStartSurf is not as malicious as something like FacexWorm, it’s always good to be careful of allowing untrustworthy plugins access to your browser.
How did you get the iStartSurf.com infection?
People don’t knowingly install iStarSurf.com, normally. But browser hijackers don’t just appear out of the blue. So how does the infection spread?
The trick that iStartSurf.com and many other browser hijackers use is bundling.
Many freeware distributing websites earn revenue by collaborate with third-party applications like iStartSurf which pay well to be compiled with popular software installers. So, people who only wanted to download some free program end up installing iStarSurf.com without realizing it.
Take a look at this HowToGeek.com to see why it is not recommended to use any shareware/freeware websites and this post on . The internet isn’t always safe, there are peddlers of fake programs trying to force on people worthless products, and iStartSurf.com falls into this category.
Whenever you install freeware, make sure to always patiently check every installation page and pick the Custom setup mode which allows you to pick what programs you want in your PC/Mac. To be fair, the options to refuse the bundled junkware are intentionally well-hidden so that most people fail to notice them, even if they’re being careful.
How to remove the iStarsurf.com virus completely
The best way to get rid of iStartSurf.com depends on how persistent the virus variant is.
Sometimes it is enough to just delete it from the infected browser. Other times it is so invasive that, no matter how hard you try to delete it manually, iStartSurf.com will consistently come back after a day or two. The only solution then would be the full system restore, which is a very drastic decision and not necessary if you know better methods. Antivirus programs can help get rid of malicious software.
Malicious programs can be removed using competent anti-malware programs that detect PUPs as well as malware. One of these security programs is Spyhunter for Windows/Spyhunter for Mac. This Enigma Sofware product is one of the leaders in malware removal applications because it has a constantly updated virus database (it can catch threats that are very old, as well as those that are brand new), elaborate virus identification and reliable riddance without leaving a trace or leftovers. Another tool that we want to mention is Malwarebytes. While this product is also really good at spotting mild malware. Combo Cleaner is also great at removing malicious applications from Macs.
Automatic Malware removal tools
As we mentioned before, automatic removal is a great choice no matter what virus you have, yet there are certain situations where simply deleting the malevolent software from the Control Panel or Chrome/Applications and etc. is more than enough to get rid of the iStartSurf.com parasite. Below we have put all the details and instructions you need in order to uninstall iStartSurf.com without any additional antivirus applications. It’s easy to manually remove a plugin, and if you’re lucky, it won’t come back.
How to uninstall iStartsurf.com free
How to remove iStartsurf.com using Windows Control PanelMany hijackers and adware like Hotwww.istartsurf.com install some of their components as regular Windows programs as well as additional software. This part of malware can be uninstalled from the Control Panel. To access it, do the following.
- Start→Control Panel (older Windows) or press Windows Key→Search and enter Control Panel and then press Enter (Windows 8, Windows 10).
- Choose Uninstall Program (if you don't see it, click in the upper right next to "View by" and select Category).
- Go through the list of programs and select entries related to IStartSurf . You can click on "Name" or "Installed On" to reorder your programs and make iStartsurf.com Virus easier to find.
- Click the Uninstall button. If you're asked if you really want to remove the program, click Yes.
- In many cases anti-malware programs are better at detecting related parasites, thus I recommend installing Spyhunter to identify other programs that might be a part of this infection.
How to remove iStartsurf.com from macOSDelete Hotwww.istartsurf.com from your applications.
- Open Finder.
- In the menu bar, click Go.
- Select Applications from the dropdown.
- Find the IStartSurf app.
- Select it and right-click it (or hold the Ctrl and click the left mouse button).
- In the dropdown, click Move to Bin/Trash. You might be asked to provide your login password.
TopHow To remove iStartsurf.com Virus from Google Chrome:
- Click on the 3 horizontal lines icon on a browser toolbar and Select More Tools→Extensions
- Select all malicious extensions and delete them.
- Click on the 3 horizontal lines icon on a browser toolbar and Select Settings
- Select Manage Search engines
- Remove unnecessary search engines from the list
- Go back to settings. On Startup choose Open blank page (you can remove undesired pages from the set pages link too).
- If your homepage was changed, click on Chrome menu on the top right corner, select Settings. Select Open a specific page or set of pages and click on Set pages.
- Delete malicious search websites at a new Startup pages window by clicking “X” next to them.
(Optional) Reset your browser’s settings
If you are still experiencing any issues related to Hotwww.istartsurf.com, reset the settings of your browser to its default settings.
- Click on a Chrome’s menu button (three horizontal lines) and select Settings.
- Scroll to the end of the page and click on theReset browser settings button.
- Click on the Reset button on the confirmation box.
If you cannot reset your browser settings and the problem persists, scan your system with an anti-malware program.
How To remove iStartsurf.com Virus from Firefox:Top
- Click on the menu button on the top right corner of a Mozilla window and select the “Add-ons” icon (Or press Ctrl+Shift+A on your keyboard).
- Go through Extensions and Addons list, remove everything iStartsurf.com Virus related and items you do not recognise. If you do not know the extension and it is not made by Mozilla, Google, Microsoft, Oracle or Adobe then you probably do not need it.
- If your homepage was changed, click on the Firefox menu in the top right corner, select Options → General. Enter a preferable URL to the homepage field and click Restore to Default.
- Click on the menu button on the top right corner of a Mozilla Firefox window. Click on the Help button.
- ChooseTroubleshooting Information on the Help menu.
- Click on theReset Firefox button.
- Click on the Reset Firefox button on the confirmation box. Mozilla Firefox will close and change the settings to default.
How to remove iStartsurf.com Virus from Microsoft Edge:Top
- Click on the menu button on the top right corner of a Microsoft Edge window. Select “Extensions”.
- Select all malicious extensions and delete them.
- Click on the three-dot menu on the browser toolbar and Select Settings
- Select Privacy and Services and scroll down. Press on Address bar.
- Choose Manage search engines.
- Remove unnecessary search engines from the list: open the three-dot menu and choose Remove.
- Go back to Settings. Open On start-up.
- Delete malicious search websites at Open specific page or pages by opening the three-dot menu and clicking Delete.
- Click on Edge's menu button and select Settings. Click on the Reset Settings button on the left.
- Press the Restore settings to their default values option.
- Click on the Reset button on the confirmation box.
How to remove iStartsurf.com Virus from Safari:TopRemove malicious extensions
- Click on Safari menu on the top left corner of the screen. Select Preferences.
- Select Extensions and uninstall IStartSurf and other suspicious extensions.
- If your homepage was changed, click on Safari menu on the top left corner of the screen. Select Preferences and choose General tab. Enter preferable URL to the homepage field.
- Click on Safari menu on the top left corner of the screen. Select Reset Safari…
- Select which options you want to reset (usually all of them come preselected) and click on the Reset button.