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Danger level 7
Type: Browser Hijackers
Common infection symptoms:
  • Hijacks homepage
  • Changes default search engine


If your web browser’s homepage has been changed to Planet-surf.com, then you should know that your computer has been infected with a browser hijacker that you have to remove. In most cases this particular browser hijacker comes bundled with a program called Emotiplus, but it can also come with other programs as well. Furthermore, the installer allows you to opt out from installing Planet-surf.com and its accompanying browser extension for Internet Explorer. Once on your computer, this hijacker will hijack your browser’s homepage and set its address. It does that in an effort to make you use it as a search engine and make money for its developers in the process. However, this hijacker’s promotions can jeopardize your computer’s security and serve as a means for more malware to infect your PC.

We tried to find as much information about this hijacker as possible, and we had some success. We have found that Planet-surf.com was developed by a company based in France. However, this company did not digitally sign this search engine/browser hijacker which leads us to believe that this was done on purpose to avoid unwanted attention. Take note that this same developer also released other browser hijackers that include names such as Secure-surf.com, Explorary.com, and Secury-surf.com. Therefore, we conclude that this developer has been around for some time, and more hijackers are sure to follow.

We have found that usually Secury-surf.com comes bundled with various applications that are distributed on freeware hosting websites. Our research has revealed that this particular browser hijacker can come bundled with an application called Emotiplus. This application offers its users additional emoticons for Skype, and it is featured on Emotiplus.com. This application was released by a company called Development Media 73 which is known to have released several shady search engines. In the case of Emotiplus, you have the choice to remove this hijacker from the installation. Apart from this program, Planet-surf.com might also come with other applications that do not let you choose whether you want to install it. Therefore, we regard its distribution methods as malicious, and this is the main reason Planet-surf.com was classified as a browser hijacker. Unsanctioned actions performed by it must not be tolerated. Nevertheless, this hijacker has more serious problems.

Let us discuss how this hijacker works in greater detail. When you install its accompanying browser extension for Internet Explorer called Planet Surf Toolbar it will ask whether you want to set Planet-surf.com as your browser’s homepage (note that the offer will be presented in French.) If you agree, then it will replace the current homepage, and you will start to use it as your main search engine. Planet-surf.com uses search results of Yahoo.com, but the problem is that the results can include promotional links that may not always be safe. Due to this hijacker’s secretive developers and deceptive distribution tactics, it is reasonable to think that it can promote illicit malicious content as it makes the developers the same amount of money, if not more. We assume that the whole purpose of this hijacker is to generate advertising revenue and the same can be said about its clones.

We have also found that this hijacker may collect information about you which includes your IP address, Internet Service Provider, system information, browsing history and search history. All of this information is used to customize the advertising campaign and present you with ads you might want to check out, but they may be deceptive, and your PC might get infected with adware, such as CrunchTravel or QuantumCoupons, which will further compromise your computer’s security and open up new possibilities for other malware. This is no laughing matter, so the sooner you get rid of this infection, the better.

To sum up, Planet-surf.com can be used as a search engine, but it is bound to include promotional links in its search results. Therefore, it is an unreliable search engine and due to the fact that it is distributed in a deceptive manner, it was classified as a browser hijacker. Therefore, we recommend that your reset Internet Explorer to default. However, if that does not work, then we recommend using our alternative manual removal guide.

Option 1: reset Internet Explorer to default

  1. Simultaneously press Alt+T and click Internet Options.
  2. Open the Advanced tab and click Reset.
  3. Tick Delete personal settings.
  4. Click Reset.
  5. Close

Option 2: remove this hijacker manually

  1. Simultaneously press Windows+E keys.
  2. In the resulting window’s address box type in the following directories.
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\PlanetSurf
    • C:\Users\user\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\36iwse76.default\extensions\toolbar@planet-surf.com
  3. Delete these directories.
  4. Then, open Internet Explorer.
  5. Press Alt+T keys.
  6. Click Internet Options and enter a new homepage in the address bar.
  7. Click OK and press the Alt+T keys again.
  8. Select Manage Add-ons and click Search Providers.
  9. Choose another search engine and click Close.
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