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

Search Secretly

If you have installed Search Secretly on your Chrome web browser, then we want to inform you that this particular extension has been classified as a browser hijacker due to the fact that it can replace your browser’s homepage and new tab page addresses without your consent. For this reason, alone you ought to remove it. However, there is more to this hijacker. We have found that it can collect non-personally identifiable and use it to present you with personalized, ad-supported search results. Therefore, its featured search engine cannot guarantee you a reliable service because its primary focus is generating advertising revenue. Please continue reading to find out more.

If your PC becomes infected with Search Secretly or you install it yourself, then it will take control of your web browser’s homepage settings and replace the homepage address and new tab page address. Its developers want you to use its features search engine Searchsecretly.net to search the web. Note that it redirects all search queries to a custom Yahoo search engine that can feature promotional links of unverified legitimacy. These links can come from unknown and, thus, unreliable sources and can jeopardize your privacy and your computer’s security.

Another thing we want to note is that Searchsecretly.net can gather certain information about you. Its privacy policy states that it can obtain your IP address, but we think that it can do much more than that. Realistically, this search engine can obtain your search queries, browsing history, operating system type, and so on. Not only that, but this hijacker’s developers can also share this information with third-parties. The privacy policy states that “From time to time, we may provide some of the personal information that we collected to trusted business partners that work on behalf of or with Visicom under confidentiality agreements which cover our users' personal information as well as guarantees that our partner provides the same level of protection to your information as our organization does.” As you can see, this hijacker will collect information and share it with third parties to generate as much advertising revenue as possible.

We were not surprised to find out that Search Secretly was developed by a company known as Visicom Media because this company has previously released browser extensions such as MyStart Toolbar and AllMyWeb Toolbar which were also centered on advertising and were highly unreliable. Nevertheless, the developers managed to get this hijacker onto the Chrome Web Store. The store promotes this browser extension as a program that allows searching the web anonymously which is not true. Neither this application nor Searchsecretly.net will allow you to search the web privately. However, we also think that this might not be the only method used to distribute Search Secretly. We have received unconfirmed reports that this application comes bundled with third-party installers featured on freeware websites. These installers are said to install Search Secretly onto your PC without your knowledge or consent, but you might be able to deselect the installation by opting for advanced or custom installation settings.

We hope you found this article useful because Search Secretly is not a useful or reliable browser extension. It is nothing more than a browser hijacker whose primary objective is to replace your browser’s homepage and show you promotional links in the search results. There is no way of knowing whether the promoted content is safe to interact with and given Search Secretly’s shady origins it is likely that may not be the case. So you should consider removing this malicious browser extension and its featured search engine.

How to remove Search Secretly

  1. Open Google Chrome.
  2. Hold down Alt+F.
  3. Open More tools.
  4. Select Extensions.
  5. Find Search Secretly and click Remove.
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