The intrusive browser extension causing constant redirects to istartsurf.com is the subject matter of this article. Learn the corrupt characteristics of this adware program, its propagation peculiarities as well as the instructions to remove the iStartSurf hijacker and restore the browsing preferences that it modified in an unauthorized manner.
Adware is nowhere to be found on the list of destructive virus types, but due to its steadily increasing proliferation and intrusiveness these unwanted programs have been at the top of the prevalent malware hierarchy for years. Pursuing the objective to deliver advertisements to victims, adware apps employ fairly aggressive techniques such as replacing browser preferences with other values and modifying shortcut settings on the affected system. The entity called iStartSurf does the above while completely discarding one of the essentials of computing – the user consent.
Since no one wants to get hijacked by a piece of malicious code on the Internet, iStartSurf sticks to an intricate propagation model. Its payload is mainly included in the setup for third-party software in a way that makes it presence obscure. Applications like free toolbars, system players, video downloaders or spoof updates to critical software are the main disseminators of this malady. As long as you go with the default installation option, the adware might well be there.
The potentially unwanted program in question changes such custom browser settings as the start page, new tab page and default search engine. These get a new value of iStartSurf.com replacing the original ones. The virus also changes the shortcut configuration for Firefox, Internet Explorer and Chrome so that the act of launching these browsers will end you up on the above-mentioned landing page. The same may happen to shortcuts for arbitrary applications running on the computer. It gets therefore obvious that this adware app seeks to retrieve web traffic from the PCs it’s on, but what’s the point? It’s all about ads – the banners and links to external resources displayed on the target page. Statistically, some users will end up clicking on those, which is how the adware authors get their reward for the leads.
Whereas the virus makers are commercially incentivized by the success of this scheme, the victims of this fraud get their browsing paralyzed. The fix for this problem lies entirely in the context of iStartSurf removal.
Use automatic solution to remove iStartSurf virus
The issue of iStartSurf adware hijacking a web browser can be effectively resolved if you use trusted security software. Along with the apparent ease of such removal, other benefits include thoroughness of virus detection and elimination from all system locations it might have affected. Please follow these steps:
1. Download and install iStartSurf removal tool. Run the application and select Start Computer Scan option in order to have your computer checked for adware, viruses, Trojans, and other malicious objects.
2. When the scan is complete, it will return a list with results on what infections have been found. Go ahead and click Fix Threats to completely get rid of the detected items. The iStartSurf virus should now be gone from your PC.
Uninstall malicious program via Control Panel
• Go to Control Panel on the infected computer. On Windows XP / Windows 8, proceed to Add or Remove Programs.
On Windows Vista / Windows 7, select Uninstall a program
• Review the list and search for iStartSurf or any recently installed free programs that you aren’t sure to be safe (possibly WPM, GlobalUpdate, HQPure). Once the culprit entry is found, select it and click Change/Remove or Uninstall/Change.
Manual removal of iStartSurf.com virus from the affected browsers
This section will cover step-by-step instructions for deleting the specific objects (add-ons, search providers), restoring the correct defaults and modifying shortcut settings for the major web browsers: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome.
Uninstall iStartSurf from Internet Explorer
• Click on the Gear icon / Tools in IE and select Manage add-ons
• On the list of Add-on types, select Toolbars and Extensions. Right-click on the iStartSurf entry and select Disable from the context menu
• On the same interface, select Search Providers under Add-on Types. Right-click on the iStartSurf
item and choose Remove as shown on the image below. In addition, select a different search engine you would like to use
• In order to prevent the IE shortcut from launching iStartSurf.com each time you open the browser, right-click on it, select Properties
and then hit the Shortcut tab. Go ahead and erase http://www.istartsurf.com from the Target section. Save the changes
• IE homepage can be restored in the following way: click on the Gear icon / Tools and select Internet Options.
Go to General tab and enter the preferred home URL
Uninstall iStartSurf from Mozilla Firefox
• Type about:config in the URL area and press Enter
• Click "I’ll be careful, I promise!" on the warning that gets displayed to confirm the configuration change intensions
• Type istartsurf in the Search field
• All Firefox preferences related to iStartSurf will be returned as a list. Right-click every single entry and select Reset for those
• Just like in the case with Internet Explorer outlined above, now you need to get your browser shortcut working the right way. Right-click
on the Firefox shortcut and select Properties. Proceed to the Shortcut tab and delete http://www.istartsurf.com from
the Target field. Be sure to save the changes
Uninstall iStartSurf from Google Chrome
• Click on the Chrome menu icon in the top right-hand part of the window, and select Settings
• On the screen that opened, look for the section called On startup and click on the radio button for Open a specific page or set of pages.
Then click on the Set pages option
• Locate the entry for iStartSurf and click the X button next to it
• Now go to the Appearance section under Settings. Put a check mark next to Show Home button
and click on the Change option
• Select Use the New Tab page and save the changes
• Proceed now to the Search field under Settings. Select Manage search engines.
Remove iStartSurf from the list by clicking on the X button next to it and choose a different search service to use by default further on
• Return to the Chrome menu and select Tools. Click on the Extensions menu in the left-hand part of the page. Locate iStartSurf and click on the respective trash bin icon to eliminate the bad add-on
• Now right-click on the Chrome shortcut icon and choose Parameters. Hit the Shortcut tab at the top and erase
http://www.istartsurf.com from the Target field. Save the changes
Make sure the iStartSurf virus has vanished
When it comes to persistent threats, double-checking never hurts. Therefore it’s highly recommended to complete the iStartSurf cleanup process with a final scan that will once again look for any potential bits and pieces of the infection