As the problem of malicious browser extensions such as Snap.do is on the rise, turning into one of today’s top cyber threats in the wild, this guide addresses this particular issue from the security perspective. Hence the tutorial provides a thorough analysis of Snap.do adware – where it comes from and how it operates – dissects its actual goals, and highlights the methods that help effectively remove it.
In the context of this particular matter, the main troublemaker is the Snapdo Smartbar – a browser add-on marketed as an object that facilitates quite a few facets of everyday Internet surfing. Despite the commendable goals declared by its authors, this extension definitely exceeds the bounds of reasonable intrusiveness that might be exhibited by legitimate applications of this sort. On the one hand, this software adds a button next to the address bar, which allegedly enables online searching, sharing and other essential features with a single click. On the other – the users find themselves trapped in a scenario of persistent recurrent visits to a web service they did not choose to use.
Let’s break this down into details. If you happen to get the Snap.do extension added to your browser, the critical web surfing settings get changed without you being asked. In particular, the homepage that you specified as well as the default online search provider get modified to Search.snap.do. The latter is a search service that is literally imposed upon the affected user, becoming a number one URL visited on the contaminated computer. What makes things worse, trying to change these defaults back to where they were is not something that brings a desired result. The wrong configuration comes back either immediately or the next time you launch your web browser.
It’s worth noting that many users are falling victim to this pest by directly downloading the Snap.do app. It’s well-advertised by the vendor and does appear to be a neat solution on the outside. Also, the quick search features, where all you need to do is click on the magnifying glass after highlighting some word or text fragment; as well as built-in social networking capabilities – these things might make Snapdo Smartbar a lure. However, along with direct installs, there are lots of cases where users download a third-party application which contains a bundle with Snap.do (often as an opt-out). Examples of such software include plugins, freeware, shareware, torrents, codecs, etc.
What are the authors of this adware motivated by? One simple answer is Money. Their earnings are ensured through sponsored links at Search.snap.do as well as the collected user information such as search preferences and the like. Now that the essentials of this malicious software are clear, it’s obvious that it does not belong inside your PC. A well-balanced removal workflow is what you can learn from the information below.
Use automatic solution to remove Snap.do virus
The issue of Snap.do 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 Snap.do 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. Snap.do virus should now be gone from your PC.
Uninstall the 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 of installed software and search for Snap.do. Once the culprit entry is found, select it and click Uninstall.
Manual removal of Snap.do 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.
Snap.do removal 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 Snap.Do entry and select Disable from the context menu.
• On the same interface, select Search Providers under Add-on Types. Right-click on the Web Search item associated with Snap.do adware 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 Search.snap.do each time you open the browser, right-click on it, then hit the Shortcut tab.
Go ahead and erase http://feed.snap.do or other similar string from the Target section. Save the changes.
• Browser 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.
Snap.do removal from 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 snapdo in the Search field.
• All Firefox preferences related to Snap.do / Snapdo will be returned as a list. Right-click every single entry and select Reset for those.
• Just like in 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://feed.snap.do or similar-looking string from the Target field. Be sure to save the changes.
Snap.do removal from Google Chrome
• Click on the Chrome menu icon in the top right-hand part of the Chrome 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 associated with Snap.do and click the X button as shown on the image below.
• 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 Search.snapdo.com from the list by clicking on the X button next to it and choose a different
search service to use further on by default.
• Return to the Chrome menu and select Tools. Click on the Extensions menu in the left-hand part of the page. Locate Snap.Do 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://feed.snapdo.com or similar
string with 'snapdo' in its URL from the Target field. Now save the changes.
Make sure Snap.do virus has vanished
When it comes to persistent threats, double-checking never hurts. Therefore it’s highly recommended to complete Snap.do cleanup process with a final scan that will once again look for any potential bits and pieces of the infection.