Search Protect is one of those applications whose activity doesn’t nearly match the name. Designed by Conduit, a well-known dubious software-making company, this browser extension automatically replaces the values set by the user for the custom homepage and preferred search provider.
This cyber threat infiltrates a computer with clearly affiliated apps such as the Community Toolbar, Conduit Apps Toolbar, or as a bundle to multimedia freeware. When Search Protect gets into a PC, it exhibits its cross-browser capabilities by affecting all the respective software installed, including Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and MS Internet Explorer. The Conduit Search Protect application is able to block other browser hikackers and plgins from changing your homepage and search settings.
Having added the potentially unsafe browser helper object, this adware secures its reign in the victim’s online environment in that it drives traffic to a specific web page, namely Search.conduit.com. It is effectively a search system powered by a legitimate engine; however the returned search results appear to include sponsored links and ads above the fold. The latter fact makes it clear what the business model behind this annoying software is: it’s a strictly commercial project tailored for acquiring advertising profit. Unfortunately, the methodology being leveraged for reaching this goal is far from ethical.
The additional problem for the affected user, aside from the obvious “nuisance” aspect, is that privacy turns out to be largely at stake because the Search Protect adware collects personal data such as search preferences, general web browsing activities, and access geolocation information. This infection may also increase the web page loading time.
Consequently, there’s barely any other judicious approach here but immediate removal of Search Protect by Conduit from the computer system that has been attacked. For the efficiency purpose, it’s important that the cleanup be in compliance with the procedure designed by InfoSec professionals.
It is wise to pay close attention when installing any program. A software installer frequently contains optional installs, just like this Conduit Search. Be extremely careful what you agree to install. Select the custom installation and uncheck anything that is not recognizable, primarily additional software that you never really planned to download and install from the beginning.