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Removal instructions for Search Expanse

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What is Search Expanse?

The Malwarebytes research team has determined that Search Expanse is a browser hijacker of the Yontoo family. These so-called "hijackers" manipulate your browser(s), for example to change your startpage or searchscopes, so that the affected browser visits their site or one of their choice. This one also displays advertisements.

How do I know if my computer is affected by Search Expanse?

This is how the first screen of the installer looks:


And you may see this Firefox extension:

Firefox disables the unsigned Extension

and this entry in your list of installed programs:


How did Search Expanse get on my computer?

Browser hijackers use different methods for distributing themselves. This particular one was bundled with other software.

How do I remove Search Expanse?

Our program Malwarebytes Anti-Malware can detect and remove this potentially unwanted application.
  • Please download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to your desktop.
  • Double-click mbam-setup-version.exe and follow the prompts to install the program.
  • At the end, be sure a check-mark is placed next to the following:
    • Enable free trial of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium
    • Launch Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
  • Then click Finish.
  • If an update is found, you will be prompted to download and install the latest version.
  • Once the program has loaded, select Scan Now. Or select the Threat Scan from the Scan menu.
  • When the scan is complete, make sure that all Threats are selected, and click Remove Selected.
  • Restart your computer when prompted to do so.
Is there anything else I need to do to get rid of Search Expanse?
  • No, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware removes Search Voyage completely.
How would the full version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware help protect me?

We hope our application and this guide have helped you eradicate this hijacker.

As you can see below the full version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware would have protected you against the Search Expanse hijacker. It would have warned you before the application could install itself, giving you a chance to stop it before it became too late.


Technical details for experts

Possible signs in FRST logs:
 FF Extension: Search Expanse - C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\{profile}.default\Extensions\firefox@www.searchexpanse.com.xpi [2016-05-12] [not signed]
 C:\Program Files (x86)\Search Expanse

Search Expanse (HKLM-x32\...\Search Expanse) (Version: 2.0.5973.7423 - Search Expanse) <==== ATTENTION
Alterations made by the installer:

File system details [View: All details] (Selection)
    Adds the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Search Expanse
       Adds the file 7za.exe"="5/7/2016 12:44 AM, 536064 bytes, A
       Adds the file Uninstaller.exe"="5/9/2016 1:07 PM, 357456 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Search Expanse\Extensions
       Adds the file firefox@www.searchexpanse.com.xpi"="5/12/2016 6:16 AM, 9207 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\{profile}.default\extensions
       Adds the file firefox@www.searchexpanse.com.xpi"="5/12/2016 6:16 AM, 9207 bytes, A

Registry details [View: All details] (Selection)
       "(Default)"="REG_SZ", "1"
       "{99415057-7C50-439D-AA20-02D83C071B61}"="REG_SZ", "{99415057-7C50-439D-AA20-02D83C071B61}"
       "1"="REG_SZ", ""
       "(Default)"="REG_SZ", "72d9f61b-0793-429e-a28e-22608e43a1b4"
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\Search Expanse]
       "DisplayIcon"="REG_SZ", ""C:\Program Files (x86)\Search Expanse\uninstaller.exe""
       "DisplayName"="REG_SZ", "Search Expanse"
       "DisplayVersion"="REG_SZ", "2.0.5973.7423"
       "EstimatedSize"="REG_DWORD", 881
       "HelpLink"="REG_SZ", "mailto:"
       "InstallDate"="REG_SZ", "20160513"
       "InstallLocation"="REG_SZ", "C:\Program Files (x86)\Search Expanse"
       "NoModify"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "NoRepair"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "Publisher"="REG_SZ", "Search Expanse"
       "QuietUninstallString"="REG_SZ", ""C:\Program Files (x86)\Search Expanse\uninstaller.exe""
       "UninstallString"="REG_SZ", ""C:\Program Files (x86)\Search Expanse\uninstaller.exe""
       "URLInfoAbout"="REG_SZ", "http://www.searchexpanse.com/support"
       "URLUpdateInfo"="REG_SZ", "http://www.searchexpanse.com"
       "cg"="REG_SZ", "72d9f61b-0793-429e-a28e-22608e43a1b4"
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware log:
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

Scan Date: 5/13/2016
Scan Time: 9:10 AM
Logfile: mbamSearchExpanse.txt
Administrator: Yes

Malware Database: v2016.05.13.02
Rootkit Database: v2016.05.06.01
License: Premium
Malware Protection: Disabled
Malicious Website Protection: Enabled
Self-protection: Enabled

OS: Windows 7 Service Pack 1
CPU: x64
File System: NTFS
User: {username}

Scan Type: Threat Scan
Result: Completed
Objects Scanned: 310877
Time Elapsed: 8 min, 8 sec

Memory: Enabled
Startup: Enabled
Filesystem: Enabled
Archives: Enabled
Rootkits: Enabled
Heuristics: Enabled
PUP: Enabled
PUM: Enabled

Processes: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Modules: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Registry Keys: 6
PUP.Optional.Yontoo, HKLM\SOFTWARE\WOW6432NODE\CLASSES\CLSID\{99415057-7C50-439D-AA20-02D83C071B61}, Quarantined, [91d58154adec1026ab21fb4e9a68ac54], 
PUP.Optional.Yontoo, HKLM\SOFTWARE\CLASSES\WOW6432NODE\CLSID\{99415057-7C50-439D-AA20-02D83C071B61}, Quarantined, [91d58154adec1026ab21fb4e9a68ac54], 
PUP.Optional.Yontoo, HKLM\SOFTWARE\WOW6432NODE\CLASSES\CLSID\{F83D1872-D9FF-47F8-B5A0-49CC51E24EE8}, Quarantined, [a0c6884d8c0d9a9cb815a3a646bc4db3], 
PUP.Optional.Yontoo, HKLM\SOFTWARE\CLASSES\WOW6432NODE\CLSID\{F83D1872-D9FF-47F8-B5A0-49CC51E24EE8}, Quarantined, [a0c6884d8c0d9a9cb815a3a646bc4db3], 
PUP.Optional.BrowseFox, HKLM\SOFTWARE\WOW6432NODE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS\CURRENTVERSION\UNINSTALL\Search Expanse, Quarantined, [6cfa72636a2fc2749854903b59a8e818], 
PUP.Optional.Yontoo, HKLM\SOFTWARE\WOW6432NODE\SearchExpanse, Quarantined, [26402ca9b5e4310585ab557e33d02ed2], 

Registry Values: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Registry Data: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Folders: 2
PUP.Optional.Yontoo, C:\Program Files (x86)\Search Expanse, Quarantined, [8ed832a39efb49edfdf99c049072956b], 
PUP.Optional.Yontoo, C:\Program Files (x86)\Search Expanse\Extensions, Quarantined, [8ed832a39efb49edfdf99c049072956b], 

Files: 4
PUP.Optional.BrowseFox, C:\Users\{username}\Desktop\SearchExpance.exe, Quarantined, [f86e24b19108d85efeee9d2e08f9a65a], 
PUP.Optional.BrowseFox, C:\Program Files (x86)\Search Expanse\Uninstaller.exe, Quarantined, [6cfa72636a2fc2749854903b59a8e818], 
PUP.Optional.Yontoo, C:\Program Files (x86)\Search Expanse\7za.exe, Quarantined, [8ed832a39efb49edfdf99c049072956b], 
PUP.Optional.Yontoo, C:\Program Files (x86)\Search Expanse\Extensions\firefox@www.searchexpanse.com.xpi, Quarantined, [8ed832a39efb49edfdf99c049072956b], 

Physical Sectors: 0
(No malicious items detected)

As mentioned before the full version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware could have protected your computer against this threat.
We use different ways of protecting your computer(s):
  • Dynamically Blocks Malware Sites & Servers
  • Malware Execution Prevention
Save yourself the hassle and get protected.
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