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What is Search Assistant?

The Malwarebytes research team has determined that Search Assistant is a search hijacker and forced Chrome extension.

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

You may see these warnings during install:

warning1.png

warning2.png

warning3.png

You will see this entry in your list of installed Chrome extensions:

main.png

and this altered setting:

warning4.png

and this new search bar:

warning5.png

How did Search Assistant get on my computer?
Forced extensions use a typical method for distributing themselves. It originated from this website:

website.png

This particular one was also available in the webstore.

webstore.png

How do I remove Search Assistant?

Our program Malwarebytes can detect and remove this unwanted program.

  • Please download Malwarebytes to your desktop.
  • Double-click mb3-setup-consumer-{version}.exe and follow the prompts to install the program.
  • Then click Finish.
  • Once the program has fully updated, select Scan Now on the Dashboard. Or select the Threat Scan from the Scan menu.
  • If another update of the definitions is available, it will be implemented before the rest of the scanning procedure.
  • 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 Assistant?

  • No, Malwarebytes removes Search Assistant completely.

How would the full version of Malwarebytes help protect me?

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

We protect our customers from these extensions by blocking the sites that spread them.

Technical details for experts

Possible signs in FRST logs:
 

CHR DefaultSearchURL: Default -> hxxp://realeasysearch.com/srch/?keyword={searchTerms}
CHR DefaultSearchKeyword: Default -> find
CHR Extension: (Search Assistant) - C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg [2018-07-05]

Alterations made by the installer:
 

File system details [View: All details] (Selection)
---------------------------------------------------
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0
       Adds the file background.js"="6/29/2018 12:25 PM, 379875 bytes, A
       Adds the file index.html"="6/29/2018 12:08 PM, 1509 bytes, A
       Adds the file manifest.json"="7/5/2018 11:36 AM, 1448 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\_metadata
       Adds the file computed_hashes.json"="7/5/2018 11:36 AM, 7556 bytes, A
       Adds the file verified_contents.json"="6/29/2018 12:13 PM, 2408 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\css
       Adds the file style.css"="8/21/2017 10:38 PM, 5389 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\icons
       Adds the file 128.png"="7/5/2018 11:36 AM, 4518 bytes, A
       Adds the file 19.png"="7/5/2018 11:36 AM, 778 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\img
       Adds the file close.png"="9/19/2016 1:04 PM, 1109 bytes, A
       Adds the file open.png"="9/19/2016 1:04 PM, 86 bytes, A
       Adds the file top_bg.png"="8/21/2017 10:32 PM, 121877 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\js
       Adds the file jquery.min.js"="9/19/2016 1:04 PM, 85660 bytes, A
       Adds the file main.js"="6/29/2018 12:26 PM, 428 bytes, A

Registry details [View: All details] (Selection)
------------------------------------------------
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Chrome\PreferenceMACs\Default\extensions.settings]
       "ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg"="REG_SZ", "1DAD4AB94F54E60471CDE516D19E6E904865361BA1A0184F11ADFBB9402D3BEA"

Malwarebytes log:
 

Malwarebytes
www.malwarebytes.com

-Log Details-
Scan Date: 7/5/18
Scan Time: 11:18 AM
Log File: 68fbebfc-8034-11e8-84a2-00ffdcc6fdfc.json
Administrator: Yes

-Software Information-
Version: 3.5.1.2522
Components Version: 1.0.374
Update Package Version: 1.0.5777
License: Premium

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

-Scan Summary-
Scan Type: Threat Scan
Scan Initiated By: Manual
Result: Completed
Objects Scanned: 251527
Threats Detected: 22
Threats Quarantined: 22
Time Elapsed: 3 min, 37 sec

-Scan Options-
Memory: Enabled
Startup: Enabled
Filesystem: Enabled
Archives: Enabled
Rootkits: Enabled
Heuristics: Enabled
PUP: Detect
PUM: Detect

-Scan Details-
Process: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Module: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Registry Key: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Registry Value: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Registry Data: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Data Stream: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Folder: 7
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\_metadata, Quarantined, [846], [538522],1.0.5777
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\icons, Quarantined, [846], [538522],1.0.5777
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\css, Quarantined, [846], [538522],1.0.5777
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\img, Quarantined, [846], [538522],1.0.5777
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\js, Quarantined, [846], [538522],1.0.5777
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0, Quarantined, [846], [538522],1.0.5777
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\DEFAULT\EXTENSIONS\ICKDDMBENKDJPIPNGIMABIJGJBMIPPMG, Quarantined, [846], [538522],1.0.5777

File: 15
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Secure Preferences, Replaced, [846], [538522],1.0.5777
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Preferences, Replaced, [846], [538522],1.0.5777
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\DEFAULT\EXTENSIONS\ICKDDMBENKDJPIPNGIMABIJGJBMIPPMG\1.3.0_0\MANIFEST.JSON, Quarantined, [846], [538522],1.0.5777
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\css\style.css, Quarantined, [846], [538522],1.0.5777
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\icons\128.png, Quarantined, [846], [538522],1.0.5777
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\icons\19.png, Quarantined, [846], [538522],1.0.5777
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\img\close.png, Quarantined, [846], [538522],1.0.5777
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\img\open.png, Quarantined, [846], [538522],1.0.5777
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\img\top_bg.png, Quarantined, [846], [538522],1.0.5777
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\js\jquery.min.js, Quarantined, [846], [538522],1.0.5777
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\js\main.js, Quarantined, [846], [538522],1.0.5777
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\_metadata\computed_hashes.json, Quarantined, [846], [538522],1.0.5777
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\_metadata\verified_contents.json, Quarantined, [846], [538522],1.0.5777
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\background.js, Quarantined, [846], [538522],1.0.5777
Rogue.ForcedExtension, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ickddmbenkdjpipngimabijgjbmippmg\1.3.0_0\index.html, Quarantined, [846], [538522],1.0.5777

Physical Sector: 0
(No malicious items detected)

WMI: 0
(No malicious items detected)


(end)

As mentioned before the full version of Malwarebytes 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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