The Google Chrome web browser never shows you an alarming message covering your computer’s display, so when you see alleged warnings such as “This setting is enforced by your administrator” in Google Chrome, it should immediately raise a red flag.
If you see this message in Chrome, your computer has been infected by a browser hijacker and is showing you a fake message that was not delivered by Google Chrome. The idea behind it being to manipulate you into thinking that Google delivered it.
Browser hijackers are bits of malicious code that make changes to the web browser’s settings without the users’ prior knowledge with the idea behind it being to inject advertising into a user’s browser. The advertising that comes from the browser hijacker is completely separate from the ads you may see from the webpages that you visit, which results in users seeing multiple layers of ads or only ads coming from the browser hijacker if the hijacker is blocking the existing ads.
Many users end up with browser hijackers on their computers because they’ve downloaded free programs from the internet from unreliable sources. Common sites include those who supply torrent files, where the user thinks they’re getting a free movie, but they’re getting malware along with it.
There are several methods that browser hijackers can use to gain access to a computer’s operating system. Sometimes simply removing the web browser extension, if one exists, is not enough to prevent the browser hijacker from changing the browser’s settings again without the users’ permission. In such cases, it is advised that the user installs antimalware programs to aid in the removal of the remaining malicious code on a computer.
Tips for Avoiding Malware in the Future
If you have malware on your computer, you can always install an antimalware program and run a scan to try to remove it. But some experts suggest that even if you do that, it is not a given that all malware can be removed—once it gets access to your system, it might not ever get taken away.
So naturally, that means you should try preventing the malware from getting on your computer in the first place.
Here are some of the most common ways you can avoid getting malware on your PCs:
- Be careful what you download. Some websites are far more likely to have malware on them than others. If you are using a reliable web browser, it should already give you decent protection by alerting you to sites that may be harmful—do not ignore those warnings. What’s more, try not to visit any websites that you think may be untrustworthy: torrenting sites can be beneficial, and the founders are not necessarily evil, but you need to remember that random people around the world are uploading those files. Torrenting sites are some of the most notorious for malware for this reason—not everyone is interested in helping you download free files without them getting something in return. Often that return comes in the form of malware tucked away within the files you download, thinking that they’re only movies.
- Install (full paid versions of) third-party antimalware programs. If your operating system is not protecting you well enough from malware threats, you ought to look into third-party programs. They will not always protect you in real-time for free, but the paid versions often do. That means if the program detects the file you are about to download is malware, it will let you know about it with a warning. At this stage, Microsoft Windows does not automatically block potentially unwanted programs, so third-party protection for malware is still very useful.
- Keep all data and personal information safe. Malware only becomes a problem if it gets its hands on whatever it is looking for. Simply being on your computer is not necessarily the end of the world; it is what it does from that position of power that counts. Look into ways of keeping your data safe, such as using file encryption. Windows 10 comes with EFS for encrypting individual files and also BitLocker encryption for the full disk.
- Keep your software up to date. It does not matter what software you have; if it is outdated, then it may also be insecure. Simply being old software does not necessarily open up new doorways for vulnerabilities; rather, new updates potentially close old vulnerabilities. If you know there are no vulnerabilities, your software is fine to continue using. However, if vulnerabilities are found, updates are critical. If you do not want to follow the news every day, it is best just to keep updating and know that you are safe. That means keeping up to date with your operating systems updates as well. If using Windows, keep Windows Update installing those updates that give you fresher OS versions.
- Keep networks secure. All your computers (desktops, laptops, smartphones), and other peripherals such as printers, when connected to WiFi, are often connected to the same network. You need to make sure that the network is secured with a password. Otherwise, your WiFi connection will be open. The best security today is with WPA or WPA2 encryption. You typically do not have much to worry about here, as it is automatically implemented by your WiFi provider. But make sure it stays that way.
- Do not use open WiFi. You have heard the warning: stay away from that open WiFi you get at airports, unless you need it. The idea behind this warning is because it is open, it also means people with malicious intent also have easy access to it; thus, the information on your smartphones, tablets, and laptops is not going to be safe.
The following tutorial demonstrates how to remove the ‘This setting is enforced by your administrator’ message you’re getting when using the Google Chrome web browser.
Method One: How to Reset Browser to Default Settings and Clean Up Browser
Google Chrome offers buttons for resetting the web browser and also cleaning up the web browser. These two settings are beneficial for removing any malware that other scans from Windows Defender and other third-party software could not remove.
You can reset the browser settings from the More menu in Google Chrome.
1. Click on the More button and then click on the Settings link from the menu.
2. Scroll down and then click on Advanced at the bottom of the page.
3. Under the Reset and cleanup heading, click on the Restore settings to their original defaults link.
4. From the Reset settings overlay, click on the Reset settings button.
5. Under the Reset and clean up heading once again, click on the Clean up computer link.
6. Next to where it says Find and remove harmful software, click on the Find button.
7. You can now close the Google Chrome web browser and continue using your computer if you like.
Note: Some browser hijackers are easily removed while others are not. If you have removed the browser extension but are still finding the “This setting is enforced by your administrator” message coming back again, then you should run an antimalware scan on your computer to remove any remaining malicious files that are allowing the browser’s settings to get changed again continually.
Method Two: How to Reset All Local Group Policy Settings to Default in Windows 10
Local Group Policy Editor is a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in that you can use to edit local Group Policy objects (GPOs). Local Group Policy Editor and the Resultant Set of Policy snap-in are available in Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, and Windows 7 Enterprise. For more information, see What’s New in Group Policy.
Here’s how you can reset all of the Local Group Policy settings back to their defaults by using the elevated Command Prompt:
Note: You need to be logged in as an administrator to be able to reset all Local Group Policy Editor settings. There are two ways you can log in with an administrator’s account on a Windows 10 computer: either by (a) using your Windows account that already has the administrator privileges or (b) logging in to someone else’s account that has the administrator privileges. The account that was created first is automatically assigned the administrator privileges and it can pass it on to other accounts; other administrator accounts can also remove the administrator privileges from the original account.
1. Open the elevated Command Prompt window.
2. Enter the following three commands, one at a time, into the command line and then press Enter after each one. (click to enlarge screenshot below)
RD /S /Q "%windir%\System32\GroupPolicyUsers"
RD /S /Q "%windir%\System32\GroupPolicy"
You can now close the elevated Command Prompt window if you like.
Method Three: How to Remove “Google Custom Search” Redirect Using Malwarebytes
The iOS version will be very similar, apart from needing to use the Apple App Store in place of the Google Play Store. You will not have any problems finding it because your iOS software only comes with the Apple App Store.
1. Visit the Malwarebytes website and then click on the Free Download link.
2. If your web browser shows a message that says “this type of file can harm your computer. Do you want to keep the executable file anyway?,” click on the Keep button.
3. If prompted by User Account Control and asked: “Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?,” click on the Yes button.
4. Select between Personal computer and Work computer for where you are installing Malwarebytes ad then click on the Continue button.
5. Click on the Agree and Install button to accept the license agreement.
6. Click on the Finish button when the Malwarebytes installation is complete.
7. The Malwarebytes interface should open on its own. If it doesn’t, click on its application that is now on your desktop.
8. Click on the Scan Now button to bring the scan.
9. Malwarebytes will then take a few moments to run a quick scan of the computer.
10. Place a tick on the boxes next to the malware threats and then click on the Quarantine Selected button.
11. If Malwarebytes hasn’t solved the malware on your computer, you can visit their website and contact them to let them know of the issue that their software is not yet fixing.
12. You can now close the Malwarebytes application if you like.
Method Four: How to Repair Browser Settings Using CCleaner
You can use third-party tools such as CCleaner to repair the web browser settings. This is optional but should be done if your redirect keeps coming back or isn’t yet completely fixed.
1. If your web browser shows a message that says “this type of file can harm your computer. Do you want to keep the executable file anyway?,” click on the Keep button.
2. If prompted by User Account Control and asked: “Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?,” click on the Yes button.
3. Click on the Install button.
Note: CCleaner may offer an additional program for you to install. Choose to check or uncheck the box for installing any additional programs.
4. Check or uncheck the box for viewing the release notes based on your preference, and then click on the Run CCleaner button.
5. Click on the Analyze button.
6. Click on the Run Cleaner button once the analysis is completed.
7. The scan is now complete.
8. Click on Tools from the left menu and then click on Startup and looks through the tabs for any startup programs that have the word “search” in the title or name.
9. If you find any, click on the Disable and then Delete buttons.
10. You can now close the CCleaner application if you like.
This article was last updated on May 13, 2019.
Do I Have to Complete All the Methods Before the Malware Is Removed?
No, you do not—unless otherwise stipulated. Your computer will often be removed from all malware by using one of the methods available. It’s when you try one method, and the malware remains that you should try another method in the tutorial.
Are the Methods Listed in Order of What Should Work Better?
Not necessarily. We sometimes put the Windows Security before third-party applications because if you use Windows, you might prefer solving the problem without having installed another program on the computer. Windows Security is also free to use for your duration of using the operating system, which could mean more convenience to you.
Nevertheless, if you prefer using third-party programs, or your computer is not running Windows, then you can skip the Windows Security method and try using the third-party program recommendations instead.
Do I Have to Complete All Parts of the Windows Security Tutorial?
No, you do not. We have listed all the different ways you can run an antimalware scan with Windows Security for your convenience, but you only need to choose one of the methods to remove the malware.
Sometimes you may need to be able to get access to all options of running an antimalware scan—especially if your computer is currently being affected by the malware—which is why we have listed all the ways you can run scans with Windows Security.
Why Do You Have a Tutorial for Android but Not for iOS?
Both apps should be very similar, so we chose one app for the tutorial at this time. We may update it in the future if and when the tutorials differ enough to require separate tutorials for both platforms.
Since Android is currently the more open operating system of the two—and therefore potentially more susceptible to malware—it makes sense that in theory, more people will potentially get malware on Android than iOS at this time. What’s more, you also get far more applications to choose from on the Google Play Store than with Apple’s App Store because Android has more users.
That said, the only reason Android is more open is that people choose to open it—it does not automatically come that way out of the box. So we are not necessarily suggesting that iOS is naturally more secure than Android.