Shield My Searches is an extension that is supposed to shield you when you browse the web. This tool is supposed to do that by enabling “private search”, offering “adult content” controls, and also disabling “Tracking & Profiling.” The tool claims that normal search engines track users and their searchers and that it can enable safety filters that, supposedly, can help you browse the web without facing security and privacy issues. If only that were the case. The reality is that if you install the extension, it can track you, and it might even expose you to push notifications and advertisements. In a sense, this tool contradicts itself because while it is meant to prevent others from tracking you, it reserves the right to track you on its own terms. That might be the reason you decide to delete Shield My Searches from your browser. At the time of research, only Google Chrome users had to worry about the removal of this PUP.
A PUP is a potentially unwanted program (could be an extension or an application) that is either unreliable or useless. In some cases, both. It can be argued that Shield My Searches is relatively useless because nothing that is offered by it is exclusive. In fact, depending on the web browser installed on your operating system, you might already have access to all the services that the PUP is meant to offer. Let’s take Google Chrome as an example. This is the most popular web browser in the world, and its creator (Google) is adding more and more features with every version to ensure security and versatility. Right now, if you install this web browser, you can use parent controls settings and turn on Incognito Mode for private browsing. The browser also has security safeguards integrated in it, and it is supposed to warn users when they are trying to visit unreliable and dangerous websites. If you take all of this into account, it seems that the only feature of Shield My Searches is “custom web search,” but you can choose from an array of trusted search engines that present reliable results, and that is why the extension is classified as a PUP.
When installing new extensions and applications, it is important to research them thoroughly. Hopefully, this is exactly what you are doing right now, and you can decide whether installing Shield My Searches is a good idea before you take the plunge. If you take time to analyze privacy policies, review permissions, and check third-party findings, you can avoid serious threats and useless PUPs. For example, some people might decide not to install Shield My Searches once they learn that it can be used as an advertising tool or that it can analyze users’ browsing history, change their data on google.com sites, and also modify search settings. Shield My Searches changes search settings so that it could introduce its own search tool, shieldmysearches.com. That is exactly how Weather Waves, HistorySee, Search Anything, and other similar PUPs work as well. It is notable that all of them belong to the Innover Group.
The main points you should take away from this report is that a) you need to do research before installing new extensions, b) you have to pay attention to privacy policies and permissions, and c) you need to check whether the extension is useful. If you are already using a web browser that offers private browsing, parental controls, and security settings, perhaps it does not make sense to install an extension that offers the same thing, but also works in unpredictable or undesirable ways. If you have not installed Shield My Searches yet, perhaps you are now thinking about choosing a different tool. If this PUP is installed already, perhaps you are now wondering how to delete it. Luckily, removing Shield My Searches is not difficult at all, and you should be able to get rid of it using the manual removal guide below. And since you are taking your virtual security seriously right now, consider implementing anti-malware software for added security too.