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Remove (Removal Guide) - Feb 2018 update

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - - | Type: Browser hijacker

Understand the risks that emerge from using

Hao123 image is a legitimate Chinese search engine that has evolved into one of the biggest search providers. Since malevolent people seek quick and easy profits, they developed highly unreliable browser extensions, plug-ins and other programs to disguise under the name of a verified search engine. Analysts from[1] warn that not all services of this website are safe to use.

There have been various discussions on the web about Hao123 by Baidu, which is a browser plug-in provided by this search engine. IT experts even classify some its versions as potentially unwanted or ad-supported programs alongside the browser hijacker category. It means that after being installed on the system, the virus takes control over each of web browsers and alters the default search provider, the start page, and a new tab window by force. This way, third parties that sponsor this malicious plug-in version get the chance to present their unreliable links to inexperienced computer users.

That's why you may start noticing redirects to the suspicious websites that are certainly irrelevant to the search terms that you have entered. Due to Hao123 redirect tendency, you might land on an infected page as well. According to our research, it currently transfers people to, and similar sites that are used for affiliate marketing purposes.

The reason why Hao123 by Baidu redirects to sponsored domains and bombards you with commercial content is that it aims to generate pay-per-click revenue for its developers. The potentially unwanted program (PUP) identifies particular users' preferences and creates more relevant and personalized advertisements, apps, and websites. As a result, people get confused and unable to identify the origins of the intrusive ads. Developers take advantage of it since people willingly click on the questionable advertisements and increase their profits.

Questions about

The screenshot of Hao123 hijacker and Skype virusThough is a safe domain, it is affiliated with Hao123 browser hijacker.

Unfortunately, the US Senate approved the legislation for online advertisers to trade and sell your browsing data among themselves and partners[2]. Needless to say, that the line between users' privacy and its violation becomes more than transparent. Likewise, similar laws only encourage crooks and malevolent people of various ilk to engage in the activities of creating browser hijackers.

Though the privacy policy of commits to protecting your privacy, there is no applicable Privacy Policy provided on Hao 123 website. In relation, the ad-supported program may collect personally identifiable information as well. The suspicious and disturbing content provided on the main page only enforces such assumptions. That's why you are strongly advised to remove Hao123 by Baidu with the help of Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego. Of course, you can also use an alternative anti-spyware program. 

IT technicians spotted Skype virus spreading links to the browser hijacker

Recently, victims of Skype virus reported about the message that contains a suspicious link to Baidu website[3]. Crooks managed to hack the system and send the malicious text to the infected computers. What is more, the link contained the skype name of the recipient contact. Such feature might have tempted more credible users to click on the link.

According to the behavior of this malware, it operates as a computer worm — when a gullible person clicks on the link, all of his or her contacts receive the fraudulent link as well.

The specifications of this malware also resemble Facebook video virus which sends a video file with the personal profile picture to lure users into clicking on the malicious link without having the slightest suspicion of the virtual infection. These deceptive distribution methods have helped to successfully infiltrate various types of viruses worldwide. 

Therefore, if you notice the presence of this Skype virus redirecting to Baidu link, do not click on it, ignore it. It might be beneficial to change your password and check your system whether it does not contain any questionable applications as well. 

Hao123 hijacker's distribution techniques

You can protect your system from potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) and other malicious applications by understanding the methods that hackers employ to distribute them. 

Since users pay little attention to the installation wizards, they often end up installing questionable optional software along with the primary one. This is an extremely popular distribution technique called bundling when the contrivers spread PUPs in one package with freeware.

To avoid falling into the trap of the browser hijacker, make sure you choose Custom/Advanced settings next time you download a new program. They disclose optional attachments and applications. Furthermore, watch for irrelevant add-ons and remove the checkmarks from them.

Note that well-known apps such as Skype and Java may also contain shady attachments, so should pay extreme attention while installing popular programs as well. It will reduce the risk of experiencing the annoying after-effects of Hao123 virus.

Removing Hao123 by Baidu from my computer

We suggest you to remove Hao123 automatically with the help of a professional security software. It is the easiest way to uninstall all additional PUPs that might be secretly infiltrated into your system and disrupting your browsing experience.

You should start by downloading an anti-malware program of your choice and running a full system scan. After it is done, you will be free from the browser hijacker. Additionally, we offer free Hao123 removal instructions that will help you to eliminate the suspicious plug-in manually. 

Experts answer to the FAQ related to

The question: Can i fully rely on Is there any possibility that it is a browser hijacker?

IT technicians answer: As mentioned before, is a legitimate search engine widely used among Chinese computer users. Even though it is safe, crooks managed to take advantage of it and created not so reliable plug-ins such as Hao123. Thus, you should stay away from suspicious browser extensions or add-ons and remove them as soon as you notice their presence.

You may remove virus damage with a help of Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego. SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and Malwarebytes are recommended to detect potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

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Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

To remove, follow these steps:

Remove from Windows systems

If you have noticed the presence of Hao123, use the guide below to learn how to uninstall it from Windows OS.

  1. Click Start Control Panel Programs and Features (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs). Click 'Start -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features' (if you are 'Windows XP' user, click on 'Add/Remove Programs').
  2. If you are Windows 10 / Windows 8 user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once Quick Access Menu shows up, select Control Panel and Uninstall a Program. If you are 'Windows 10 / Windows 8' user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once 'Quick Access Menu' shows up, select 'Control Panel' and 'Uninstall a Program'.
  3. Uninstall and related programs
    Here, look for or any other recently installed suspicious programs.
  4. Uninstall them and click OK to save these changes. Right click on each of suspicious entries and select 'Uninstall'
  5. Remove from Windows shortcuts
    Right click on the shortcut of Mozilla Firefox and select Properties. Right click on browsers' icon and select 'Properties'
  6. Go to Shortcut tab and look at the Target field. Delete malicious URL that is related to your virus. Select 'Shortcut' tab and delete '' or other suspicious URL

Repeat steps that are given above with all browsers' shortcuts, including Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. Make sure you check all locations of these shortcuts, including Desktop, Start Menu and taskbar.

Delete from Mac OS X system

  1. If you are using OS X, click Go button at the top left of the screen and select Applications. Cick 'Go' and select 'Applications'
  2. Wait until you see Applications folder and look for or any other suspicious programs on it. Now right click on every of such entries and select Move to Trash. Click on every malicious entry and select 'Move to Trash'

Get rid of from Internet Explorer (IE)

You can fix your Internet Explorer browser by following the Hao123 removal instructions below.

  1. Remove dangerous add-ons
    Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top right corner of the browser and choose Manage Add-ons. Click on menu icon and select 'Manage add-ons'
  2. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for and other suspicious plugins. Disable these entries by clicking Disable: Right click on each of malicious entries and select 'Disable'
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the gear icon (menu) on the top right corner of the browser and select Internet Options. Stay in General tab.
  4. Here, remove malicious URL and enter preferable domain name. Click Apply to save changes. Delete malicious URL, enter your desired domain name and click 'Apply' to save changes
  5. Reset Internet Explorer
    Click on the gear icon (menu) again and select Internet options. Go to Advanced tab.
  6. Here, select Reset.
  7. When in the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again

Eliminate from Microsoft Edge

If your Microsoft Edge's activity is corrupted, delete any suspicious plug-ins and extensions related to Hao123 by Baidu.

Reset Microsoft Edge settings (Method 1):

  1. Launch Microsoft Edge app and click More (three dots at the top right corner of the screen).
  2. Click Settings to open more options.
  3. Once Settings window shows up, click Choose what to clear button under Clear browsing data option. Go to Settings and select 'Choose what to clear'
  4. Here, select all what you want to remove and click Clear. Select 'Clear' button
  5. Now you should right-click on the Start button (Windows logo). Here, select Task Manager. Open the start menu and select 'Task Manager'
  6. When in Processes tab, search for Microsoft Edge.
  7. Right-click on it and choose Go to details option. If can’t see Go to details option, click More details and repeat previous steps. Right-click 'Microsoft Edge' and select 'Go to details' Select 'More details' if 'Go to details' option fails to show up
  8. When Details tab shows up, find every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right click on each of them and select End Task to end these entries. Find Microsoft Edge entries and select 'End Task'

Resetting Microsoft Edge browser (Method 2):

If Method 1 failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method.

  1. Note: you need to backup your data before using this method.
  2. Find this folder on your computer: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  3. Select every entry which is saved on it and right click with your mouse. Then Delete option. Go to Microsoft Edge folder on your computer, right-click every entry and click 'Delete'
  4. Click the Start button (Windows logo) and type in window power in Search my stuff line.
  5. Right-click the Windows PowerShell entry and choose Run as administrator. Find Windows PowerShell, right-click it and select 'Run as administrator'
  6. Once Administrator: Windows PowerShell window shows up, paste this command line after PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> and press Enter:
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml -Verbose}
    Copy and paste a required command and press 'Enter'

Once these steps are finished, should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

Uninstall from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Mozilla Firefox, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Add-ons Extensions. Click on menu icon and select 'Add-ons'
  2. Here, select and other questionable plugins. Click Remove to delete these entries. Select 'Extensions' and look for malicious entries. Click 'Remove' to get rid of each of them
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the menu (top right corner), choose Options General.
  4. Here, delete malicious URL and enter preferable website or click Restore to default.
  5. Click OK to save these changes. When in 'General' tab, delete malicious URL from 'Home Page' section or click on 'Restore to Default' button. Click 'OK' to save changes
  6. Reset Mozilla Firefox
    Click on the Firefox menu on the top left and click on the question mark. Here, choose Troubleshooting Information. Click on menu icon and then on '?'. Select 'Troubleshooting Information'
  7. Now you will see Reset Firefox to its default state message with Reset Firefox button. Click this button for several times and complete removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Erase from Google Chrome

  1. Delete malicious plugins
    Open Google Chrome, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Tools Extensions. Click on menu icon. Select 'Tools' and 'Extensions'
  2. Here, select and other malicious plugins and select trash icon to delete these entries. Look for malicious entries and delete each of them by clicking on the Trash bin icon
  3. Change your homepage and default search engine if it was altered by your virus
    Click on menu icon and choose Settings.
  4. Here, look for the Open a specific page or set of pages under On startup option and click on Set pages. After clicking on menu and 'Settings', select 'Set pages'
  5. Now you should see another window. Here, delete malicious search sites and enter the one that you want to use as your homepage. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  6. Click on menu icon again and choose Settings Manage Search engines under the Search section. When in 'Settings', select 'Manage search engines...'
  7. When in Search Engines..., remove malicious search sites. You should leave only Google or your preferred domain name. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  8. Reset Google Chrome
    Click on menu icon on the top right of your Google Chrome and select Settings.
  9. Scroll down to the end of the page and click on Reset browser settings. When in 'Settings', scroll down to 'Reset browser settings' button and click on it
  10. Click Reset to confirm this action and complete removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Remove from Safari

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu at the top left of the screen. Once you do this, select Preferences. Click on 'Safari' and select 'Preferences'
  2. Here, select Extensions and look for or other suspicious entries. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid each of them. Go to 'Extensions' and uninstall malicious add-ons
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Open your Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu section. Here, select Preferences as it was displayed previously and select General.
  4. Here, look at the Homepage field. If it was altered by, remove unwanted link and enter the one that you want to use for your searches. Remember to include the "http://" before typing in the address of the page. When in 'General', delete malicious URL and enter your desired domain name
  5. Reset Safari
    Open Safari browser and click on Safari in menu section at the top left of the screen. Here, select Reset Safari.... Click on 'Safari' and select 'Reset Safari...'
  6. Now you will see a detailed dialog window filled with reset options. All of those options are usually checked, but you can specify which of them you want to reset. Click the Reset button to complete removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

Access your website securely from any location

When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. It is a hassle when your website is protected from suspicious connections and unauthorized IP addresses.

The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address. If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for server or network manager that need to monitor connections and activities. This is how you bypass some of the authentications factors and can remotely use your banking accounts without triggering suspicious with each login. 

VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world. It is better to clock the access to your website from different IP addresses. So you can keep the project safe and secure when you have the dedicated IP address VPN and protected access to the content management system.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer various losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Software issues created by malware or direct data loss due to encryption can lead to problems with your device or permanent damage. When you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work.

It is crucial to create updates to your backups after any changes on the device, so you can get back to the point you were working on when malware changes anything or issues with the device causes data or performance corruption. Rely on such behavior and make file backup your daily or weekly habit.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware occurs out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the system restoring purpose.

About the author

Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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  1. Tom says:
    July 12th, 2016 at 4:53 am

    By bye to baidu browser hijacker. Time to employ the anti-virus app.

  2. bonyoceans says:
    March 24th, 2017 at 5:12 am

    Ah..not going to meddle with…

  3. ClumsyFireP says:
    March 24th, 2017 at 5:13 am

    Too many questions and only few answers…

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