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removal by Alice Woods - - | Type: Browser Hijackers is a browser hijacker that tries to imitate a legitimate search engine is a potentially unwanted application that is most commonly spread via software bundle packages is a web address that users might notice as their homepage for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, or another web browser. Unexpected changes to the new tab address, homepage, and the search engine typically indicate that a type of a potentially unwanted program – browser hijacker – has been installed on your computer. While the unwanted app can be found on different operating systems, Mac users are the ones who complained about the infection the most. hijack can become visible right after its infiltration, which typically occurs behind users' backs, as a deceptive distribution technique called bundling is used by the PUP authors. Besides visible changes such as homepage URL modification, the app is also set up to gather user-related web browsing information without adequately informing the affected.

Type Browser hijacker, potentially unwanted application 
Affected platforms  macOS, Windows
Infiltration  Most browser hijackers are distributed within software bundle packages downloaded from third-party sites, although users can sometimes install them deliberately without knowing much about the operation principles of such apps
Symptoms Unknown browser extensions or apps installed on the computer/browser; homepage and new tab URL is set to; all searches are redirected to Yahoo or another search provider; search results are filled with sponsored links; overall increased amount of advertisements while browsing 
Elimination You can uninstall a potentially unwanted program by following manual instructions below or by scanning the device with anti-malware software
Optional steps  To ensure that your computer is ad-free and does not experience any problems in the future, we suggest also resetting the web browser and scanning the device with a repair tool Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego for best results

As soon as the so-called virus is installed on the system, it will immediately change the homepage of the web browser to hxxps://, which visually imitates the look of – a search engine that over 60% of users choose as their main search engine. Additionally, users will also notice that the homepage is injected with links to various websites, including Amazon, eBay, Facebook, or others.

This way, the developers of the hijacker are trying to make users believe that its presence on the machine useful, and that removal should not be performed. However, many security experts, including those from,[1] recommend doing a complete opposite due to various security and privacy issues.

Each time users affected by hijacker attempt to use the customized search engine, they will notice that all their searchers are redirected to one of the following search providers:

Regardless of which search provider is used, users most commonly will see an extensive amount of ads/sponsored links at the top of the search results. Unfortunately, such ads are shown in a way that inexperienced PC or Mac users would not notice the deception and click on a sponsored link instead of the organic[2] one which can only be found after scrolling down to the bottom of the page.

This way, the developers of ensure that maximum profits are retained due to pay-per-click monetization methods. However, those who have their browsers infected will suffer from intrusive ads regardless if they want to see them or not. Besides, some ads could potentially be malicious and redirect users to scam or similar sites. is a browser hijacker that changes web browser settings in order to generate sponsored links and ads

Another reason to remove is information tracking practices. While it might not be noticeable, potentially unwanted programs almost always use cookies, web beacons, scripts, and other forms of tracking technologies to collect information about users who have the PUP installed. While in most cases, only anonymous data is collected, some hijackers collect personal data as well, which includes your IP, search queries, and much more.

All in all, we suggest you uninstall hijacker from your system immediately. You can use our manual guide below or employ automatic solutions for the job. Note that not all security applications recognize browser hijackers, so manual termination might be your only option.

However, in case there is malware on your system, you should employ reputable antivirus software. If something is found, we also recommend performing a full browser reset and using repair tools such as Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego to fix virus damage of the OS.

Prevent browser and computer clutter: avoid potentially unwanted programs

Potentially unwanted programs are not considered to be major security threats, as they rarely modify crucial Windows or Mac system files in order to gain benefits in some way. For example, malware authors typically use infected computers as tools for information harvesting, botnet[3] functionality, other malware proliferation, and much more. Browser hijackers simply cannot be used for such purposes; hence they are not considered malware. Despite this, some adware apps perform actions that resemble malware operation much more than it should.

Another reason why PUPs are not considered malware is their infiltration techniques. Malware is usually installed via sophisticated techniques, such as spam email macros, drive-by downloads, software cracks, and similar. In contrary, adware or browse hijackers are typically spread via software bundles, where several apps are installed at once. Thus, being careful during the installation process of freeware can prevent unintentional infiltration of PUPs and even malware.

Thus, always pick reputable download sources, opt for Advanced/Custom settings instead of Recommended/Quick ones, and never rush the installation process by pressing “Next” several times. Besides, installing a powerful anti-malware program will point you at PUPs before they manage to access your computer. redirects all search results to reputable search providers, although they are filled with ads removal guide

If you noticed that your homepage and other browser settings on the Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, or another web browser changed unexpectedly, you should immediately proceed with removal. While browser hijackers are considered more a nuisance rather than a security threat, keep in mind that you provide access of your information to the unnecessary party that could misuse it at any time (for example, sell it to a third-party so you will receive more offers and similar ads when browsing the web).

If you want to remove quickly, you can employ anti-malware software for the purpose. It can scan the device in just a few minutes and find all the unwanted or malicious files immediately. However, not all browser hijackers can be detected by all AVs, so you should keep that in mind. In case a reputable security tool is not detecting the hijacker, you can follow the manual elimination guide we provide below. You can also reset your web browsers if ads and browser changes do not disappear for good.

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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Reimage Happiness
Intego Happiness
Compatible with Microsoft Windows Supported versions Compatible with OS X Supported versions
What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
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:

Uninstall from Windows systems

To uninstall potentially unwanted programs from Windows systems, you should perform the following steps:

  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

macOS users can also fall victim to browser hijackers, PUPs, or malware. If you suspect that your Mac is infected, proceed with the following instructions:

If your macOS is displaying some infection symptoms, proceed with the following guide:

Remove from Applications folder:

  1. From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  2. In the Applications folder, look for entries.
  3. Click on the app and drag it to Trash (or right-click and pick Move to Trash)Uninstall from Mac 1

To fully remove, you need to access Application Support, LaunchAgents, and LaunchDaemons folders and delete relevant files:

  1. Select Go > Go to Folder.
  2. Enter /Library/Application Support and click Go or press Enter.
  3. In the Application Support folder, look for any dubious entries related to and then delete them.
  4. Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the entries.Uninstall from Mac 2

Get rid of from Internet Explorer (IE)

Remove dangerous add-ons:

  1. Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top-right corner of the browser
  2. Pick Manage Add-ons.
  3. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for and other suspicious plugins. Click on these entries and select Disable.Remove add-ons from Internet Explorer

Change your homepage if it was altered:

  1. Open IE and click on the Gear icon.
  2. Select Internet Options.
  3. In the General tab, delete the Home page address and replace it by your preferred one (for example,
  4. Click Apply and then select OK.Reset IE homepage

Delete temporary files:

  1. Press on the Gear icon and select Internet Options.
  2. Under Browsing history, click Delete…
  3. Select relevant fields and press Delete.Clear temporary files from Internet Explorer

Reset Internet Explorer:

  1. Click on Gear icon > Internet options and select Advanced tab.
  2. Select Reset.
  3. In the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Remove from Microsoft Edge

Delete unwanted extensions from MS Edge:

  1. Select Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and pick Extensions.
  2. From the list, pick the extension and click on the Gear icon.
  3. Click on Uninstall at the bottom.Remove extensions from Edge

Clear cookies and other browser data:

  1. Click on the Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and select Privacy & security.
  2. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  3. Select everything (apart from passwords, although you might want to include Media licenses as well, if applicable) and click on Clear.Clear Edge browsing data

Reset MS Edge if that above steps did not work:

  1. Press on Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details arrow at the bottom of the window.
  3. Select Details tab.
  4. Now scroll down and locate every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right-click on each of them and select End Task to stop MS Edge from running.Reset MS Edge

If this solution failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method. Note that you need to backup your data before proceeding.

  1. Find the following folder on your computer: C:\\Users\\%username%\\AppData\\Local\\Packages\\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  2. Press Ctrl + A on your keyboard to select all folders.
  3. Right-click on them and pick DeleteAdvanced MS Edge reset 1
  4. Now right-click on the Start button and pick Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  5. When the new window opens, copy and paste the following command, and then press Enter:

    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\\AppXManifest.xml” -VerboseAdvanced MS Edge reset 2

Instructions for Chromium-based Edge

Delete extensions from MS Edge (Chromium):

  1. Open Edge and click select Settings > Extensions.
  2. Delete unwanted extensions by clicking Remove.Remove extensions from Chromium Edge

Clear cache and site data:

  1. Click on Menu and go to Settings.
  2. Select Privacy and services.
  3. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  4. Under Time range, pick All time.
  5. Select Clear now.Clear browser data from Chroum Edge

Reset Chromium-based MS Edge:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. On the left side, pick Reset settings.
  3. Select Restore settings to their default values.
  4. Confirm with Reset.Reset Chromium Edge

Eliminate 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

Browser hijackers such as can change browser settings without user permission. They might remain on the web browser even after PUP elimination. Thus, if you can't get rid of ads or other unwanted browser activity, reset 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

Uninstall 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

Choose a proper web browser and improve your safety with a VPN tool

Online spying has got momentum in recent years and people are getting more and more interested in how to protect their privacy online. One of the basic means to add a layer of security – choose the most private and secure web browser. Although web browsers can't grant a full privacy protection and security, some of them are much better at sandboxing, HTTPS upgrading, active content blocking, tracking blocking, phishing protection, and similar privacy-oriented features. However, if you want true anonymity, we suggest you employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN – it can encrypt all the traffic that comes and goes out of your computer, preventing tracking completely.


Recover files after data-affecting malware attacks

While much of the data can be accidentally deleted due to various reasons, malware is one of the main culprits that can cause loss of pictures, documents, videos, and other important files. More serious malware infections lead to significant data loss when your documents, system files, and images get encrypted. In particular, ransomware is is a type of malware that focuses on such functions, so your files become useless without an ability to access them.

Even though there is little to no possibility to recover after file-locking threats, some applications have features for data recovery in the system. In some cases, Data Recovery Pro can also help to recover at least some portion of your data after data-locking virus infection or general cyber infection. 


About the author
Alice Woods
Alice Woods - Likes to teach users about virus prevention

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