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Remove ShortcutTab (Easy Removal Guide) - Free Instructions

removal by Alice Woods - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

ShortcutTab – a potentially unwanted application that might be installed without your permission

ShortcutTabShortcutTab is a potentially unwanted program that monitors users' web browser behavior to serve sponsored content that the developers benefit from financially

ShortcutTab is a browser hijacker[1] that changes the new tab URL and the homepage to s.advancedsearchlab.com as soon as it is installed. While some users might find this browser extension on official sources such as Google Chrome Web Store, most install the add-on unintentionally, e.g., via software bundles or fake software update prompts.

Potentially unwanted programs such as ShortcutTab as typically designed to allegedly provide enhanced search results (the app claims that it uses multiple search engines for that, but instead uses Google), although, in reality, its main goal is to read users' browser history and visited pages and provide them with sponsored content, gaining revenue in the process. It is also not uncommon for users infected with ShortcutTab virus to also have other potentially unwanted programs installed on their system without their consent.

Name ShortcutTab
Type Browser hijacker
Also known as PUP.Optional.AdvancedSearchLab
Infiltration Users install potentially unwanted programs after being deceived by an advertisement, when downloading freeware from third-party websites, or do it intentionally, believing that an add-on is a useful tool for whatever it is advertised for (in most cases, browser hijackers promised enriched search results) 
Symptoms The symptoms of a browser hijack may vary, although most users should see unknown extensions installed on the web browser, experience increased amount of advertisements changed web browser settings (the homepage is set to s.advancedsearchlab.com
Risks Installation of additional potentially unwanted programs, personal information disclosure to unknown parties, loss of finances due to scams, etc. 
Removal To terminate the extension, right-click on it or visit the extension section within the settings of your web browser
Additional checks In some cases, potentially unwanted applications can be difficult to eliminate. In such a case, we recommend scanning the machine with anti-malware software, resetting the web browser, and then performing an additional scan with repair tools such as ReimageIntego

As mentioned above, users might install ShortcutTab hijacker unintentionally – this happens when users visit third party websites that provide access to freeware or shareware. Unsurprisingly, such sites typically use software bundling and ads to monetize. In many cases, deception is also used in order to make users install sponsored apps without their knowledge.

As soon as ShortcutTab hijack occurs, a browser extension is appended to Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, MS Edge, or another web browser. Next, the PUP changes the new tab address and the homepage of the web browser to s.advancedsearchlab.com, although this change is not apparent, as the only visible symptom of the infection is the lack of usual search bar (for example, google.com is shown, although the search bar is missing).

For this reason, some users might not even be aware that their web browsers have been hijacked, and that ShortcutTab removal should be performed in the first place. However, the symptoms of the infection can be noticed eventually, which may be the following:

  • A “ShortcutTab” or other unwanted add-ons/programs installed on the computer;
  • The homepage and a new tab lead to the s.advancedsearchlab.com and then to Google, Yahoo, or another trusted engine;
  • Advertisements show up on various pages that you visit;
  • Search results are filled with sponsored links and other ads;
  • Web browser operates slower than usual, etc.

ShortcutTab hijackShortcutTab is a browser hijacker that claims to enhance search results and grant access to multiple search providers, although it fails to execute such functionality

While such extensions may seem like useful additions at first, it is best to remove ShortcutTab from the web browser as soon as possible to avoid unwanted browsing activity tracking and redirects to potentially malicious websites. To do that, all you have to do is to get rid of the installed web browser extensions and programs from your Mac or Windows computer.

In case ShortcutTab elimination becomes difficult, you should employ anti-malware software to perform a full system scan. We also recommend employing such apps like ReimageIntego for overall better performance of the system that was previously infected. Finally, you can also reset all the installed web browsers if nothing else helps (we explain how to do that below).

ShortcutTab belongs to the family of PUP.Optional.AdvancedSearchLab

PUP.Optional.AdvancedSearchLab is a family of potentially unwanted applications that change the web browser settings without permission and are typically installed without user consent. Luckily, most modern web browsers such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox typically warn users about these changes, so most can avert the consequences of a browser hijack.

Additionally, anti-malware applications such as Malwarebytes can also detect and prevent the installation of apps that belong to the PUP.Optional.AdvancedSearchLab family. Therefore, it is highly recommended to employ a reputable security tool that can comprehensively protect the computer from PUPs and more significant threats such as Trojans, ransomware,[2] coinminers, worms, and others.

ShortcutTab Privacy PolicyShortcutTab can gather even personal information if such is provided when using the sites provided by the company behind the unwanted app

Learn to avoid potentially unwanted applications

As previously mentioned, users install PUPs unintentionally, since a technique called software bundling is used to distribute shady applications. The chain of adware and browser hijacker distribution is extensive. It can range from fake Flash update prompts,[3] fake “Download” buttons on various (torrent) sites, and the inclusivity of additional components within a single software package that is obtained from sources like softonic.com.

Therefore, it is important to be vigilant while performing routine web browsing activities and downloading software. If possible, we recommend avoiding shady third-party sources and relying on the official application websites and reputable stores such as Microsoft Store. In case you insist on downloading apps from suspicious sites, it is important to pay attention to the installation procedure carefully, as you might end up with multiple unwanted apps or malware on your system.

Before installing a program you have never heard of, check reviews, forum posts, and other trusted sources for information on it. Next, you should always ensure that Privacy Policy/ToS is provided and always opt for Advanced/Custom installation settings in order to get rid of add-ons, system optimizers, downloaded managers, and other useless apps.

ShortcutTab uninstallation process explained

In most cases, ShortcutTab removal should not be difficult to perform – simply right-click on the extension and select “Uninstall” or “Remove.” However, it is known that potentially unwanted apps can be purposely programmed in a way that would hinder users from eliminating them easily. During our tests, we noticed that the ShortcutTab virus belongs to this category, as the add-on is not visible once it is installed on the web browser.

Therefore, you might not be able to remove ShortcutTab just as easily as other genuine apps. In such a case, you should visit chrome://extensions/ tab and try to eliminate the app through there. In case the “Managed by your organization” status is turned on, you should instead perform a full system scan of your computer, as it might be that more nefarious programs are installed on your system. Additionally, you can also look for PUPs manually and reset all the installed web browsers as per instructions we provide below.

You may remove virus damage with a help of ReimageIntego. 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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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 ShortcutTab, follow these steps:

Uninstall ShortcutTab from Windows systems

To uninstall other unwanted applications besides ShortcutTab browser hijacker, follow these 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 ShortcutTab and related programs
    Here, look for ShortcutTab 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 ShortcutTab 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 'http://isearch.babylon.com...' 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 ShortcutTab from Mac OS X system

In case your macOS is acting strangely, get rid of PUPs as explained below:

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

Remove ShortcutTab from Applications folder:

  1. From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  2. In the Applications folder, look for ShortcutTab-related 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 ShortcutTab, 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 ShortcutTab and then delete them.
  4. Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the ShortcutTab-related entries.Uninstall from Mac 2

Eliminate ShortcutTab 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 ShortcutTab 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, Google.com).
  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 ShortcutTab removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Erase ShortcutTab 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 ShortcutTab-related 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

Remove ShortcutTab 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 ShortcutTab 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 ShortcutTab removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Get rid of ShortcutTab from Google Chrome

You should reset Google Chrome if you are unable to eliminate unwanted browser extensions in a regular way:

  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 ShortcutTab 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 ShortcutTab removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Uninstall ShortcutTab 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 ShortcutTab 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 ShortcutTab, 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 ShortcutTab 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. 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 the server or network manager that needs to monitor connections and activities. 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.

 

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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