TopAdblockSearch browser hijacker Removal Guide
What is TopAdblockSearch browser hijacker?
TopAdblockSearch is a fake search tool that exposes users to more ads
TopAdblockSearch is a potentially unwanted program that takes over your browser
While browser hijackers are not considered major computer infections, they are extremely prevalent and there are thousands of users who install them (un)intentionally every day. TopAdblockSearch is just one of many potentially unwanted apps that are placed in this category.
Users do not typically install hijackers intentionally but are rather tricked into doing so. This happens due to deceptive app delivery methods used by distributors and developers – software bundling and misleading advertisements are among the most prevalent ones. In other cases, people might not be aware of the cull capabilities of PUPs and install them because they believe that they can be useful and enhance the web browsing experience. It is not difficult to understand why, as, for example, TopAdblockSearch might seem like a good app for blocking ads.
However, it has nothing to do with ad blocking, and all it does is alter the settings of Google Chrome, MS Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or any other browser to fulfill its deeds. Upon infiltration, the extension swaps the default homepage and the new tab address to portal.topadblocksearch.com, which consequently appends an alternative search box at the middle.
While visually, these changes might not seem like something significant, more traits come up as soon as the searches using the new search box are shown. Instead of having google.com or any other reputable provider, users are now redirected to either rogue searchlee.com/nearbyme.io or alternative providers such as Yahoo or Bing.
The results are also not something that one would expect, as they are littered with ads and sponsored links, which makes them not genuine. Visiting such links might provide to be even dangerous in some cases, as promoted content should not be trusted. Users might end up disclosing their personal information to unknown parties or installing other potentially unwanted programs without realizing it.
|Type||Browser hijacker, potentially unwanted application|
|Symptoms||Homepage, new tab, and the search engine are set to portal.topadblocksearch.com; searches redirected to a different provider; ads and sponsored links at the top of search results|
|Risks||While browser hijackers rarely pose a danger in terms of security point of view, users might end up installing other suspicious or unwanted software, suffer monetary losses due to ads, as have their privacy compromised|
|Removal||The browser extension can be removed via browser settings, although we strongly recommend you scan your computer with SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or another reputable security software|
|Additional steps||Computer infections can cause significant damage to system files or disrupt normal settings. To revert these changes and remediate the OS, perform a full system scan with FortectIntego repair software|
Ad-blockers are smart and useful browser plugins that can be useful in many ways. Not only do they block intrusive and annoying ads on various websites, but they also can stop malicious scripts from being executed upon landing on a compromised website, which, ultimately, saves users from being infected with dangerous malware.
There are plenty of various ad-blockers available from multiple sources, and they do their jobs well. However, there are also phony versions of these apps, and you should always be careful with what you are installing on your system. For example, we have previously discussed rogue ad-blockers that show their own ads and collect various user data for profits – Premium Ad Video Blocker, Wind Blocker, and AdBlock Now are just a few examples of such apps.
If you are looking for a useful tool that could block ads for you, TopAdblockSearch is not something you should rely on as well. This hijacker does not have anything to do with blocking ads, apart from having the word in its name.
In reality, the extension comes from a prominent browser hijacker family, with hundreds of versions released already (for example, TopCouponSearch, DirectConverterz, or QuickSearchMaps). Usually, the developer of these apps, which remains unknown, uses a distinct naming pattern, which consists of two, three, or sometimes four words, usually including “Search.”
TopAdblockSearch inserts ads into users searches, which can compromise user experience
These apps are simply copied from one another and do not change their function in any way. They provide additional widgets on the start page, such as currency converter, calculator, or crypto converter; but beyond that, the only function that this app employs is a basic search feature, which uses a borrowed search provider, all while inserting its own ads at the top of search results.
Thus, if you are looking for something that could block ads effectively, TopAdblockSearch is a poor choice because it simply does not have such a feature. Instead, you would have to suffer from deliberate browser changes that are set up in order to feed ads and change the way you browse the web. The quality of the content you might access through this fake search engine might also not be the greatest. If you want to get rid of it, proceed with the instructions below.
The application is primarily spread as an extension, so its elimination should start from it. If you have not done this before, you should follow the step-by-step instructions below.
- Open Google Chrome, click on the Menu (three vertical dots at the top-right corner) and select More tools > Extensions.
- In the newly opened window, you will see all the installed extensions. Uninstall all the suspicious plugins that might be related to the unwanted program by clicking Remove.
- Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click on the Menu (three horizontal lines at the top-right of the window).
- Select Add-ons.
- In here, select unwanted plugin and click Remove.
- Open Edge and click select Settings > Extensions.
- Delete unwanted extensions by clicking Remove.
- Click Safari > Preferences…
- In the new window, pick Extensions.
- Select the unwanted extension and select Uninstall.
While removing the TopAdblockSearch extension is the first step into the recovery of your browser, it is far from the finish. In some cases, the browser changes or ads in your searches might prevail, despite the hijacker being removed from the system, which likely means that there are other potentially unwanted applications installed on your system.
First of all, we recommend you also look out for other extensions you don't recognize and remove those that have not been installed from legitimate sources. Keep in mind that even trustworthy extensions sometimes go rogue; if the suspicious ads and redirects don't go away, we recommend you get rid of all the extensions and then reinstate them one by one, which would point out the culprit.
Additional checks and removal of tracking elements
If you found and removed the TopAdblockSearch app from your device, it is a good step for better security and privacy. However, there are a few checks that you should perform – these are recommended by security experts as the best practice when dealing with online content.
Let's start from the very basics: you should always have powerful security software, such as SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes, have running in the background. Not only can it remove all the malicious software from your system, but it can also protect you from infections in the future. Although, keep in mind that no anti-malware can protect you 100%, and you need to be as careful as possible yourself, e.g., never disregard antivirus warnings, avoid torrents and similar high-risk sites, download software from reputable sources, use secure passwords (and never reuse them), install all the available updates, etc.
Finally, session hijacking can also occur under certain circumstances, which might expose your passwords to cybercriminals. Therefore, security experts recommend ensuring safety by cleaning web browsers from cookies, caches, and other web data from time to time. Besides, it would also prevent the old cookies left behind by various websites and potentially unwanted programs from tracking your online activities.
We recommend using the FortectIntego PC repair and maintenance tool if you want a quick solution. It can also fix various computer issues after a malware infection. If you want to do it manually instead, check out the solution below.
- Click on Menu and pick Settings.
- Under Privacy and security, select Clear browsing data.
- Select Browsing history, Cookies and other site data, as well as Cached images and files.
- Click Clear data.
- Click Menu and pick Options.
- Go to Privacy & Security section.
- Scroll down to locate Cookies and Site Data.
- Click on Clear Data…
- Select Cookies and Site Data, as well as Cached Web Content, and press Clear.
- Click on Menu and go to Settings.
- Select Privacy and services.
- Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
- Under Time range, pick All time.
- Select Clear now.
- Click Safari > Clear History…
- From the drop-down menu under Clear, pick all history.
- Confirm with Clear History.
How to prevent from getting browser hijacker
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 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.
Lost your files? Use data recovery software
While some files located on any computer are replaceable or useless, others can be extremely valuable. Family photos, work documents, school projects – these are types of files that we don't want to lose. Unfortunately, there are many ways how unexpected data loss can occur: power cuts, Blue Screen of Death errors, hardware failures, crypto-malware attack, or even accidental deletion.
To ensure that all the files remain intact, you should prepare regular data backups. You can choose cloud-based or physical copies you could restore from later in case of a disaster. If your backups were lost as well or you never bothered to prepare any, Data Recovery Pro can be your only hope to retrieve your invaluable files.