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Remove ZapMeta.com (Removal Guide) - Jan 2021 update

removal by Alice Woods - - | Type: Stealing programs

ZapMeta is a browser hijacker that delivers altered results ad redirects its victims to sponsored websites

ZapMeta.com redirect virus example

ZapMeta is a highly questionable search engine which is compatible with Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, IE, and other web browsers. This search provider belongs to Visymo Universal Search Group and looks like a very trustworthy page. However, you can find http://www.zapmeta.com/ instead of your homepage and the default search engine after installing other applications on your computer because of bundling.[1] If this redirect virus enters the system, it starts collecting NPII and starts showing various pop-ups according to victim's search habits. 

Name ZapMeta
Classification Browser hijacker, PUP
Developer Visymo Universal Search Group
Danger level Low. Does not initiate malicious activities, but can redirect web browser to potentially dangerous websites and display intrusive ads
Browsers affected Chrome, Firefox, Edge, IE, Safari, Opera, etc.
Distribution Bundling
System's scan with ReimageIntego is the easiest way to get rid of ZapMeta

This potentially unwanted program is promoted as a metadata search engine, which filters search results provided by Yahoo, Microsoft Bing, YouTube, Wikipedia, Entireweb, and other search engines and displays the most optimal results. However, before falling for it, consider the fact that its previous users refer to it as ZapMeta virus.

In fact, this search belongs to the group of browser hijackers,[2] while AV engines detect it as PUP. Cybersecurity experts agree upon such classification because it spreads via freeware and corrupts web browser's settings without requiring user's approval properly.

In case you start page, and other browser's parameters have already been changed, and you do not appreciate that you can download ReimageIntego, run a scan with it, and initiate ZapMeta removal.

Despite the fact that this unwanted application is not malicious, it increases system's vulnerability and can foster malware infiltration. As pointed out by Visymo, the search might include links to third-party websites, but the company rejects responsibility for their content:

These sites can send there own cookies to users, collect data or ask for private information. Above all VISYMO wants to make it clear that it cannot guarantee anything about the way these websites deal with the privacy of there visitors.

Apart from misleading ZapMeta.com redirects, the tool might also use tracking cookies and web beacons for the analysis of user's browsing preferences. The company might seek for search queries, websites visited, bookmarks, clicks, and similar browsing-related data, though IP address, name, and email address might also be collected.

The PUP accumulates information and later transmits it to remote servers so that marketing specialists could prepare personalized ads. Thus, the longer you keep browser hijacker installed, the more ads may show up while you browse. Beware that the destination websites of the ads delivered by ZapMeta.com are unknown. By clicking on them, you risk being exposed to misleading online surveys, software download websites or even phishing sites.

To prevent unwanted consequences, remove ZapMeta from the system. Although this can be done manually (instructions below), we recommend using a reputable anti-malware tool because PUPs tend to install Browser Helper Objects and other PUPs. After the removal procedure is finished, navigate to the settings of the affected web browser and reset it.

ZapMeta.com virus printscreenZapMeta.com is a misleading search engine that can install via freeware and display links to suspicious third-party websites

Browser hijacker distribution peculiarities

Although third-party search sites are not malicious, they seek to generate profit from affiliate marketing. That's why they are often distributed bundled with freeware and shareware as “optional downloads.” This way, PC users agree to install them unintentionally and allow third-parties to drive visitors' traffic to their websites by injecting links into search results.

Bundling software distribution technique is not illegal. That's why various parties can freely use it. The main reason why people keep falling into the trap of bundling is an indirect disclosure of optional components.

If people choose Quick or Recommended installation, software bundle is unpacked, meaning that the whole package is installed by default. BedyNet.ru[3] security experts claim that the only way to extract and reject suspicious add-ons or extensions is to opt for Advanced or Custom installation option and remove check marks next to statements like “By clicking Next I agree to install ZapMeta search.”

Get rid of ZapMeta.com to stop misleading browser's redirects

ZapMeta removal is not a complicated procedure because this search engine is rather a potentially unwanted program than a virus. However, you should perform this task profoundly, so that all PUPs and related components are successfully wiped out from your computer. You can know that this process wasn't successful after finding this virus on your browser again after rebooting the system.

The easiest way to remove ZapMeta virus is to run an in-depth system's scan with a professional anti-malware program. All apps that can be helpful with this task are provided below. Nevertheless, those who prefer manual PUP elimination can rely on the guidelines that were designed by our team.

IMPORTANT: do not forget to reset web browser's settings once you uninstall ZapMeta. Otherwise, you won't be able to set the preferred search site and startup page.

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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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 ZapMeta.com, follow these steps:

Get rid of ZapMeta.com from Windows systems

The following instructions explain how to get rid of browser hijacker-related programs:

To remove ZapMeta.com from Windows 10/8  machines, please follow these steps:

  1. Enter Control Panel into Windows search box and hit Enter or click on the search result.
  2. Under Programs, select Uninstall a program.Uninstall from Windows 1
  3. From the list, find entries related to ZapMeta.com (or any other recently installed suspicious program).
  4. Right-click on the application and select Uninstall.
  5. If User Account Control shows up, click Yes.
  6. Wait till uninstallation process is complete and click OK.Uninstall from Windows 2

If you are Windows 7/XP user, proceed with the following instructions:

  1. Click on Windows Start > Control Panel located on the right pane (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs).
  2. In Control Panel, select Programs > Uninstall a program.Uninstall from Windows 7/XP
  3. Pick the unwanted application by clicking on it once.
  4. At the top, click Uninstall/Change.
  5. In the confirmation prompt, pick Yes.
  6. Click OK once the removal process is finished.

Remove ZapMeta.com from Mac OS X system

If this PUP infected your Mac, that's what you have to do to eliminate it:

Remove ZapMeta.com from Applications folder:

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

Uninstall ZapMeta.com 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 ZapMeta.com 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 ZapMeta.com removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Delete ZapMeta.com 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 ZapMeta.com-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

Restore new tab and homepage settings:

  1. Click the menu icon and choose Settings.
  2. Then find On startup section.
  3. Click Disable if you found any suspicious domain.

Reset MS Edge if the 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 ZapMeta.com from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Remove dangerous extensions:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click on the Menu (three horizontal lines at the top-right of the window).
  2. Select Add-ons.
  3. In here, select plugins that are related to ZapMeta.com and click Remove.Remove extensions from Firefox

Reset the homepage:

  1. Click three horizontal lines at the top right corner to open the menu.
  2. Choose Options.
  3. Under Home options, enter your preferred site that will open every time you newly open the Mozilla Firefox.

Clear cookies and site data:

  1. Click Menu and pick Options.
  2. Go to Privacy & Security section.
  3. Scroll down to locate Cookies and Site Data.
  4. Click on Clear Data…
  5. Select Cookies and Site Data, as well as Cached Web Content and press Clear.Clear cookies and site data from Firefox

Reset Mozilla Firefox

In case ZapMeta.com did not get removed after following the instructions above, reset Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click the Menu.
  2. Go to Help and then choose Troubleshooting Information.Reset Firefox 1
  3. Under Give Firefox a tune up section, click on Refresh Firefox…
  4. Once the pop-up shows up, confirm the action by pressing on Refresh Firefox – this should complete ZapMeta.com removal.Reset Firefox 2

Erase ZapMeta.com from Google Chrome

As we have already pointed out, it's a must to reset web browser as soon as you uninstall ZapMeta.com hijacker. Otherwise, you won't be able to set Google or another search as default.

Delete malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

  1. Open Google Chrome, click on the Menu (three vertical dots at the top-right corner) and select More tools > Extensions.
  2. In the newly opened window, you will see all the installed extensions. Uninstall all the suspicious plugins that might be related to ZapMeta.com by clicking Remove.Remove extensions from Chrome

Clear cache and web data from Chrome:

  1. Click on Menu and pick Settings.
  2. Under Privacy and security, select Clear browsing data.
  3. Select Browsing history, Cookies and other site data, as well as Cached images and files.
  4. Click Clear data.Clear cache and web data from Chrome

Change your homepage:

  1. Click menu and choose Settings.
  2. Look for a suspicious site like ZapMeta.com in the On startup section.
  3. Click on Open a specific or set of pages and click on three dots to find the Remove option.

Reset Google Chrome:

If the previous methods did not help you, reset Google Chrome to eliminate all the ZapMeta.com-components:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. In the Settings, scroll down and click Advanced.
  3. Scroll down and locate Reset and clean up section.
  4. Now click Restore settings to their original defaults.
  5. Confirm with Reset settings to complete ZapMeta.com removal.Reset Chrome 2

Get rid of ZapMeta.com from Safari

Remove unwanted extensions from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. In the new window, pick Extensions.
  3. Select the unwanted extension related to ZapMeta.com and select Uninstall.Remove extensions from Safari

Clear cookies and other website data from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Clear History…
  2. From the drop-down menu under Clear, pick all history.
  3. Confirm with Clear History.Clear cookies and website data from Safari

Reset Safari if the above-mentioned steps did not help you:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. Go to Advanced tab.
  3. Tick the Show Develop menu in menu bar.
  4. From the menu bar, click Develop, and then select Empty Caches.Reset Safari

After uninstalling this potentially unwanted program (PUP) and fixing each of your web browsers, we recommend you to scan your PC system with a reputable anti-spyware. This will help you to get rid of ZapMeta.com registry traces and will also identify related parasites or possible malware infections on your computer. For that you can use our top-rated malware remover: ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes.

Protect your privacy – employ a VPN

There are several ways how to make your online time more private – you can access an incognito tab. However, there is no secret that even in this mode, you are tracked for advertising purposes. There is a way to add an extra layer of protection and create a completely anonymous web browsing practice with the help of Private Internet Access VPN. This software reroutes traffic through different servers, thus leaving your IP address and geolocation in disguise. Besides, it is based on a strict no-log policy, meaning that no data will be recorded, leaked, and available for both first and third parties. The combination of a secure web browser and Private Internet Access VPN will let you browse the Internet without a feeling of being spied or targeted by criminals. 

No backups? No problem. Use a data recovery tool

If you wonder how data loss can occur, you should not look any further for answers – human errors, malware attacks, hardware failures, power cuts, natural disasters, or even simple negligence. In some cases, lost files are extremely important, and many straight out panic when such an unfortunate course of events happen. Due to this, you should always ensure that you prepare proper data backups on a regular basis.

If you were caught by surprise and did not have any backups to restore your files from, not everything is lost. Data Recovery Pro is one of the leading file recovery solutions you can find on the market – it is likely to restore even lost emails or data located on an external device.

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

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