What is spicystart.com?
spicystart.com is a fake Internet search engine that falsely claims to enhance users' Internet browsing experience by generating improved results. Initially, this site may seem legitimate and useful, however, spicystart.com is promoted using a rogue browser-hijacking extension called SpicySEARCH.
Furthermore, spicystart.com (and SpicySEARCH) continually tracks browsing activity by recording various sensitive data.
SpicySEARCH targets Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. Following infiltration, this rogue extension assigns the new tab URL, default search engine, and homepage browser options to spicystart.com. Although these changes may seem insignificant, users are unable to revert them.
SpicySEARCH continually reassigns browser options when attempts are made to change them. Therefore, it becomes impossible to return browsers to their previous states and users are encouraged to visit spicystart.com when they open a new browser tab and/or search via the URL bar. This significantly diminishes the web browsing experience.
Another downside is data tracking. Research shows that spicystart.com and SpicySEARCH continually record various user-system information relating to browsing activity. Collected data typically includes personal details that developers sell to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who generate revenue by misusing private information.
Therefore, there is a high probability that information tracking will lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. Furthermore, SpicySEARCH might significantly diminish system performance. Some browser-hijacking apps are known to mine cryptocurrencies or run other unwanted processes in the background.
In doing so, these potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) reduce overall system performance. If you encounter redirects to spicystart.com, immediately eliminate the SpicySEARCH browser hijacker and never return to this site.
|Name||SpicySEARCH browser hijacker|
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Symptoms||Manipulated Internet browser(s) settings (homepage, default Internet search engine, new tab settings). User's are forced to visit hijacker's website and search the Internet using their search engines.|
|Distribution methods||Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers.|
|Damage||Internet browsing tracking (potential privacy issues), displaying of unwanted ads, redirects to shady websites.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
These websites also offer improved search results and, in some cases, other 'useful features' (e.g., shortcuts to popular websites, weather forecasts, currency exchange rates, etc.), however, claims to provide these features are merely attempts to give the impression of legitimacy. In fact, fake search engines are designed only to generate revenue for the developers.
Rather than giving any real value for regular users, they cause unwanted redirects and gather various information. Some are also known to feed users with false search results and/or intrusive advertisements (banners, coupons, etc.) Note that the generated results/ads typically lead to malicious websites. Therefore, using fake search engines risks computer infections.
How did spicystart.com install on my computer?
As mentioned above, spicystart.com is promoted using the SpicySEARCH browser hijacker. This PUP has an official download website, however, in most cases SpicySEARCH infiltrates systems without permission. This is due to lack of knowledge and careless behavior by many users.
Browser-hijacking apps such as SpicySEARCH are often proliferated using intrusive ads, and a deceptive marketing method called "bundling" (stealth installation of third party applications together with regular software/apps). Developers hide "bundled" apps within "Advanced/Custom" options or other sections of the download/installation processes.
Many users rush these procedures and skip steps. Furthermore, they click various ads without considering the possible consequences. This behavior typically leads to inadvertent installation of potentially unwanted programs such as SpicySEARCH.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
To prevent system infiltration by PUPs, pay close attention when browsing the Internet and, especially, when downloading/installing software. Note that criminals invest many resources into intrusive ad design.
Therefore, these ads typically look legitimate, however, they are distinguishable, since most lead to gambling, adult dating, pornography, and other dubious websites. If you experience these redirects, uninstall all suspicious applications and browser plug-ins.
Furthermore, carefully analyze each step of the download/installation processes and opt-out of all additionally-included programs. We also strongly recommend that you avoid using third party downloaders/installers, since they are often monetized using the "bundling" method (criminals promote dubious apps). The key to computer safety is caution.
Website promoting SpicySEARCH browser hijacker:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is spicystart.com?
- STEP 1. Uninstall SpicySEARCH application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove spicystart.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove SpicySEARCH browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove spicystart.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove spicystart.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
SpicySEARCH browser hijacker removal:
Windows 11 users:
Right-click on the Start icon, select Apps and Features. In the opened window search for the application you want to uninstall, after locating it, click on the three vertical dots and select Uninstall.
Windows 10 users:
Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose Programs and Features.
Windows 7 users:
Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.
macOS (OSX) users:
Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.
In the uninstall programs window: look for any recently-installed suspicious applications (for example, "SpicySEARCH"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted programs that cause browser redirects to the spicystart.com website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
SpicySEARCH browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove browser redirects:
Remove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:
Click the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for any recently-installed suspicious extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".
Change your homepage:
Click the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Internet Options", in the opened window, remove hxxp://spicystart.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you launch Internet Explorer. You can also enter about: blank to open a blank page when you start Internet Explorer.
Change your default search engine:
Click the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". In the opened window, select "Search Providers", set "Google", "Bing", or any other preferred search engine as your default and then remove "spicystart".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the spicysearch browser hijacker, reset your Internet Explorer settings to default.
Windows XP users: Click Start, click Run, in the opened window type inetcpl.cpl In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.
Windows Vista and Windows 7 users: Click the Windows logo, in the start search box type inetcpl.cpl and click enter. In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.
Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.
In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.
Click the Reset button.
Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate "SpicySEARCH" and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, select these entries and click the trash can icon.
Change your homepage:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.spicystart.com) below the “Open a specific or set of pages” option. If present, click the three vertical dots icon and select “Remove”.
Change your default search engine:
To change your default search engine in Google Chrome: Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings", in the "Search engine" section, click "Manage search engines...", in the opened list, look for "SpicySEARCH", and when located, click the three vertical dots near this URL and select "Remove from list".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the spicysearch browser hijacker, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.
After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click "Extensions" and remove "SpicySEARCH", as well as all other recently-installed browser plug-ins.
Change your homepage:
To reset your homepage, click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), then select "Options", in the opened window, remove hxxp://spicystart.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.
Change your default search engine:
In the URL address bar, type about:config and press Enter.
Click "I'll be careful, I promise!".
In the search filter at the top, type: "spicystart.com"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.
Computer users who have problems with spicysearch browser hijacker removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.
Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, in the opened menu, click Help.
Select Troubleshooting Information.
In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.
Remove malicious extensions from Safari:
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click Safari menu, then select Preferences...
In the preferences window select the Extensions tab. Look for any recently installed suspicious extensions and uninstall them.
In the preferences window select General tab and make sure that your homepage is set to a preferred URL, if its altered by a browser hijacker - change it.
In the preferences window select Search tab and make sure that your preferred Internet search engine is selected.
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...
In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.
Remove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:
Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Locate any recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.
Change your homepage and new tab settings:
Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section look for the name of the browser hijacker and click "Disable".
Change your default Internet search engine:
To change your default search engine in Microsoft Edge: Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Privacy and services", scroll to bottom of the page and select "Address bar". In the "Search engines used in address bar" section look for the name of the unwanted Internet search engine, when located click the "Disable" button near it. Alternatively you can click on "Manage search engines", in the opened menu look for unwanted Internet search engine. Click on the puzzle icon near it and select "Disable".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the spicysearch browser hijacker, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.
In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.
Select Restore settings to their default values. In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Microsoft Edge settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
- If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.
A browser hijacker is a type of adware infection that modifies Internet browser settings by assigning the homepage and default Internet search engine settings to some other (unwanted) website URL. Commonly, this type of adware infiltrates operating systems through free software downloads. If your download is managed by a download client, ensure that you decline offers to install advertised toolbars or applications that seek to change your homepage and default Internet search engine settings.
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