What is search.xyz?
Search.xyz is another fake search engine identical to spicystart.com. According to the developers, search.xyz significantly enhances the Internet browsing experience by generating improved results.
Judging on appearance alone, search.xyz may seem legitimate and useful, however, this site is promoted using a deceptive browser hijacker called SearchXYZ. Furthermore, search.xyz (and SearchXYZ) continually records information relating to users' Internet browsing activity.
How do browser hijackers promote search.xyz?
Immediately after infiltration, SearchXYZ hijacks Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox, stealthily assigning the new tab URL, homepage, and default search engine options to search.xyz.
These changes may seem insignificant, however, returning browsers to their previous states becomes impossible - SearchXYZ continually reassigns browser options when attempts are made to change them.
Therefore, users are unable to revert changes performed by this browser hijacker and are forced to visit search.xyz when they open a new browser tab and/or search via the URL bar. This significantly diminishes the web browsing experience. Furthermore, search.xyz and SearchXYZ continually record user-system information relating to web browsing activity.
Collected data is likely to contain personal details that developers sell to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals who misuse private data to generate revenue). Therefore, data tracking can lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. In addition, some browser-hijacking apps run various unwanted processes (e.g., cryptocurrency mining) in the background.
In doing so, potentially unwanted programs significantly reduce overall system performance. For these reasons, we strongly advise you to uninstall the SearchXYZ browser hijacker and never return to search.xyz.
|Name||SearchXYZ 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.
Fake search engine examples
By offering various "useful features" (improved search results, weather forecasts, currency exchange rates, shortcuts to popular websites, etc.), fake search engines attempt to give the impression of legitimacy, however, these websites are designed only to generate revenue for the developers.
Rather than giving any real value for regular users, fake search engines cause unwanted redirects and gather various information.
In addition, some generate false search results and/or intrusive ads (coupons, banners, pop-ups, etc.) that typically lead to dubious websites. In addition, the ads might run scripts that download and install malware. Therefore, using fake search engines risks various computer infections.
How did search.xyz install on my computer?
As mentioned above, search.xyz is promoted using SearchXYZ. Although this browser hijacker has an official download website, it typically infiltrates systems without permission. Developers promote it using a deceptive marketing method called "bundling", and intrusive ads.
Developers hide "bundled" apps within "Custom/Advanced" options of the download/installation processes. Furthermore, many users rush download/installation procedures, skip steps, and click intrusive advertisements. This leads to inadvertent installation of rogue programs.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
The main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior. The key to safety is caution. Therefore, pay close attention when downloading/installing software, and when browsing the Internet in general. Carefully analyze each download/installation step to opt-out of all additionally-included programs.
Note that criminals invest many resources into intrusive ad design and, thus, most look legitimate, however, they redirect to gambling, adult dating, pornography, and other dubious websites. If you encounter these redirects, immediately eliminate all suspicious applications/browser plug-ins.
Website promoting SearchXYZ browser hijacker:
IMPORTANT NOTE! This deceptive site asks to enable web browser notifications:
Therefore, before commencing, perform these steps:
Google Chrome (PC):
- Click the Menu button (three dots) on the right upper corner of the screen
- Select "Settings", scroll down to the bottom and click "Advanced"
- Scroll down to the "Privacy and security" section, select "Content settings" and then "Notifications"
- Click three dots on the right hand side of each suspicious URL and click "Block" or "Remove" (if you click "Remove" and visit the malicious site once more, it will ask to enable notifications again)
Google Chrome (Android):
- Click on the Menu button (three dots) on the right upper corner of the screen and click "Settings"
- Scroll down, click on "Site settings" and then "Notifications"
- In the opened window, locate all suspicious URLs and click on them one-by-one
- Select "Notifications" in the "Permissions" section and set the toggle button to "OFF"
- Click the Menu button (three bars) on the right upper corner of the screen
- Select "Options" and click on "Privacy & Security" in the toolbar on the left hand side of the screen
- Scroll down to the "Permissions" section and click the "Settings" button next to "Notifications"
- In the opened window, locate all suspicious URLs, click the drop-down menu and select "Block"
- Click the Gear button on the right upper corner of the IE window
- Select "Internet options"
- Select the "Privacy" tab and click "Settings" under "Pop-up Blocker" section
- Select suspicious URLs under and remove them one by one by clicking the "Remove" button
- Click the menu button (three dots) on the right upper corner of the Edge window and select "Settings"
- Click on "Site permissions" in the toolbar on the left hand side of the screen and select "Notifications"
- Click three dots on the right hand side of each suspicious URL under "Allow" section and click "Block" or "Remove" (if you click "Remove" and visit the malicious site once more, it will ask to enable notifications again)
- Click "Safari" button on the left upper corner of the screen and select "Preferences..."
- Select the "Websites" tab and then select "Notifications" section on the left pane
- Check for suspicious URLs and apply the "Deny" option for each
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT 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 search.xyz?
- STEP 1. Uninstall SearchXYZ application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove search.xyz redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove SearchXYZ browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove search.xyz homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove search.xyz redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
SearchXYZ 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, "SearchXYZ"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted programs that cause browser redirects to the search.xyz website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
SearchXYZ 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://search.xyz 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 "search xyz".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the searchxyz 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 "SearchXYZ" 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.search.xyz) 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 "SearchXYZ", 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 searchxyz 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 "SearchXYZ", 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://search.xyz 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: "search.xyz"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.
Computer users who have problems with searchxyz 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 searchxyz 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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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the purpose of forcing users to visit search.xyz website?
Cyber criminals (i.e., developers of fake search engines and browser hijackers) generate revenue through redirects to search.xyz and similar sites.
Is visiting search.xyz a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes. Websites like search.xyz typically collect (and sell) information about their visitors.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are primarily distributed through misleading promotional webpages, software bundling, freeware and third-party download websites, P2P sharing networks (e.g., Torrent clients, eMule, etc.), online scams, fake updates, spam browser notifications, and intrusive advertisements.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove browser hijackers?
Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of scanning devices and eliminating installed browser-hijacking apps. It is pertinent to mention that manual removal (unaided by security programs) might be ineffective, especially when multiple browser hijackers have infiltrated the system. In these cases, when one browser hijacker is removed - the others might simply re-install it. Additionally, browser-hijacking software may deny access to removal-related settings or reset user-made changes. Therefore, browser hijackers must be eliminated thoroughly and all at once.