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Str-search.com Redirect

Also Known As: str-search.com browser hijacker
Damage level: Medium

What is str-search.com?

str-search.com is another fake web search engine that supposedly enhances the browsing experience by generating improved results and providing quick access to various popular websites.

Initially, str-search.com may seem legitimate and useful, however, developers promote this site via browser-hijacking downloaders/installers designed to modify Internet browser options without permission. In addition, str-search.com continually records information relating to web browsing activity.

str-search.com browser hijacker

Immediately after infiltration, rogue set-ups hijack Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox, stealthily modifying the new tab URL, default search engine, and homepage options by assigning them to str-search.com. Set-ups install a number of "helper objects" - third party applications and/or browser plug-ins.

Therefore, although the aforementioned changes may seem insignificant, users are unable to revert them. "Helper objects" reassign browser options when attempts are made to change them.

In this way, "helper objects" prevent users from returning browsers to their previous states and they are forced to visit str-search.com when they search via the URL bar or simply open a new browser tab. This significantly diminishes the web browsing experience.

Note that str-search.com and "helper objects" record various user-system information relating to web browsing habits. Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, search queries, URLs visited, keystrokes, and other collected data usually includes personal details that developers later sell to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals).

These people misuse private data to generate revenue. Therefore, data tracking can lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. If you encounter redirects to str-search.com, immediately remove all dubious applications and browser plug-ins.

Threat Summary:
Name str-search.com 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)

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The Internet is full of fake search engines similar to str-search.com. The list includes (but is not limited to) medianewpagesearch.com, newtabtools.com, photorito.me, and browserbleach.com.

 By offering improved results and other 'useful features' (shortcuts to popular websites, weather forecasts, currency exchange rates, etc.), fake search engines attempt to give the impression of legitimacy. In fact, these sites deliver no real value for regular users.

The only purpose of all fake search engines is to generate revenue for the developers -  they merely cause unwanted redirects and gather sensitive information. In some cases, they generate intrusive ads and misleading results, both of which lead to malicious sites. Therefore, using a fake Internet search engine can lead to high-risk computer infections.

How did str-search.com install on my computer?

As mentioned above, str-search.com is promoted using browser-hijacking downloaders/installers. This marketing method is called "bundling". Developers are aware that many users rush download/installation processes and skip steps.

Therefore, all details regarding modification of browser options are hidden within various sections (typically "Custom/Advanced" settings) of these procedures. By rushing and skipping steps, many users inadvertently grant set-ups permission to modify browser options, expose their systems to risk of various infections, and compromises their privacy.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) are also distributed using the "bundling" method and intrusive advertisements. To prevent installation of these rogue programs, be very cautious when downloading/installing software and browsing the Internet. Carefully analyze each step of the download/installation processes and opt-out of all additionally-included programs.

You are also advised to download your applications from official sources only, using direct download links. Be aware that intrusive ads often seem legitimate, but most lead to gambling, adult dating, pornography, and other dubious websites. They are usually delivered by adware-type PUPs.

If you encounter suspicious redirects, immediately remove all dubious applications and browser plug-ins. The key to computer safety is caution.

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Quick menu:

str-search.com browser hijacker removal:

Windows 11 users:

Accessing Apps and Features in Windows 11

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:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

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:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

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:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

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.

str-search.com browser hijacker uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window: look for any recently-installed suspicious applications, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted programs that cause browser redirects to the str-search.com website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

str-search.com browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing str-search.com related Internet Explorer extensions

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options 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:

Removing str-search.com from Internet Explorer homepage

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Internet Options", in the opened window, remove hxxp://str-search.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:

Removing str-search.com from Internet Explorer default search engine

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options 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 "str-search.com".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the str-search.com 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.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows XP

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.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 7

Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.

Reseting Internet Explorer settings to default in Windows 8 - accessing

In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - Internet options advanced tab

Click the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - click the Reset button in the Internet options advanced tab

Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - confirm settings reset to default by clicking the reset button

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing str-search.com related Google Chrome extensions

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and remove them.

Change your homepage:

Removing str-search.com from Google Chrome homepage

Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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.str-search.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:

Removing str-search.com from Google Chrome default search engine

To change your default search engine in Google Chrome: Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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 "str-search", and when located, click the three vertical dots near this URL and select "Remove from list".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the str-search.com browser hijacker, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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.

Google Chrome settings reset step 1

After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 2

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 3

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing str-search.com related Mozilla Firefox extensions

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click "Extensions" and remove all recently-installed browser plug-ins.

Change your homepage:

Removing str-search.com from Mozilla Firefox homepage

To reset your homepage, click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), then select "Options", in the opened window, remove hxxp://str-search.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Removing str-search.com from Mozilla Firefox 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: "str-search.com"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with str-search.com 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, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Removing browser hijackers from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click Safari menu, then select Preferences...

removing browser hijacker from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the preferences window select the Extensions tab. Look for any recently installed suspicious extensions and uninstall them.

Removing browser hijackers from safari step 3 - changing homepage

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.

removing browser hijackers from safari step 4 - changing the default Internet search engine

In the preferences window select Search tab and make sure that your preferred Internet search engine is selected.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) logoRemove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 2

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 3

To change your default search engine in Microsoft Edge: Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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 Microsoft Edge (Chromium) puzzle icon near it and select "Disable".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the str-search.com browser hijacker, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 1

In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 2

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.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 3

  • If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.

Summary:

declining installation of browser hijackers while downloading free software sampleA 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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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Software uninstall instructions
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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