What is uTab?
Judging on appearance alone, uTab may seem legitimate and useful, however, it is categorized as a potentially unwanted application (PUA) and a browser hijacker, since it usually infiltrates computers without permission and monitors browsing activity by gathering personal, sensitive data.
After successful infiltration, uTab hijacks popular browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox) and modifies the new tab URL, default search engine, and homepage options. Some settings are assigned to search.yahoo.com or bing.com, however, the new tab setting is typically assigned to a custom uTab page, which contains a search bar.
After entering a search query, users are redirected to, again, bing.com or search.yahoo.com. Note that uTab offers an improved browsing experience, however, its services are useless, since using the aforementioned search engines (which are legitimate) do not require any third party browser extensions/apps.
Another significant downside is users' inability to revert the changes - uTab reassign options and prevents access when attempts are made to change them. Therefore, users are unable to return browsers to their previous states and are forced to visit one of the aforementioned websites when they open a new browser tab/window or enter a search query into the URL bar.
This significantly diminishes the browsing experience. As with most browser-hijacking applications, uTab also tracks users' browsing activity by recording IP addresses, website URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries, and other similar data. This information is likely to contain personal details that developers later share with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals).
These people generate revenue by misusing private information. Thus, the presence of a data-tracking application such as uTab might lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab.|
|Supposed Functionality||Quick access to search pages.|
|Promoted URL||search.yahoo.com, bing.com|
|Affected Browser Settings||Homepage, new tab URL, default search engine.|
|Symptoms||Manipulated Internet browser settings (homepage, default internet search engine, new tab settings). Users are forced to visit the 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 browser tracking (potential privacy issues), display of unwanted ads, redirects to dubious websites.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
All offer useful features, however, few PUAs provide the functions promised. Most have just one purpose: to generate revenue for the developers. Rather than giving any real value for regular users, apps such as uTab simply cause redirects and gather sensitive data.
How did uTab install on my computer?
Criminals have been distributing this browser-hijacking add-on using extension stores (e.g., Chrome Web Store), however, by the time you read this article, it is likely to have been removed by browser developers for security reasons.
As mentioned above, uTab is also likely to infiltrate systems without consent, since developers proliferate it using "bundling" and intrusive advertising methods. "Bundling" is essentially stealth installation of third party applications together with regular software.
Developers know that many users rush download/installation processes and skip steps. Furthermore, intrusive ads are often delivered by adware-type applications already present on the system - these redirect users to dubious websites and run scripts designed to download/install unwanted applications.
Users who click intrusive ads and skip download/installation steps often install rogue applications such as uTab inadvertently. In this way, they expose their systems to risk of various infections and compromise their privacy.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
The key to computer safety is caution. Therefore, pay attention when browsing the internet and downloading/installing software. Bear in mind that intrusive advertisements usually seem legitimate, however, they often redirect to dubious websites (gambling, adult dating, pornography, and similar).
If you experience these ads/redirects, terminate all suspicious applications and browser plug-ins. Additionally, dismiss offers to download/install additional applications and cancel those already included. Download programs from official sources only, preferably using direct download links.
Third party downloaders/installers often include rogue apps, and thus these tools should never be used. If your computer is already infected with uTab, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
uTab browser hijacker permissions in Google Chrome:
uTab browser hijacker in Chrome Web Store:
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 uTab?
- STEP 1. Uninstall uTab application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove search.yahoo.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove uTab browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove search.yahoo.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove search.yahoo.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
uTab 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, "uTab"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications that cause browser redirects to the search.yahoo.com website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
uTab 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.yahoo.com or hxxp://bing.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 "uTab".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the utab redirect, 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 "uTab" and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.
Change your homepage:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, disable "uTab", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.search.yahoo.com or hxxp://bing.com) below the “Open a specific or set of pages” option. If present, click on 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 "search.yahoo.com" or "bing.com", 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 utab redirect, 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 on "Extensions" and remove "uTab", 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, disable remove hxxp://search.yahoo.com or "bing.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: "search.yahoo.com" or "bing.com"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.
Computer users who have problems with utab redirect 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 utab redirect, 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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