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Prevent Forms Hub App from hijacking your browser

Also Known As: search.formshubtab.com redirect
Damage level: Medium

What is Forms Hub App?

Forms Hub App is a browser hijacker, advertised as an application that allows users to access free forms, accompanied by a supplementary web searching tool. It shares the name with a completely legitimate service (FormsHub), yet they are in no way related.

This rogue app promotes a fake search engine (search.formshubtab.com), changes browser settings and may also possess data tracking abilities. Due to most users installing Forms Hub App inadvertently, it falls into the category of PUAs (potentially unwanted applications).

search.formshubtab.com browser hijacker

Typically, browser hijackers target the most popular browsers, such as: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer. Once within a system, they alter browser settings and some can even gather information on browsing activity and user identity. The browser settings in question, are: homepage, new tab/window URL and default search engine.

Forms Hub App changes them to search.formshubtab.com. Basically, these changes work like this: every new tab/window opened and every search query typed into the URL bar - all redirect to the fake search engine. However, search.formshubtab.com does not provide search results, instead it redirects to search.yahoo.com - a legitimate search engine.

The changes this browser hijacker makes may seem easy to undo, however users are either denied access when trying to, or the changes made are simply reset. Therefore, using a hijacked browser is either seriously exasperating or downright impossible.

Additionally, Forms Hub App is often distributed together with the Hide My Searches app - also a PUA. Some PUAs (including browser hijackers) can spy on users' and gather data. By monitoring browsing habits (URLs visited, pages viewed, search engine history, etc.), they can gather personal information (IP address, geolocation and real-life user identity details).

It is crucial to understand, that this information is then passed onto third parties (possibly, cyber criminals), seeking to misuse it in order to generate revenue. PUAs present within a device can lead to serious browser and system invasions/infections, as well as severe privacy issues (even culminate in identity theft). Therefore, all rogue applications must be removed immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name Forms Hub App
Threat Type Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab
Detection Names Avast (Win32:AdwareSig [Adw]), DrWeb (Adware.Spigot.145), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/WinWrapper.V Potentially Unwanted), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.Win32.WebSearch.gen), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Browser Extension(s) Forms Hub App, Forms
Supposed Functionality This browser hijacker claims to provide users with free and easy access to various document forms.
Promoted URL search.formshubtab.com
Serving IP Address (search.formshubtab.com) 52.204.175.169
Affected Browser Settings Homepage, new tab URL, default search engine
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.
Additional Information Forms Hub App is distributed alongside with another browser hijacker called Hide My Searches.
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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Developers of Forms Hub App have released many identical browser hijackers (e.g. Your Template FinderGet Free TranslationsUniversal Converter and so on). Although, practically all applications of this kind share certain similarities. PUAs are designed to appear as legitimate as possible, further enticing users with promises of "usefulness" and "functionality".

However, despite how good those offers sound (often "free" and with a wide variety of all sorts of features), they rarely operate as promised, given if they are functional at all. It must be understood, that the only purpose that PUAs serve is to create profit for their designers.

Therefore, instead of delivering on any promises, they promote fake search engines, generate redirects to sale-based, untrustworthy and even malicious websites, deliver intrusive advertisement campaigns (pop-ups, coupons, banners, etc.) and gather user's browsing and personal information.

How did Forms Hub App install on my computer?

PUAs can be installed onto devices without user knowledge or installed inadvertently by users themselves. The aforementioned occurs through clicks on invasive advertisement (most commonly, located within compromised websites); once triggered the ads can execute scripts, designed to autonomously download/install PUAs.

They can also be downloaded from "official" sources; for example, Forms Hub App has its own website, where it is offered free to download.

As well as downloaded within install pack/bundles. "Bundling" is a false marketing method, by which regular programs are packed alongside PUAs. By rushing through the installation process, users can easily miss the presence and intent of rogue applications.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is highly recommended to use only official and verified sources for downloading software (preferably, through direct download links). Using P2P (peer-to-peer) sharing networks and other third party downloaders is strongly advised against.

When installing, recommendations include: reading terms and exploring possible options, using "Custom/Advanced" settings and opting-out/declining from installing/downloading additional applications/features. Users should also pay great attention to the websites they visit and refrain from clicking on various ads.

The latter is doubly important, as invasive advertisements tend to look absolutely ordinary and harmless. However, the websites they redirect to can be used to determine their inauthenticity (e.g. pornography, adult-dating, gambling and similar).

Should users encounter such ads/redirects they are recommended to inspect their device and remove all suspicious apps and/or browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with Forms Hub App, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.

Forms Hub App browser hijacker installer set-up:

Official Forms Hub App browser hijacker installation setup

Website promoting Forms Hub App browser hijacker:

Website used to promote Forms Hub App browser hijacker

IMPORTANT NOTE! This deceptive site asks to enable web browser notifications:

Forms Hub App promoting website asking 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)

Disable pop-up' notifications in Google Chrome web browser

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"

Disable pop-up' notifications in Android Google Chrome web browser

Mozilla Firefox:

  • 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"

Disable pop-up' notifications in Mozilla Firefox web browser

Internet Explorer:

  • 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

Disable pop-up' notifications in Internet Explorer web browser

Microsoft Edge:

  • Click the menu button (three dots) on the right upper corner of the Edge window
  • Scroll down, find and click "Settings"
  • Scroll down again and click "View advanced settings"
  • Click "Manage" under "Website permissions"
  • Click the switch under each suspicious website

Disable pop-up' notifications in Microsoft Edge web browser

Safari (Mac):

  • 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

Disable pop-up' notifications in Safari web browser

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Quick menu:

Forms Hub App 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.

search.formshubtab.com browser hijacker uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window: look for any recently installed suspicious applications (for example, "Forms Hub App"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the search.formshubtab.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

Forms Hub App browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing search.formshubtab.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 search.formshubtab.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://search.formshubtab.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 search.formshubtab.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 "Forms Hub App".

Optional method:

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

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 search.formshubtab.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 "Forms Hub App" and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons (e.g., "Hide My Searches"), and remove them.

Change your homepage:

Removing search.formshubtab.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, disable "Forms Hub App" or "Hide My Searches", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://search.formshubtab.com or hxxps://hidemysearches.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:

Removing search.formshubtab.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 "hxxp://search.formshubtab.com" and "hxxp://hidemysearches.com", 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 search.formshubtab.com redirect, 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 plugins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing search.formshubtab.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 on "Extensions" and remove "Forms Hub App" (or simply "Forms"), as well as all other recently installed browser plug-ins (e.g., "Hide My Searches").

Change your homepage:

Removing search.formshubtab.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 disable "Forms Hub App" (or simply "Forms") or "Hide My Searches", remove hxxp://search.formshubtab.com or hxxp://hidemysearches.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Removing search.formshubtab.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: "moz-extension"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with search.formshubtab.com redirect 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 search.formshubtab.com redirect, 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.

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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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