Prevent GiffySocial from hijacking your browser

Also Known As: GiffySocial browser hijacker
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

hp.myway.com redirect removal instructions

What is hp.myway.com?

GiffySocial is a rogue application developed by Mindspark Interactive Network. It is endorsed for quick access to various GIF images (a lossless compressed image, supporting animated and static visual content). In fact, this app is unable to provide GIFs and so employs GIPHY (a legitimate GIF database and search engine). GiffySocial is classified as a browser hijacker due to the unauthorized changes it makes to browsers to promote a fake search engine (hp.myway.com). Most users install GiffySocial inadvertently, and thus it is categorized as a PUA (potentially unwanted application). GiffySocial also has data tracking capabilities, which it employs to monitor users' browsing habits.

hp.myway.com browser hijacker

In most cases, browser hijackers target Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Mozilla Firefox. Once successfully installed, these hijacking applications modify the homepage, default engine, and new tab/window URL settings. These changes affect browsers, since each new tab/window opened and each search query typed into the URL bar redirects to a fake search engine. GiffySocial promotes hp.myway.com in this manner. Without removal of the browser hijacker, recovering the affected browser is impossible. Although the changes may seem reversible, any user changes made are reset (if indeed access to the settings is allowed at all). Note that GiffySocial is frequently distributed with the Ask Search browser extension. This rogue application also has data tracking abilities. By recording users' browsing activity (browsing and search engine histories), it can collect their personal information (IP addresses, geolocations, and personal details). The data is then passed on to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who misuse it to generate revenue. Therefore, the presence of data-tracking apps can lead to serious privacy issues and even identity theft. To avoid system infiltration/infections and protect private data, remove all dubious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name GiffySocial browser hijacker
Threat Type Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab.
Detection Names (hp.myway.com) Avast (Win32:UnwantedSig [PUP]), BitDefender (), ESET-NOD32 (Win32/Toolbar.MyWebSearch.BA Potentially Unwanted), Kaspersky (), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Browser Extension(s) GiffySocial
Supposed Functionality GIF image sharing/viewing features.
Affected Browser Settings Homepage, new tab URL, default search engine.
Promoted Domain hp.myway.com
Serving IP Address (hp.myway.com) 23.55.212.221
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)

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There are countless PUAs online. Most share certain traits and some are even identical. MyImageConverterFreeTemplateFinder, and DailyFunnyWorld are some examples of similar browser hijackers released by Mindspark Interactive Network. In general, unwanted applications tempt users to install by offering various "useful" features, however, these rarely work as advertised and, in most cases, are nonoperational. The only purpose of these apps is to generate revenue for the developers. Regular users receive no real value. PUAs hijack browsers, cause redirects to sale-based, dubious, even malicious web pages, run intrusive advertisement campaigns (pop-ups, coupons, banners, etc.), and gather sensitive information.

How did GiffySocial install on my computer?

Some PUAs (including GiffySocial) have "official" download websites. These unwanted applications also proliferate through the download/install set-ups of other programs. This deceptive marketing tactic of pre-packing ordinary software with unwanted content is called "bundling". Rushed download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps and sections, using pre-set options, etc.) endangers systems with infiltration and infections. Intrusive advertisements are also used to spread rogue apps. Usually located in compromised websites, intrusive ads may seem ordinary and harmless, however, once clicked, they can execute scripts designed to perform stealthy downloads/installs of PUAs.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

Research software/files to verify its legitimacy before downloading/installing. Only official and verified channels should be used for downloading, as opposed to third party downloaders and other untrustworthy sources. When installing, read the terms, explore possible options, use "Custom/Advanced" settings to opt-out of downloading/installing additional apps, tool, features, etc. Intrusive advertisements typically seem legitimate, however, they can redirect to dubious websites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, and similar). If you encounter these ads/redirects, check your system and immediately remove any suspicious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with GiffySocial, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.

GiffySocial browser hijacker installer set-up:

Official GiffySocial browser hijacker installation setup

GiffySocial browser hijacker asking for various permissions:

GiffySocial asking for permissions

Website promoting GiffySocial browser hijacker:

Website used to promote GiffySocial browser hijacker

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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Quick menu:

GiffySocial browser hijacker removal:

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.

Windows XP users:

Accessing Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP

Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.

Windows 10 and Windows 8 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.

Mac 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.

hp.myway.com browser hijacker uninstall via Control Panel

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

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications that cause browser redirects to the hp.myway.com website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

GiffySocial browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing hp.myway.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 hp.myway.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://hp.myway.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 hp.myway.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 "hp.myway".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the giffysocial 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 hp.myway.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 "GiffySocial" and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.

Change your homepage:

Removing hp.myway.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 GiffySocial, look for a browser hijacker URL (hp.myway.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 hp.myway.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 "Ask Web 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 giffysocial 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 hp.myway.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 "GiffySocial", as well as all other recently installed browser plug-ins.

Change your homepage:

Removing hp.myway.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 GiffySocial, remove hxxp://hp.myway.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Removing hp.myway.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 giffysocial 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 giffysocial 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.

Removal assistance:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove giffysocial browser hijacker from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

Post a comment:
If you have additional information on giffysocial browser hijacker or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.

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.

QR Code
GiffySocial browser hijacker QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of GiffySocial browser hijacker on your mobile device.
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