What is Watch TV Online?
Watch TV Online is a rogue app advertised as a tool for quick access to TV providers and streaming sites. It can supposedly also provide easy access to shopping and social media websites. Watch TV Online is classified as a browser hijacker, due to the modifications it makes to browsers to promote search.hwatch-tvonline.com (a fake search engine).
This application also monitors users' browsing activity. Few users install this app intentionally, and it is therefore classified as a Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA). Note that Watch TV Online is often distributed with Hide My Searches, another PUA.
Browser hijackers mainly target Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer and other popular browsers. After successful infiltration, these apps assign the addresses of their fake search engines as the homepage, default search engine and new tab/window URLs.
These modifications may sound minor, yet they seriously affect the browsing experience. With Watch TV Online installed, each search query typed into the URL bar and each new tab/window opened redirects to search.hwatch-tvonline.com.
Additionally, bogus web search tools cannot generate search results, and so they redirect (or cause redirection chains leading) to genuine sites such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and others. Note that search.hwatch-tvonline.com is no exception and redirects to search.yahoo.com.
Furthermore, hijacked browsers cannot be recovered without removing the hijacker application - access to the browser settings is restricted or denied outright, and any permitted changes made are automatically reset.
Watch TV Online has data tracking capabilities, which are employed to record browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and users' personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). This sensitive data can then be shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) intent on misusing it for financial gain.
In summary, the presence of data tracking software on devices can lead to serious privacy issues, financial loss and even identity theft. To protect device integrity and user safety, remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins without delay.
|Name||Watch TV Online|
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab.|
|Detection Names||Avast (Win32:AdwareSig [Adw]), Fortinet (Riskware/WinWrapper), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/WinWrapper.V Potentially Unwanted), DrWeb (Adware.Spigot.155), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal).|
|Browser Extension(s)||Watch TV Online, Watch TV Online Tab.|
|Supposed Functionality||Quick access to TV-related websites and services.|
|Serving IP Address (search.hwatch-tvonline.com)||188.8.131.52|
|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.|
|Additional Information||Watch TV Online is distributed with another browser hijacker called Hide My Searches.|
|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.
Run Speed Check, ViewPDF, Watch Online Streams App, and Radio Streaming Tool are examples of other browser hijackers. These apps may not seem dubious (they tend to have legitimate designs and genuine-looking promotional web pages).
Users are enticed to download/install them for access to a wide variety of so-called "useful" functions, however, they are rarely operational and, it most cases, do not work at all. In fact, this applies to all PUAs.
The goal of these unwanted applications is to generate revenue for the developers at users' expense. PUAs operate by hijacking browsers, force-opening redirects to untrusted and malicious sites, running intrusive ad campaigns and gathering private data.
How did Watch TV Online install on my computer?
Some PUAs, including Watch TV Online, have "official" download pages, however, they can also be downloaded/installed together with other programs. "Bundling" is the term used to describe this deceptive marketing tactic of pre-packing regular content with untrusted and malicious software.
Rushing download and installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, using pre-set options, skipping steps, etc.) increases the threat of potential infiltration and infections, via bundled content. Intrusive advertisements also proliferate these apps. When clicked, they execute scripts to stealthily download/install PUAs.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
All products should be researched to verify their legitimacy, before download/installation or purchase. Use official and verified download channels. Untrustworthy sources such as free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, Gnutella, eMule, etc.) and other third party downloaders can offer deceptive and/or bundled content.
Treat download and installation processes with caution. Read the terms, study all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and decline offers to download or install additional apps, tools, features, etc. Intrusive ads usually seem normal and harmless, however, they can redirect to highly dubious sites (e.g. gambling, adult-dating, pornography and so on).
If you encounter these ads/redirects, check the system and immediately remove all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with Watch TV Online, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Watch TV Online browser hijacker installer set-up:
Watch TV Online browser hijacker asking for various permissions:
Website promoting Watch TV Online 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 Watch TV Online?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Watch TV Online application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove search.hwatch-tvonline.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove Watch TV Online browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove search.hwatch-tvonline.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove search.hwatch-tvonline.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Watch TV Online 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, "Watch TV Online"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications that cause browser redirects to the search.hwatch-tvonline.com website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Watch TV Online 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.hwatch-tvonline.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 "Watch TV Online".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the search.hwatch-tvonline.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.
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 "Watch TV Online" and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons (e.g., "Hide My Searches"), 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 "Watch TV Online" (or "Watch TV Online Tab") or "Hide My Searches", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://search.hwatch-tvonline.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:
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 "hxxp://search.hwatch-tvonline.com" and "hxxp://hidemysearches.com", 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 search.hwatch-tvonline.com 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 "Watch TV Online", as well as all other recently installed browser plug-ins (e.g., "Hide My Searches").
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 "Watch TV Online" or "Hide My Searches", remove hxxp://search.hwatch-tvonline.com or hxxp://hidemysearches.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: "extensionControlled"
Set both results to "false" by either double-clicking each entry or clicking the button.
Computer users who have problems with search.hwatch-tvonline.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, 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 search.hwatch-tvonline.com 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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