Private Tab browser hijacker removal instructions
What is Private Tab?
The Private Tab application is advertised as a tool that deletes browsing history and other data when people launch their browsers. In fact, this app is a browser hijacker: it promotes a fake search engine (privatetab.org) and collects various data. Browser hijackers are classified as potentially unwanted applications (PUAs), since people often often download and install them inadvertently.
Typically, browser hijackers promote fake search engines by changing browser settings such as the address of the default search engine, homepage, and new tab URL. They also prevent users from undoing these changed so that they are forced to visit a specific address when they open a browser, new tab and enter search queries into the URL bar. This is the case as long as the browser hijacker is installed on the browser and/or operating system. To undo the settings it is therefore necessary to uninstall the browser hijacker that originally assigned them. Research shows that Private Tab assigns browser settings to privatetab.org. Note that this fake search engine does not generate any unique results and simply redirects users to bing.com or search.yahoo.com. In summary, it provides results generated by other, legitimate search engines. In cases when Private Tab does not change the aforementioned settings, it detects when users enter search queries into the URL bar and then provides results by a Bing or Yahoo search engine. Private Tab and its associated fake search engine are useless. Browser hijackers also collect various data. They target details such as IP addresses, geolocations, entered search queries, addresses of visited pages and other browsing data. They can also record personal, sensitive information. The developers often misuse the data by selling it to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals), who then misuse it to generate revenue in other ways. People who have PUAs installed on their browsers and/or operating systems might thus become victims of identity theft, experience problems relating to browsing safety, privacy, and other issues. Remove all browser hijackers and PUAs from your system immediately.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab.|
|Browser Extension(s)||Private Tab|
|Supposed Functionality||This app supposedly removes browsing data each time the user opens a browser.|
|Serving IP Address (privatetab.org)||220.127.116.11, 18.104.22.168|
|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 Malwarebytes.
Some examples of other apps of this type include My Video Converter, Logic Search and Directions Tab. Browser hijackers and other PUAs supposedly deliver various features or other value, however, they help the developers to generate revenue. Having apps of this type installed on the browser and/or computer can lead to serious problems. Therefore, never trust or download any PUAs.
How did Private Tab install on my computer?
People usually cause download and installation of unwanted apps by clicking deceptive ads that execute certain scripts or when they download/install programs that have PUAs included in the set-ups. PUAs are included in set-ups of other programs and presented as "additional offers". This distribution method is called "bundling" and is used to trick people into downloading and installing PUAs with regular programs. In most cases, information about included apps can be found in "Advanced", "Custom" and other similar settings, however, people often leave these unchanged, thereby allowing PUAs to be downloaded and installed through the set-ups of programs that are used to distribute them.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
Check all "Custom", "Advanced", and "Manual" settings of the download and installation setups. Dismiss any offers to download or install unwanted software before completing the process. Do not download or install software through untrusted, unofficial websites, torrent clients, eMule (and Peer-to-Peer networks), third party downloaders, installers, and so on. Software and files should be downloaded from official websites and via direct links. Intrusive ads that appear on dubious pages should not be clicked, since they can open potentially malicious pages or cause unwanted downloads and installations. Remove any unwanted, suspicious apps (extensions, add-ons, plug-ins) installed on the browser. The same should be applied to programs of this kind that are installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with Private Tab, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Private Tab redirects to search.yahoo.com (GIF):
Private Tab asks for a permission to to access and modify data:
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:
- What is Private Tab?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Private Tab application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove privatetab.org redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove Private Tab browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove privatetab.org homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove privatetab.org redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Private Tab browser hijacker removal:
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.
Windows XP users:
Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.
Windows 10 and Windows 8 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.
Mac 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, "Private Tab"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications that cause browser redirects to the privatetab.org website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Private Tab 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://privatetab.org 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 "Private Tab".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the privatetab.org 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 "Private Tab" 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 "Private Tab", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.privatetab.org) 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 "privatetab.org", 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 privatetab.org 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 "Private Tab", 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 "Private Tab", remove hxxp://privatetab.org 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 privatetab.org 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 privatetab.org 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.
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove privatetab.org redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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