Twisted Search browser hijacker removal instructions
What is Twisted Search?
Twisted Search, also known as TwistedSearch, is a piece of software promoted as tool to improve web searches. It operates by making alterations to browser settings in order to promote feed.twistedsearch.com - a fake search engine. Therefore, it is classified as a browser hijacker. Furthermore, it has data tracking abilities, which is common for all software within this classification. Twisted Search has questionable proliferation methods, so it is also considered to be a PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application)
Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and other popular browsers are typical targets of browser hijackers. Following success infiltration, they set the addresses of their illegitimate web searchers as browsers' default search engine, homepage and new tab/window URLs. These modifications may appear minor and relatively easy to undo, however that is not the case. They seriously diminish the browsing experience, for example with Twisted Search installed: every new browser tab/window opened and every search query typed into the URL bar - redirect to feed.twistedsearch.com. Fake search engines are worthless, since they are usually unable to generate search results. Hence, they tend to redirect (or cause redirection chains leading) to Google, Yahoo, Bing or other legitimate web searchers. The Twisted Search search engine (feed.twistedsearch.com) is not an exception, it redirects to search.yahoo.com. Attempting to reset these alterations is impossible, as any changes users attempt to make can be automatically reset, if access to the browsers' settings is not restricted or denied. Therefore, the browser hijacker must be removed to restore the affected browser. Most browser hijackers, Twisted Search as well, can track data. This software monitors browsing activity (URLs visited, webpages viewed, search queries, etc.) and gathers personal information extracted from it (IP addresses, geolocations and other sensitive data). The collected information is likely to be shared with third parties, intent on misusing it for financial gain - potentially, by putting it to criminal use. Presence of data tracking content on systems can result in financial losses, severe privacy issues and even identity theft. To ensure device and user safety, it is strongly advised to remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins without delay.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Browser Extension(s)||Twisted Search or TwistedSearch|
|Supposed Functionality||It can supposedly improve web searches.|
|Serving IP Address (feed.twistedsearch.com)||126.96.36.199|
|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.
Browser hijackers typically appear legitimate and offer various "useful" features; Booster Search, Convert Your File Now, Driver Maps and My Weather Today are a few examples of such software. These qualities are shared by practically all PUAs. However, much like with browser hijackers, unwanted applications rarely have operational features. The only goal of PUAs is to generate profit for the developers - at user expense. Instead of delivering on any promises, these apps hijack browsers, force-open untrustworthy and malicious sites, deliver intrusive advert campaigns and gather sensitive data.
How did Twisted Search install on my computer?
Select PUAs (e.g. Twisted Search) have "official" download webpages. However, they can also be downloaded/installed alongside other products. "Bundling" is the term used to describe this deceptive marketing technique of packing regular programs with unwanted or malicious software. By rushing download/installation processes (e.g. by ignoring terms, skipping steps, using pre-set options, etc.) - users risk unintentionally allowing bundled content onto their devices. Once clicked on, intrusive ads can execute scripts, designed to stealthily download/install PUAs.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is recommended to research products to verify their legitimacy, prior to download/installation. Only official and trustworthy download channels should be used. Unofficial and free file-hosting websites, P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders - are deemed to be untrustworthy, hence they are advised against use. Download/Installation processes should be treated with caution; therefore, it is important to read terms, study all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out from additional apps, tools, functions and so on. Intrusive adverts rarely appear suspicious, usually they look ordinary and harmless. However, when clicked they redirect to highly unreliable and questionable sites, such as gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others. Should users encounter advertisements/redirects of this kind, they are to inspect the system and immediately eliminate all dubious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins from it. If your computer is already infected with Twisted Search, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Twisted Search browser hijacker asking for various permissions:
Website promoting Twisted Search 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
- 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
- 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 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 Twisted Search?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Twisted Search application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove feed.twistedsearch.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove Twisted Search browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove feed.twistedsearch.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove feed.twistedsearch.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Twisted Search 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, "Twisted Search"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the feed.twistedsearch.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Twisted Search 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://feed.twistedsearch.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 "Twisted Search".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the feed.twistedsearch.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 "Twisted Search" 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 "Twisted Search" (or simply "TwistedSearch"), look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.feed.twistedsearch.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 "feed.twistedsearch.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 feed.twistedsearch.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 plugins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove "Twisted Search", 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 "Twisted Search", remove hxxp://feed.twistedsearch.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 feed.twistedsearch.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 feed.twistedsearch.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.
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove feed.twistedsearch.com redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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