How to remove the SearchZone browser hijacker
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is SearchZone?
SearchZone is a potentially unwanted application (PUA), a browser hijacker that assigns certain browser settings to feed.search-zone.com. In this way, it promotes a fake search engine (feed.search-zone.com) by forcing users to visit the site.
It is also likely that SearchZone can access and record data. SearchZone is categorized as PUA, since people often download and install these browser hijackers unintentionally.
SearchZone promotes feed.search-zone.com by assigning it as the address of the default search engine, homepage, and new tab. SearchZone users visit feed.search-zone.com when they open a hijacked browser, new tab or enter search queries into the URL bar.
It is classified as a fake search engine, since it redirects to search.yahoo.com and simply displays results generated by Yahoo. I.e., it does not generate any unique results. Browser hijackers prevent people from changing the settings as long as they are installed.
Fake search engines can be removed from browser settings only by uninstalling the browser hijacker. In this case, feed.search-zone.com can be removed or changed by uninstalling SearchZone. Additionally, browser hijackers often gather browsing-related information.
For example, IP addresses, URLs of visited pages, geolocations, entered search queries, and other data of this kind. Some browser hijackers collect private, sensitive details as well. The information is sold to third parties and misused to generate revenue in various ways.
Some users can become victims of identity theft, experience problems relating to online privacy, browsing safety and other issues. These are the main reason why browser hijackers should be removed immediately.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab.|
|Supposed Functionality||SearchZone supposedly improves the browsing experience.|
|Serving IP Address (feed.search-zone.com)||184.108.40.206|
|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 Combo Cleaner.
Sealoid, SearchConverter and Spinyon are some examples of other apps also classified as browser hijackers. In most cases, these apps modify browser settings (promoting fake search engines) and gather browsing data and/or other information. Commonly, browser hijackers provide no features or any other value.
They simply cause problems. Remove browser hijackers from browsers and operating systems immediately.
How did SearchZone install on my computer?
Developers often promote PUAs by including them into the download/installation set-ups of other programs. In most cases, offers to download or install potentially unwanted apps can be found in "Advanced", "Custom" and other similar settings. Many users leave these settings unchecked and unchanged.
By leaving the default settings unchanged, they allow included PUAs to be downloaded and installed together with their required software. This distribution method of potentially unwanted apps is called "bundling". Additionally, PUAs are often installed through deceptive ads that execute certain scripts (this happens only when people click the ads).
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
Third party downloaders, installers, Peer-to-Peer networks such as torrent clients, eMule, unofficial websites, and other similar download and installation channels are employed to distribute PUAs or even malicious apps. Therefore, programs and files should be downloaded only from official pages and through direct links.
Downloads and installations should not be finished without checking "Advanced", "Custom" and other settings. Decline offers to download or install additional, unwanted apps. Do not click advertisements that appear on dubious, untrusted web pages, since these can open untrusted websites or cause unwanted downloads and installations.
Remove any unwanted, suspicious extensions, add-ons, and plug-ins installed on the browser immediately. Also remove software of this kind that is installed on the computer. If your computer is already infected with SearchZone, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Website promoting SearchZone browser hijacker (for Firefox):
Website promoting SearchZone browser hijacker (for Chrome):
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. 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 SearchZone?
- STEP 1. Uninstall SearchZone application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove feed.search-zone.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove SearchZone browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove feed.search-zone.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove feed.search-zone.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
SearchZone 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, "SearchZone"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications that cause browser redirects to the feed.search-zone.com website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
SearchZone 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.search-zone.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 "SearchZone".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the feed.search-zone.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 "SearchZone" 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 "SearchZone", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.feed.search-zone.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.search-zone.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.search-zone.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 "SearchZone", 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 "SearchZone", remove hxxp://feed.search-zone.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.search-zone.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.search-zone.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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