Storm Search browser hijacker removal instructions
What is Storm Search?
Storm Search is a typical browser hijacker that changes certain browser settings to stormsearch.net. Its main purpose is to hijack browsers whilst also promoting a fake search engine. Storm Search also adds the "Managed by your organization" feature to Chrome browsers, and therefore removal becomes more complicated. Additionally, apps of this type gather browsing data and other information. In most cases users do not download or install these apps intentionally. Therefore, Storm Search and other browser hijackers are categorized as potentially unwanted applications (PUAs).
After installation, Storm Search sets the address of the homepage, default search engine and new tab to stormsearch.net. In this way, it forces users to visit this address when they open a browser, new tab, or enter search queries into the URL bar. Note that stormsearch.net redirects users to search.yahoo.com or google.com, thus displaying results generated by Yahoo or Google. Therefore, as a search engine, stormsearch.net is useless and redundant. To remove this address from browser settings, you must first uninstall Storm Search, since these apps prevent users from changing/undoing settings that are assigned by them. Furthermore, apps such as Storm Search collect browsing data (e.g., entered search queries, addresses of visited pages, IP addresses, geolocations). The information could be used to generate revenue by selling it to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) or in other ways. Furthermore, browser hijackers can collect browsing data and private, sensitive information. Users of Storm Search might then experience problems relating to browsing safety, online privacy, or even become victims of identity theft. Remove all browser hijackers from browsers and computers and do not use fake search engines.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab.|
|Browser Extension(s)||Storm Search, Storm|
|Supposed Functionality||This app supposedly improves the browsing experience.|
|Serving IP Address (stormsearch.net)||220.127.116.11|
|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 more examples of apps of this type are Burst Search (this one is identical to Storm Search), Remove Notifications, and StreaminSearchs. Generally, browser hijackers are advertised as useful, legitimate applications, which supposedly improve the browsing experience, include various features, etc., however, most track information and promote fake search engines - they are designed only to generate revenue for the developers.
How did Storm Search install on my computer?
In some cases, PUAs are downloaded and installed through clicked deceptive advertisements that execute certain scripts. Developers also distribute them using a deceptive marketing method called "bundling". They trick users into downloading and installing PUAs with other, regular programs. Generally, PUAs are included into download/installation set-ups as 'additional offers', which can be found and declined in "Advanced", "Custom and other similar settings. Many users leave these settings unchecked and unchanged, thereby allowing PUAs to be downloaded and installed alongside software that has the rogue programs included in the set-ups.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
Programs and files should be downloaded only from official pages and through direct links. Third party downloaders, installers, unofficial sites, Peer-to-Peer networks such as torrent clients, eMule, and other channels of this kind can be used to distribute unwanted, even malicious applications and files. Unwanted downloads and installations can be prevented by declining offers to download or install unwanted apps before completing the process. These offers are often listed in "Custom", "Advanced" or other settings. Do not click ads that are displayed on dubious pages, since they can cause installation of unwanted software and open untrusted web pages. Remove any suspicious, unwanted extensions, plug-ins or add-ons already installed on the browser. Also remove programs of this kind that are installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with Storm Search, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Storm Search browser hijacker asking for various permissions:
Website used to promote Storm Search browser hijacker:
stormsearch.net redirects to search.yahoo.com (GIF):
stormsearch.net redirects to google.com (GIF):
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 Storm Search?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Storm Search application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove stormsearch.net redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove Storm Search browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove stormsearch.net homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove stormsearch.net redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Storm 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, "Storm Search"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications that cause browser redirects to the stormsearch.net website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Storm 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://stormsearch.net 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 "Storm Search".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the stormsearch.net 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 "Storm 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 "Storm Search" (or simply "Storm"), look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.stormsearch.net) 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 "stormsearch.net", 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 stormsearch.net 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 "Storm 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 "Storm Search", remove hxxp://stormsearch.net 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 stormsearch.net 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 stormsearch.net 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 stormsearch.net redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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