Storm Search browser hijacker removal instructions
What is Storm Search?
Storm Search is a typical browser hijacker - it is designed to change some of the browser's settings to stormsearch.net. In other words, its main purpose is to hijack a browser/promote a fake search engine. Also, Storm Search adds the "Managed by your organization" feature to Chrome browsers, which means its uninstallation becomes more complicated. Additionally, apps of this type are designed to gather browsing data and/or other information. In most cases users do not download and install such apps intentionally, therefore, Storm Search (and other browser hijackers) is categorized as a potentially unwanted application (PUA).
After installation Storm Search sets address of a homepage, default search engine and new tab to stormsearch.net - it ensures that users would visit this address when they open a browser, new tab and enter search queries into URL bar. Stormsearch.net redirects users either to search.yahoo.com or google.com, in other words, it displays results generated either by Yahoo or Google. Therefore, as a search engine stormsearch.net is completely useless. In order to remove this address from browser's settings it is required to uninstall Storm Search first, it is because apps of this type prevent users from changing/undoing settings that are assigned by them. Furthermore, apps like Storm Search are designed to collect browsing data (e.g., entered search queries, addresses of visited pages, IP addresses, geolocations). The problem is that gathered information could be used to generate revenue by selling it to third parties (potentially cyber criminals) or in some other ways. What is worse, a browser hijacker can be designed to collect not only browsing data but also some sensitive data. Apps Storm Search could be the reason why their users would experience problems related to browsing safety, online privacy, or even become victims of identity theft. It is advised not to have any browser hijacker installed on a browser and/or computer or use fake search engine.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Browser Extension(s)||Storm Search|
|Supposed Functionality||This app supposed to improve 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.
A couple more examples of apps of this type are Burst Search (this one is identical to Storm Search), Remove Notifications and StreaminSearchs. As a rule, browser hijackers are advertised as useful, legitimate applications that supposed to improve browsing experience, include various features, etc. Nevertheless, most of them operate as information tracking tools and are designed to promote fake search engines - they are designed only to generate revenue for their developers.
How did Storm Search install on my computer?
In some cases PUAs get downloaded, installed through clicked deceptive advertisements that are designed to execute certain scripts. Although, usually it happens when developers distribute them by using a deceptive marketing method called "bundling". This is a method that they use to trick users into downloading and/or installing PUAs together with other programs that they download, install intentionally. As a rule, PUAs are included in download and/or installation setups as additional offers that can be found and declined in their "Advanced", "Custom and other similar settings. Users often leave those settings unchecked and unchanged, and that is how PUAs are allowed to be downloaded and/or installed alongside with programs that have those PUAs included in their setups.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
Programs, files should be downloaded only from official pages and through direct links. Third party downloaders, installers, unofficial sites, Peer-to-Peer networks like torrent clients, eMule, and other channels of this kind can be used to distribute unwanted, sometimes even malicious applications, files. Also, unwanted downloads and installations can be prevented by declining offers to download and/or install unwanted apps before completing download and/or installation processes. Such offers are mentioned in "Custom", "Advanced" or other settings of setups. Ads that are displayed on shady pages can cause installation of unwanted software too. Also, such ads often open untrustworthy pages. Therefore, they should not be clicked as well. If some suspicious, unwanted extension, plug-in and add-on is already installed on a browser, then it should be removed from it. Programs of this kind that are installed on the the operating system should be uninstalled too. If your computer is already infected with Storm Search, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this 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 (which 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", 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 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 "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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