Nebula Search browser hijacker removal instructions
What is the Nebula Search browser hijacker?
Nebula Search is a piece of dubious software, categorized as a browser hijacker. It operates by making changes to browser settings in order to promote fake search engines. Nebula Search promotes nebulasearch.net. Additionally, this browser hijacker has data tracking abilities, which are employed to spy on users' browsing activity. Nebula Search also adds the "Managed by your organization" feature to Google Chrome browsers. Due to the questionable techniques used to distribute Nebula Search, it is considered to be a PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application).
Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer and other popular browsers are common targets of browser hijackers. This rogue software operates by assigning the addresses of illegitimate web searchers as browsers' homepage, default search engine and new tab/window URLs. Nebula Search makes these modifications to browsers as well - to promote nebulasearch.net. Hence, with this browser hijacker installed: every new browser tab/window opened and web search done via the URL bar - redirect to nebulasearch.net. Fake search engines are usually unable to provide search results, so they redirect to (or cause redirection chains ending with) legitimate ones. The web searcher of Nebula Search (nebulasearch.net) is not an exception to this, it redirects to Yahoo (search.yahoo.com). Furthermore, browser hijackers can restrict/deny access to the browser's settings and/or undo any permitted changes made. Therefore, recovering an affected browser is impossible without removal the browser hijacker. As mentioned in the introduction, Nebula Search can track data. It can record browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and gather personal information extracted from it (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). The collected data is often monetized by being shared with and/or sold to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). In summary, presence of data-tracking software on devices can result in financial loss, serious privacy issues and even identity theft. To protect device integrity and user safety, all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be eliminated without delay.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Browser Extension(s)||Nebula Search, Nebula|
|Serving IP Address (nebulasearch.net)||22.214.171.124|
|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.
StreamsSearch, AllMoviesSearch and Quick Search Tool are a couple examples of other browser hijackers. They tend to appear legitimate and harmless. This software typically offers various "useful" and "advantageous" functionalities. However, despite how good the promised features may sound - they are rarely operational. In fact, this is true of practically all PUAs. The only goal of unwanted applications is to generate profit for the developers; to users - they are worthless and can instead cause severe issues. PUAs are designed to modify browsers, force-open unreliable or malicious webpages, run intrusive advertisement campaigns and collect private information.
How did Nebula Search install on my computer?
PUAs can be downloaded/installed together with other products. This deceptive marketing technique of packing ordinary software with unwanted or malicious additions - is termed "bundling". Rushed download/installation processes (e.g. ignored terms, skipped steps, etc.) - increase the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled content. Select PUAs have "official" download pages. Intrusive ads proliferate these applications as well. Once clicked on, they can execute scripts to stealthily download/install PUAs without user permission.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is recommended to research products before download/installation and/or purchase. Only official and verified download channels should be used. Untrustworthy sources, like: unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders - often offer bundled programs and content that has been otherwise tampered with. When downloading/installing, it is important to read terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out from supplementary apps, tools, features and other additions. Intrusive adverts appear legitimate and innocuous, however they redirect to highly questionable sites (e.g. pornography, gambling, adult-dating, and so on). In case of encounters with advertisements and/or redirects of this kind, the system must be inspected and all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately removed from it. If your computer is already infected with Nebula Search, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Screenshot of Nebula Search browser hijacker asking for permissions:
Appearance of Nebula Search browser hijacker promoting nebulasearch.net (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 Nebula Search?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Nebula Search application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove nebulasearch.net redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove Nebula Search browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove nebulasearch.net homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove nebulasearch.net redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Nebula 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, "Nebula Search"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the nebulasearch.net website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Nebula 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://nebulasearch.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 "Nebula Search".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the nebulasearch.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 "Nebula 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 "Nebula Search" (or simply "Nebula"), look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.nebulasearch.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 "nebulasearch.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 nebulasearch.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 "Nebula 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 "Nebula Search", remove hxxp://nebulasearch.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 nebulasearch.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 nebulasearch.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 nebulasearch.net redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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