What is MovieSearches?
MovieSearches is dubious software, categorized as a browser hijacker. Following successful installation, it makes changes to browser settings to promote movie-searches.com (a fake search engine). Browser hijackers often monitor users' browsing activity, and MovieSearches is no exception to this.
Due to the dubious techniques used to proliferate this browser hijacker, it is also classified as a Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA).
Browser hijackers primarily target popular browsers with large user bases. This rogue software operates by assigning the addresses of fake search engines (e.g. movie-searches.com) as the homepage, default search engine and new tab/window URLs.
Therefore, with MovieSearches installed, each new browser tab/window opened and search query typed into the URL bar redirects to movie-searches.com. Fake search engines are seldom capable of providing genuine search results, and so they tend to redirect (or cause redirection chains leading) to Yahoo, Bing, Google and other legitimate sites.
This is the case with movie-searches.com, which redirects to the Yahoo (search.yahoo.com) search engine. Furthermore, browser hijackers can restrict/deny access to the browser settings and/or reset any permitted changes made. Therefore, recovering an affected browser is impossible without removing the software hijacking it.
Furthermore, MovieSearches has data tracking capabilities. It can record browsing activity (URLs visited, web pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and gather sensitive information extracted from it (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). The collected data usually contains personally identifiable information.
Developers monetize this information by sharing it with and/or selling it to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals).
To summarize, the presence of data-tracking software on devices can result in serious privacy issues, financial loss and even lead to identity theft. To ensure device and user safety, all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be eliminated without delay.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab.|
|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.
ConverterSearchHD, PDFSearchz, StreamSearchs and Browse Moment are some examples of other browser hijackers. They may seem legitimate and offer a wide variety of "useful" functionality, however, the features rarely work as advertised and, in most cases, do not work at all.
In fact, this applies to most PUAs. This software has just one goal: to generate revenue for the developers. Regular users receive no real value and can experience serious problems. PUAs hijack browsers, force-open untrusted and malicious websites, deliver intrusive advertisement campaigns and collect vulnerable information.
How did MovieSearches install on my computer?
Some PUAs (including MovieSearches) have "official" pages, from which they can be downloaded. These applications are also proliferated via the download/installation set-ups of other products. This deceptive marketing method of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions is called "bundling".
Rushing download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps and sections, using pre-set options, etc.) increases the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled content into the device. Intrusive advertisements can infiltrate PUAs into systems as well. Once clicked, they can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
You are strongly advised to research all products, prior to download/installation and/or purchase. All downloads must be done from official and verified sources. Untrusted download channels such as unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders commonly offer deceptive and bundled content.
When downloading/installing, read the terms, study all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of supplementary apps, tools, features and other additions. It is also important to exercise caution when browsing. Intrusive ads may seem legitimate, however, they can redirect to dubious web pages (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).
If you encounter ads or redirects of this kind, inspect the system and remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately. If your computer is already infected with MovieSearches, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
MovieSearches browser hijacker asking for various permissions:
Appearance of MovieSearches browser hijacker (GIF):
Website promoting MovieSearches 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. 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 MovieSearches?
- STEP 1. Uninstall MovieSearches application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove MovieSearches browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove movie-searches.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove movie-searches.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
- STEP 6. Remove movie-searches.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
MovieSearches 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, "MovieSearches"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications that cause browser redirects to the movie-searches.com website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
MovieSearches browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove browser redirects:
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 "MovieSearches" 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 "MovieSearches", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.movie-searches.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 "movie-searches.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 movie-searches.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 "MovieSearches", 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 "MovieSearches", remove hxxp://movie-searches.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 movie-searches.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 movie-searches.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.
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://movie-searches.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 "MovieSearches".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the movie-searches.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.
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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