How to remove Default Search browser hijacker from a browser?

Also Known As: find.defaultsearch.info redirect
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

Default Search browser hijacker removal instructions

What is Default Search?

Default Search is designed to hijack web browsers by modifying some of their settings (by changing them to find.defaultsearch.info). In other words, it is designed to promote a fake search engine. If installed on Google Chrome, Default Search adds the "Managed by your organization" feature as well. Additionally, this browser hijacker is designed to collect certain data. I it is common that users download and install apps like Default Search unknowingly, therefore, they are called potentially unwanted applications (PUAs).

find.defaultsearch.info browser hijacker

Default Search promotes the find.defaultsearch.info address by making it as the address as of a default search engine, homepage and new tab. It means that it forces its users to visit that address when they enter search queries into URL bar, open a browser and new tab. Find.defaultsearch.info is called a fake search engine because it displays results generated by Google - it redirects users to google.com. Typically, changes made by a browser hijacker cannot be modified unless users uninstall that app. Therefore, to be able to remove find.defaultsearch.info from browser settings users have to uninstall Default Search first. As mentioned in the introduction, this app is capable of collecting certain data. To be more precise, it is designed to gather entered search queries. However, it may be designed to collect other browsing data (e.g., geolocations, IP addresses, entered search queries, addresses of visited websites) as well. Or even sensitive, personal information. The problem with it is that collected data may be misused to generate revenue, for example, it may be sold to third parties (potentially cyber criminals). In such case users may become victims of identity theft, experience problems related to online privacy, browsing safety, or some other issues.

Threat Summary:
Name Default Search
Threat Type Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab
Browser Extension(s) Default Search
Supposed Functionality Improved browsing experience
Promoted URL find.defaultsearch.info
Serving IP Address (find.defaultsearch.info) 195.154.42.103
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)

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To sum up, neither Default Search or find.defaultsearch.info should be used. Some more examples of apps that are classified as browser hijackers too, are Link Default, IConverterSearch and RadioSearchs. Typically, such apps are useless to their users even if they are advertised as useful. In most cases they are designed only to generate revenue for developers. Therefore, if an app of this type is already installed on a browser and/or the operating system, then it should be removed.

How did Default Search install on my computer?

In some cases users cause unwanted downloads and/or installations by clicking advertisements that are designed to run certain scripts. Typically, ads of this type appear on questionable websites. However, more often users download and/or install PUAs alongside with programs that they download and/or install willingly. More precisely, when those PUAs are included in download and/or installation setups of those programs as additional offers. As a rule, such offers can be declined in "Advanced", "Custom", or other settings of setups (or by unticking certain checkboxes). However, quite often users do not change those setting (untick checkboxes) and that is how they allow for PUAs to be downloaded and/or installed through setups of other programs. This distribution method of potentially unwanted apps is known as "bundling".

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Third party downloaders, installers, Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients, eMule, and other networks of this type), unofficial websites, etc., can be used as tools to promote, distribute unwanted, in some cases even malicious programs. For this reason files and programs should be downloaded only from official websites and via direct download links. Download and/or installation setups with "Custom", "Advanced" and other settings (or checkboxes) in them should be always checked for offers to download and/or install additionally included applications. Intrusive advertisements on untrustworthy websites can be designed to cause downloads, installations of unwanted applications or simply open other unreliable sites. Therefore, such ads should not be clicked as well. Additionally, there should be no unwanted, suspicious extensions, add-ons or plug-ins installed on a browser and programs of this type installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with Default Search, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.

Default Search browser hijacker installer set-up:

find.defaultsearch.info redirects to google.com

Website promoting Default Search browser hijacker:

default search browser hijacker notification

Managed by your organization feature added to Chrome by Default Search:

default search browser hijacker managed by your organization

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Quick menu:

Default Search browser hijacker removal:

Windows 7 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

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:

Accessing Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP

Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.

Windows 10 and Windows 8 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

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:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

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.

find.defaultsearch.info browser hijacker uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window: look for any recently installed suspicious applications (for example, "Default Search"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the find.defaultsearch.info website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

Default Search browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects:

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing find.defaultsearch.info related Google Chrome extensions

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate "Default Search" and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.

Change your homepage:

Removing find.defaultsearch.info from Google Chrome homepage

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, disable "Default Search", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.find.defaultsearch.info) 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:

Removing find.defaultsearch.info from Google Chrome default search engine

To change your default search engine in Google Chrome: Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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 "find.defaultsearch.info", when located click the three vertical dots near this URL and select "Remove from list".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the find.defaultsearch.info redirect, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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.

Google Chrome settings reset step 1

After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 2

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 3

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plugins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing find.defaultsearch.info related Mozilla Firefox extensions

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove "Default Search", as well as all other recently installed browser plug-ins.

Change your homepage:

Removing find.defaultsearch.info from Mozilla Firefox homepage

To reset your homepage, click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), then select "Options", in the opened window disable "Default Search", remove hxxp://find.defaultsearch.info and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Removing find.defaultsearch.info from Mozilla Firefox 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 Mozilla Firefox switch about:config entry button button.

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with find.defaultsearch.info redirect removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.

Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Removing browser hijackers from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click Safari menu, then select Preferences...

removing browser hijacker from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the preferences window select the Extensions tab. Look for any recently installed suspicious extensions and uninstall them.

Removing browser hijackers from safari step 3 - changing homepage

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.

removing browser hijackers from safari step 4 - changing the default Internet search engine

In the preferences window select Search tab and make sure that your preferred Internet search engine is selected.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) logoRemove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 2

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 3

To change your default search engine in Microsoft Edge: Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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 Microsoft Edge (Chromium) puzzle icon near it and select "Disable".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the find.defaultsearch.info redirect, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 1

In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 2

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.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 3

  • If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing find.defaultsearch.info related Internet Explorer extensions

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options 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:

Removing find.defaultsearch.info from Internet Explorer homepage

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Internet Options", in the opened window remove hxxp://find.defaultsearch.info 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:

Removing find.defaultsearch.info from Internet Explorer default search engine

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options 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 "Default Search".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the find.defaultsearch.info 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.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows XP

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.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 7

Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.

Reseting Internet Explorer settings to default in Windows 8 - accessing

In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - Internet options advanced tab

Click the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - click the Reset button in the Internet options advanced tab

Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - confirm settings reset to default by clicking the reset button

Summary:

declining installation of browser hijackers while downloading free software sampleA 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.

Removal assistance:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove find.defaultsearch.info redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

Post a comment:
If you have additional information on find.defaultsearch.info redirect or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
find.defaultsearch.info redirect QR code
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