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).
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 Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Browser Extension(s)||Default Search|
|Supposed Functionality||Improved browsing experience|
|Serving IP Address (find.defaultsearch.info)||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.
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:
Website promoting Default Search browser hijacker:
Managed by your organization feature added to Chrome by Default Search:
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 Default Search?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Default Search application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Default Search browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove find.defaultsearch.info homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove find.defaultsearch.info redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
- STEP 6. Remove find.defaultsearch.info redirect from Internet Explorer.
Default 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, "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:
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 "Default 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 "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:
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 "find.defaultsearch.info", 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 find.defaultsearch.info 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 "Default 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 "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:
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 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, 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 find.defaultsearch.info 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://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:
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 "Default Search".
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.
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.
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.
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