EQSearch browser hijacker removal instructions
What is EQSearch?
EQSearch is designed to promote the searcheq.com address, a fake search engine. Like most browser hijackers, it does that by changing certain browser settings. It is common that apps of this type are designed to function as data collectors as well (to collect details related to user's browsing habits). Typically, users download and install browser hijackers unknowingly, for this reason EQSearch and other apps of this type are called potentially unwanted applications (PUAs).
In most cases browser hijackers promote fake search engines (their addresses) by modifying browser settings such as the address of a default search engine, homepage and new tab. EQSearch changes them to searcheq.com. Therefore, its users are forced to visit searcheq.com every time when they enter search queries into URL bar, open a browser/new window, new tab. Searcheq.com is designed to redirect users to dexum.org which redirects them to google.com or bing.com - it depends on user's geolocation. Simply said, searcheq.com is called a fake search engine because it displays results generated either by Google or Bing. Typically, apps like EQSearch are designed to prevent users from removing the address of a fake search engine, it can be done only when they are no longer installed on a browser. As mentioned in the introduction, browser hijackers tend to be designed to collect various browsing data. For example, IP addresses, geolocations, addresses of visited websites, entered search queries, etc. However, there are browser hijackers that can access sensitive details as well. The biggest problem with it is that their developers can sell collected information to third parties (potentially cyber criminals) or misuse it to generate revenue in other ways. Therefore, browser hijackers can be the culprit of problems related to browsing safety, online privacy, or even identity theft.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Supposed Functionality||Improved browsing experience|
|Serving IP Address (searcheq.com)||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.
To summarize, the main purpose of browser hijackers is to promote some fake search engine by changing browser settings. Although, quite often they gather various data as well. Apps of this type not improve browsing experience, include any features and/or are useful in any other way - they are designed to generate revenue for their developers and can cause problems to their users. Therefore, they should not be downloaded and installed. A couple of examples of other apps of this type are Spark Search, Keysite, Magnifier Search.
How did EQSearch install on my computer?
In most cases PUAs are distributed via download and/or installation setups of other programs. This distribution method is known as "bundling". Developers include them in setups as additional offers that can be found (and declined) in their "Custom", "Advanced" and other settings. Nevertheless, not all users check and change those settings (or untick certain checkboxes). In such cases they allow for integrated PUAs to be downloaded and/or installed alongside wanted programs. Another way to trick users into downloading and/or installing PUAs is to distribute the via deceptive ads by designing them to execute certain scripts. Although, such ads can download and/or install PAUs only if users click them.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is advised to always check download and/or installation setups for "Advanced", "Custom" settings and see if they can be used to decline offers to download and/or install unwanted apps. Also, it is recommended to download programs (and files) only from official, trustworthy sites and via direct links. Users who use third party downloaders (and installers), Peer-to-Peer networks (like torrent clients, eMule), unofficial websites, etc., often download (or install) potentially unwanted, sometimes even malicious programs. Advertisements that appear on shady pages tend to be designed to open shady websites, or even cause download, or even installation of some unwanted application. Therefore, it is advised not to click such ads as well. Any unwanted apps (extensions, add-ons or plug-ins) that are installed on a browser should be removed from it. The same applies to software of this kind that is installed on a computer. If your computer is already infected with EQSearch, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Searcheq.com redirects to bing.com via dexum.org (GIF):
Website promoting EQSearch browser hijacker:
Notification saying that EQSearch can read and change certain data:
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 EQSearch?
- STEP 1. Uninstall EQSearch application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove EQSearch browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove searcheq.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove searcheq.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
- STEP 6. Remove searcheq.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
EQSearch 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, "EQSearch"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the searcheq.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
EQSearch 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 "EQSearch" 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 "EQSearch", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.searcheq.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 "searcheq.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 searcheq.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 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 "EQSearch", 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 "EQSearch", remove hxxp://searcheq.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 searcheq.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 searcheq.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://searcheq.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 "EQSearch".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the searcheq.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.
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove searcheq.com redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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