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How to remove apps that redirect to oksearch.org

Also Known As: oksearch.org browser hijacker
Damage level: Medium

What is oksearch.org?

oksearch.org is an untrusted search engine. Microsoft Edge and Chrome users are often forced to visit this address when they click a search result generated by Google or Bing. After clicking on the Google/Bing result, users are redirected to oksearch.org, which then redirects to another website.

Research shows that redirects to and from oksearch.org happen mainly on Edge browsers that have a fake extension installed on them, however, some Chrome users have encountered an identical problem.

oksearch.org browser hijacker

oksearch.org is promoted through fake versions of apps called NordVPN, Adguard VPN, TunnelBear VPN, The Great Suspender, Floating Player - Picture-in-Picture Mode, and Greasemonkey, however, it is likely that there are other apps that also cause these redirects.

Research shows that Google and Microsoft have removed malicious extensions related to oksearch.org from Chrome Web Store and Microsoft Edge Add-ons Store.

Users who do not have any of the aforementioned apps installed on browsers, and yet their browsers cause redirects to oksearch.org, are advised to turn off all installed extensions/add-ons and report the problem to Microsoft or Google (depending on the affected browser).

It is very likely that the apps that are responsible for redirects to oksearch.org can record various data (including sensitive information) from each visited website. Therefore, users could become victims of identity theft, have issues relating to online privacy and browsing safety, etc.

Note that pages opened via oksearch.org might be malicious, used to promote potentially unwanted applications (PUAs), etc. Some examples of pages that oksearch.org open include amazon[.]com, zoo[.]com and publicrecords[.]info.

Threat Summary:
Name oksearch.org browser hijacker
Threat Type Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab.
Browser Extension(s) Fake versions of NordVPN, Adguard VPN, TunnelBear VPN, The Great Suspender, Floating Player - Picture-in-Picture Mode (and more).
Affected Browser Settings Homepage, new tab URL, default search engine.
Serving IP Address 37.97.190.239
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.
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Typically, apps that hijack browsers in this way change browser settings such as the address of the default search engine, homepage, and new tab. In some cases, they do not make any changes to browser settings - they detect when users enter search queries into the URL bar and then redirect them to a specific address.

As mentioned, oksearch.org is opened when users click a result generated by Google or Bing.

How did oksearch.org install on my computer?

Malicious apps that are designed to promote oksearch.org were known to be available for download on Chrome Web Store and Microsoft Edge Add-ons Store. As mentioned, Microsoft and Google have removed those apps, however, it is possible that not all apps that cause redirects to oksearch.org have been removed and/or they could be available on other websites.

Furthermore, unwanted downloads and installations often occur when developers distribute PUAs by integrating them into the download/installation setups of other programs as "extra offers". This distribution method is known as "bundling". The offers can be declined in "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar settings of the setups (or by unticking certain checkboxes).

Many users fail to check and change these settings (or untick the checkboxes), thereby allowing PUAs to infiltrate together with the desired software. PUAs are also downloaded and installed by clicking deceptive advertisements (usually on untrusted sites) that execute certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

Download software and files from official websites and via direct links. It is not safe to use torrent clients, eMule (or other Peer-to-Peer networks), third party downloaders, unofficial websites or other sources of this kind. Avoid third party installers. Check "Advanced", "Custom" and other settings, and decline offers to download or install unwanted software.

Do not click ads that are displayed on dubious websites, since they can open other untrusted websites or even cause unwanted downloads and installations. Remove any unwanted, suspicious applications (extensions, add-ons, and plug-ins) that are installed on the browser.

The same should be applied to programs of this kind that are installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with browser hijackers, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate it.

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Quick menu:

oksearch.org redirect removal:

Windows 11 users:

Accessing Apps and Features in Windows 11

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:

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.

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.

macOS (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.

oksearch.org browser hijacker uninstall via Control Panel

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

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications that cause browser redirects to the oksearch.org website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

oksearch.org redirect removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects:

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing oksearch.org 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 all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and remove them.

Change your homepage:

Removing oksearch.org 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, look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.oksearch.org) 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 oksearch.org 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 "oksearch.org", and 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 oksearch.org browser hijacker, 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 plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing oksearch.org 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 all recently installed browser plug-ins.

Change your homepage:

Removing oksearch.org 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 remove hxxp://oksearch.org and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Removing oksearch.org 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 oksearch.org browser hijacker 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 oksearch.org browser hijacker, 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 oksearch.org 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 oksearch.org 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://oksearch.org 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 oksearch.org 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 "oksearch.org".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the oksearch.org browser hijacker, 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 oksearch.org browser hijacker from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

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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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Software uninstall instructions
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

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