IncognitoSearchNet browser hijacker removal instructions
What is IncognitoSearchNet?
The main purpose of the IncognitoSearchNet browser hijacker is to force users to visit the incognitosearchnet.com address (use a fake search engine). Like most apps of this type, it promotes that address by modifying certain browser's settings. Also, IncognitoSearchNet collects details related to user's browsing habits. Most of the times users download and install apps like IncognitoSearchNet (browser hijackers) unknowingly, for this reason they are called potentially unwanted applications (PUAs).
IncognitoSearchNet promotes incognitosearchnet.com by assigning it as the address of a homepage, new tab and default search engine and new tab. Therefore, when HDMusicSearches is installed on a browser, users are forced to visit incognitosearchnet.com when they open a browser, new tab and enter search queries into URL bar. Usually browser hijackers are designed to prevent users from undoing the changes that were made by them. In other words, address of a fake search engine can be removed from browser's settings only when a browser hijacker that promotes it is no longer installed. It is worthwhile to mention that most fake search engines do not generate unique results - they provide results generated by some other search engine (e.g., Yahoo, Google, Bing). IncognitoSearchNet's search engine displays results generated by Yahoo (incognitosearchnet.com redirects users to search.yahoo.com). As mentioned in the introduction, IncognitoSearchNet is designed to collect browsing data. Typically, such apps target IP addresses, entered search queries, addresses of visited websites, geolocations, etc. However, there are browser hijackers that are capable of accessing sensitive information as well. Moreover, there is always a possibility that developers of the installed browser hijacker will sell collected information to third parties (potentially cyber criminals), or misuse it to generate revenue in some another way. In such cases users could encounter problems related to browsing safety, online privacy, or even become victims of identity theft.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Supposed Functionality||Improved browsing experience|
|Serving IP Address (incognitosearchnet.com)||126.96.36.199|
|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, browser hijackers promote various fake search engines and tend to be designed to operate as information tracking tools as well. Quite often such apps are advertised as useful, they supposed to include various features, improve browsing experience, and so on. However, most of them are useless and user who have them installed may experience various issues. Some examples of other apps like IncognitoSearchNet are Nusmash, ProStreamsSearch and Dosearch Lite.
How did IncognitoSearchNet install on my computer?
Sometimes users unintentionally download and/or install PUAs by clicking deceptive advertisements that are designed to run certain scripts. Although, in most cases they download and/or install them together with other programs - when PUAs are integrated in download and/or installation setups as additional offers. This distribution method is known as "bundling". As a rule, included apps can be found in "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar settings of setups, or alongside certain checkboxes and offers to download and/or install them can be declined using those settings (or by unticking the aforementioned checboxes). However, when users who download and/or install programs without changing the aforementioned settings, they download and/or install unwanted apps too.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is recommended to use only official websites and direct links to download software. Third party downloaders, (and installers), Peer-to-Peer networks (like torrent clients, eMule), unofficial websites, etc., should not be used neither download or install any files or programs. Furthermore, download and/or installation setups that have "Custom", "Advanced" and other settings (or include certain checkboxes) should be always checked for offers to download and/or install unwanted applications. Advertisements on questionable websites should bot be clicked, it is common that such ads are designed to open other pages of this kind, sometimes even cause downloads, installations of unwanted applications. There should not be any unwanted, suspicious extensions, add-ons or plug-ins installed on a browser and/or programs of this kind installed on a computer. If your computer is already infected with IncognitoSearchNet, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Incognitosearchnet.com redirects to search.yahoo.com (GIF):
Websites promoting IncognitoSearchNet browser hijacker:
Notification saying that IncognitoSearchNet 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 IncognitoSearchNet?
- STEP 1. Uninstall IncognitoSearchNet application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove IncognitoSearchNet browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove incognitosearchnet.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove incognitosearchnet.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
- STEP 6. Remove incognitosearchnet.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
IncognitoSearchNet 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, "IncognitoSearchNet"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the incognitosearchnet.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
IncognitoSearchNet 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 "IncognitoSearchNet" 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 "IncognitoSearchNet", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.incognitosearchnet.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 "incognitosearchnet.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 incognitosearchnet.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 "IncognitoSearchNet", 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 "IncognitoSearchNet", remove hxxp://incognitosearchnet.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 incognitosearchnet.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 incognitosearchnet.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://incognitosearchnet.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 "IncognitoSearchNet".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the incognitosearchnet.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 incognitosearchnet.com redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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