Spark Tab browser hijacker removal instructions
What is Spark Tab?
Spark Tab is a browser hijacker promoting the tailsearch.com illegitimate search engine. Typically, software within this classification promotes fake web searchers by making modifications to browser settings. However, Spark Tab does not always modify browsers. Additionally, most browser hijackers collect browsing-related information. Due to the dubious techniques employed to distribute Spark Tab, it is also deemed to be a PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application).
Browser hijackers reassign browsers' homepage, default search engine, and new tab/window URLs - to the addresses of illegitimate web searchers (e.g., tailsearch.com). Hence, with such a piece of software installed: every new browser tab/window opened and search query typed into the URL bar - redirect to the promoted address. As mentioned in the introduction, in some cases, this is how Spark Tab; in others - it does not make alterations to browser settings.
Furthermore, fake search engines are rarely can generate search results, so they tend to redirect to (or cause redirection chains ending with) Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other legitimate ones. Tailsearch.com is not an exception to this. At the time of research, it either redirected straight to the Google (google.com) search engine or caused a redirection chain consisting of my-search.com, search-checker.com, and concluding with the Bing (bing.com) search engine. Browser hijackers can also undo any changes users try to make to their browsers and/or limit/deny access to the browser settings outright. Therefore, recovering an affected browser is impossible without removing the software hijacking it.
Most browser hijackers have data tracking abilities, and Spark Tab likely has them as well. Information of interest includes: URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, IP addresses, geolocations, and even personally identifiable details. Browser hijacker developers monetize this sensitive data by sharing it with and/or selling it to third-parties. In summary, data-tracking software can lead to severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft. To protect device and user safety, it is crucial to eliminate all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins without delay.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Browser Extension(s)||Spark Tab|
|Serving IP Address (tailsearch.com)||184.108.40.206|
|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.
SearchConverterNet, PDFConverterSearchPro, and Package Tracker Express are a couple examples of browser hijackers. They appear legitimate and offer "handy" features. However, despite how useful the functionalities may sound - they are usually nonoperational. This applies to practically all PUAs. The only goal of unwanted apps is to generate profit at user expense. Therefore, instead of delivering on any promises, PUAs can hijack browsers, cause redirects, run intrusive ad campaigns (adware), and collect vulnerable data.
How did Spark Tab install on my computer?
Select PUAs (e.g., Spark Tab) have "official" promotional/download webpages. These applications are also spread through download/installation setups of other programs. This false marketing tactic of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions - is called "bundling". Rushed download/installation processes (e.g., ignored terms, skipped steps, used "Quick/Express" settings, etc.) increase the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content into the device. Intrusive advertisements proliferate PUAs as well. Upon being clicked, the adverts can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is recommended to research software prior to download/installation and/or purchase. Furthermore, all downloads have to be done from official and verified sources. Untrustworthy download channels, e.g., unofficial and freeware websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (Torrent clients, Gnutella, eMule, etc.), and other third-party downloaders - commonly offer deceptive and/or bundled content. Download and installation processes must be approached with caution. Therefore, it is important to read terms, study all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" and decline downloading/installing supplementary apps, tools, functions, and other additions. Intrusive ads appear legitimate and harmless; however, they redirect to dubious sites (e.g., pornography, adult-dating, gambling, and so on). Should users encounter advertisements/redirects of this kind, they must inspect their devices and immediately remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected. If your computer is already infected with Spark Tab, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Websites promoting the Spark Tab browser hijacker:
Appearance of tailsearch.com redirecting to the Google search engine (GIF):
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 Spark Tab?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Spark Tab application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Spark Tab browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove tailsearch.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove tailsearch.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
- STEP 6. Remove tailsearch.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
Spark Tab 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, "Spark Tab"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the tailsearch.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Spark Tab 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 "Spark Tab" 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 "Spark Tab", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.tailsearch.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 "tailsearch.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 spark tab 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 "Spark Tab", 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 "Spark Tab", remove hxxp://tailsearch.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 spark tab 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 spark tab 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://tailsearch.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 "Spark Tab".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the spark tab 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 spark tab redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
Post a comment:
If you have additional information on spark tab redirect or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.