Tag Search browser hijacker removal instructions
What is Tag Search?
Tag Search (or TagSearch) is a browser hijacker promoting the search-land.com fake search engine. Typically, software within this category promotes illegitimate search engines by making alterations to browser settings. However, Tag Search does not always modify browsers when promoting search-land.com. This dubious browser extension also collects browsing-related information. Since most users download/install browser hijackers inadvertently, they are also classified as PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications).
Browser hijackers primarily target popular browsers with large user bases. This software assigns fake web searcher addresses as browsers' default search engine, new tab/window, and homepage URLs. These changes may appear relatively minor, but they seriously affect the browsing quality. To elaborate, with a browser hijacker installed: new browser tabs/windows opened and search queries typed into the URL bar - redirect to the promoted search engine (e.g., search-land.com). As mentioned in the introduction, Tag Search does not make the aforementioned modifications to browsers in all installation cases.
Illegitimate web searchers are seldom able to provide search results, so they tend to redirect to (or cause redirection chains leading to) Google, Bing, Yahoo, or other genuine search engines. This applies to search-land.com as well. However, where it redirects to - is determined by users' geolocations. At the time of research, the search-land.com web searcher has been observed redirecting to Google (google.com) and Bing (bing.com).
Furthermore, browser hijackers can undo any changes users try to make to their browsers and/or limit/deny access to the browser settings outright. Therefore, recovering a hijacked browser is impossible without eliminating the software affecting it. What is more, Tag Search has data tracking abilities, which is typical of browser hijackers. They monitor users' browsing habits (browsing and search engine histories) and collect sensitive information (IP addresses, geolocations, and even personally identifiable details). Browser hijacker developers monetize the gathered data by sharing it with and/or selling it to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals). In summary, presence of data-tracking software on devices - can result in severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft. To protect device integrity and user privacy, all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be removed immediately upon detection.
|Name||Tag Search (TagSearch)|
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Browser Extension(s)||Tag Search|
|Serving IP Address (search-land.com)||18.104.22.168|
|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.
Direct Search Online, Instant Safe Web, EasySearchConverter, Your Lovely Tab, PDFSearchWeb - are some examples of browser hijackers. They appear ordinary and innocuous. This software also offers a broad range of "handy" functionalities. However, the promised features are rarely operational. This applies to nearly all PUAs. The only aim of unwanted apps is to generate profit for the developers; hence, functionality and user safety are irrelevant. PUAs operate by hijacking browsers, causing redirects, running intrusive advertisement campaigns (adware), and collecting private data.
How did Tag Search install on my computer?
Select PUAs (e.g., Tag Search) have "official" download webpages. These applications can also be downloaded/installed alongside other programs. This false marketing technique of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions - is termed "bundling". By rushing through download/installation processes (e.g., by ignoring terms, using pre-set options, etc.) - users risk inadvertently allowing bundled content into their devices. Intrusive advertisements proliferate PUAs as well. Once clicked on, the ads can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is important to research software before download/installation and/or purchase. Additionally, all downloads must be done from official and verified sources. Since untrustworthy download channels, e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, and other third-party downloaders - commonly offer deceptive and/or bundled content. When downloading/installing, it is recommended to read terms, explore possible options, use the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings and opt-out from additional apps, tools, features, etc. Intrusive adverts appear legitimate and harmless; however, they redirect to unreliable and questionable sites (e.g., adult-dating, pornography, gambling, and so forth). Should users encounter ads and/or redirects of this kind, they must check their devices and immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected. If your computer is already infected with Tag Search, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Screenshots of the deceptive website (two of them offering fake Adobe Flash Player updates) promoting Tag Search browser hijacker:
Appearance of search-land.com redirecting to the Google search engine (GIF):
Appearance of search-land.com redirecting to the Bing 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 Tag Search?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Tag Search application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Tag Search browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove search-land.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove search-land.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
- STEP 6. Remove search-land.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
Tag 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, "Tag Search"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the search-land.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Tag 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 "Tag 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 "Tag Search", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.search-land.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 "search-land.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 search-land.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 "Tag 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 "Tag Search", remove hxxp://search-land.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 search-land.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 search-land.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://search-land.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 "Tag Search".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the search-land.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 search-land.com redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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