Conf Search browser hijacker removal instructions
What is Conf Search?
Conf Search is a browser hijacker which changes certain browser settings to conf-search.com - the address of a fake search engine. Also, this app adds the "Managed by your organization" feature (on Chrome browsers). It is noteworthy that most browser hijackers collect details relating to web browsing activities. Therefore, it is likely that Conf Search gathers that information too. Typically, users download browser hijackers unintentionally. For this reason, Conf Search and other apps of this type are called potentially unwanted applications (PUAs).
In most cases, browser hijackers promote their fake search engines by modifying settings such as the address of a homepage, new tab, and default search engine. Conf Search changes these addresses/settings to conf-search.com. It is common that fake search engines show results generated by legitimate search engines (e.g., Google, Bing, Yahoo). Some fake search engines generate results that contain links to questionable pages, shady advertisements. Conf-search.com redirects users to google.com (shows results generated by Google). In order to remove conf-search.com address from the settings of browsers hijacked by the Conf Search, it is necessary to uninstall this app first. Otherwise, Conf Search (like most browser hijackers) will redo its settings after every attempt to undo them.
It is likely that Conf Search is one of those browser hijackers that collect information relating to browsing habits, for example, addresses of visited pages, entered search queries, geolocations, Internet Protocol addresses. It is important to mention that some browser hijackers may be capable of accessing personal data (e.g., passwords). In one way or another, apps of this type gather data for their developers so they could use it for marketing purposes or monetize it in another way (e.g., sell it to third parties, potentially some cybercriminals). Users who have an app like Conf Search installed on a browser or the operating system are at risk of having issues relating to web browsing, online privacy, or even becoming victims of identity theft. Therefore, it is strongly recommended not to have apps of this type installed.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Browser Extension(s)||Conf Search|
|Supposed Functionality||Improved browsing experience|
|Serving IP Address (conf-search.com)||188.8.131.52|
|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.
Conf Search is identical to another browser hijacker called Storm Search. Although, most browser hijackers are quite similar: they change browser settings and are likely to be designed to gather some information. The only main difference between browser hijackers is the address/fake search engine they promote. More examples of apps classified as browser hijackers are Direct Search, Tag Search, and Direct Search Online. If an app of this type is installed on a browser or it is on the list of installed programs, then it should be removed as soon as possible.
How did Conf Search install on my computer?
Typically, users download or install browser hijackers and other potentially unwanted applications when they are bundled with other programs (included in downloaders or installers of other programs. Users download or install PUAs together with other programs when they do not check downloaders or installers for "Advanced", "Custom", "Manual" or other settings, or checkboxes. It is common that those settings can be used to decline unwanted offers and if users leave them unchanged, they agree to those unwanted offers. In some cases, users cause unintentionally cause unwanted downloads or installations by clicking on deceptive advertisements that are designed to execute certain scripts.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
Download programs or files using reliable, official websites and direct download links. Avoid using torrent clients, eMule (and other Peer-to-Peer networks), third-party downloaders (and installers), unofficial pages, etc. Always downloaders and installers for settings like "Advanced", "Custom" or checkboxes to see if they can be used to opt out offers to download or install undesired programs. Also, avoid clicking ads that appear on dubious websites. For example, pages relating to gambling, adult dating, pornography. Ads on such pages can open other untrustworthy websites, or cause unwanted downloads, installations. Remove unwanted extensions, plug-ins, or add-ons from a web browser or programs of this kind from the operating system. If your computer is already infected with Conf Search, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Conf-search.com redirects to google.com (GIF):
Website promoting Conf Search browser hijacker:
Conf Search adds "Managed by your organization" feature (on Chrome):
Notification saying that Conf Search 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 Conf Search?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Conf Search application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Conf Search browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove conf-search.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove conf-search.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
- STEP 6. Remove conf-search.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
Conf 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, "Conf Search"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the conf-search.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Conf 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 "Conf 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 "Conf Search", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.conf-search.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 "conf-search.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 conf-search.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 "Conf 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 "Conf Search", remove hxxp://conf-search.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 conf-search.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 conf-search.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://conf-search.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 "Conf Search".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the conf-search.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 conf-search.com redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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