What is Newtab browser hijacker?
Newtab is a piece of dubious software designed to promote the fxsmash.xyz fake search engine. It modifies browser settings to promote its web searcher (e.g., fxsmash.xyz). Due to this, Newtab is classified as a browser hijacker.
Additionally, Newtab collects browsing-related information. Since most users download/install browser hijackers inadvertently, they are also categorized as PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications).
Browser hijackers operate by assigning fake web searcher addresses as browsers' homepage, default search engine, and new tab/window URLs. Newtab makes these alterations to browser settings - to promote fxsmash.xyz.
Hence, with this browser hijacker installed: new browser tabs/windows opened and search queries typed into the URL bar - redirect to the fxsmash.xyz search engine.
Illegitimate web searchers are seldom able to generate results, so they redirect to (or cause redirection chains ending with) Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other genuine search engines. This also applies to fxsmash.xyz; yet where it redirects to - depends on users' geolocations.
It has been observed redirecting to the Yahoo (search.yahoo.com) search engine and to websearches.club fake web searcher. Despite being illegitimate, the latter can provide search results, but they are inaccurate and may contain untrustworthy/malicious content.
Browser hijackers can also reset any changes users try to make to their browsers. Alternatively, they can limit/deny access to the browser settings. Therefore, recovering an affected browser is impossible without removing the software hijacking it.
Furthermore, Newtab has data tracking abilities, which is typical of browser hijackers. They can monitor browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and collect sensitive information extracted from it (IP addresses, geolocations, and personally identifiable details).
What is more, browser hijacker developers monetize the gathered data by sharing it with and/or selling it to third-partied (potentially, cyber criminals).
In summary, data-tracking software can lead to severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. To ensure device integrity and user privacy, all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be eliminated immediately upon detection.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Detection Names (fxsmash.xyz)||alphaMountain.ai (Suspicious), Forcepoint ThreatSeeker (Suspicious), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (fxsmash.xyz)||220.127.116.11|
|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 Combo Cleaner.
Movieapp Search, Search Button, WebRadioSearch, and Conf Search are some examples of browser hijackers. They look legitimate and harmless. Users are enticed into download/installation with a broad range of "handy" functionalities.
However, the features rarely work as advertised, and in most cases - they do not work at all. In fact, this is true of nearly all PUAs. The sole purpose of unwanted apps is to generate profit for the developers.
Therefore, instead of delivering on any promises, PUAs can hijack browsers, cause redirects, run intrusive advertisement campaigns (adware), and collect vulnerable and private information.
How did Newtab install on my computer?
Select PUAs (e.g., Newtab) have "official" download webpages. These applications can also be downloaded/installed together with other software. This false marketing tactic of packing regular programs with unwanted or malicious additions - is termed "bundling".
Rushed download/installation processes (e.g., ignored terms, skipped steps and sections, etc.) increase the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content into the system.
Intrusive adverts are employed to proliferate PUAs as well. Once clicked on, the ads can execute scripts to make downloads/installations without user consent.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is recommended to research software before download/installation and/or purchase.
Additionally, all downloads must be done from official and verified sources. Untrustworthy download channels, e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (Torrent clients, Gnutella, eMule, etc.), and other third-party downloaders - often offer dangerous and bundled content.
When downloading/installing, it is important to read terms, study available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out from supplementary apps, tools, features, and other additions.
It is also advised to exercise caution when browsing. Intrusive advertisements appear ordinary and innocuous; however, they redirect to unreliable and questionable sites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).
In case of encounters with ads and/or redirects of this kind, the system must be checked and all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - removed from it without delay.
If your computer is already infected with Newtab, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Appearance of fxsmash.xyz redirecting to the Yahoo search engine (GIF):
Appearance of fxsmash.xyz redirecting to the websearches.club fake search engine (GIF):
Website promoting Newtab browser hijacker:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is Newtab?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Newtab application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Newtab browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove fxsmash.xyz homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove fxsmash.xyz redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
- STEP 6. Remove fxsmash.xyz redirect from Internet Explorer.
Newtab browser hijacker removal:
Windows 10 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.
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.
macOS (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, "Newtab"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the fxsmash.xyz website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Newtab 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 "Newtab" 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 "Newtab", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.fxsmash.xyz) 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 "fxsmash.xyz", 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 newtab 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 "Newtab", 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 "Newtab", remove hxxp://fxsmash.xyz 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 newtab 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 newtab 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://fxsmash.xyz 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 "Newtab".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the newtab 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 newtab redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
Post a comment:
If you have additional information on newtab redirect or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.