What is the Make changes browser hijacker?
Make changes is the name of a browser hijacker promoting the fxsmash.xyz fake search engine. It is endorsed as a tool for improving website legibility by changing text and background colors. This piece of rogue software operates by modifying browser settings - to promote its web searcher.
Additionally, Make changes has data tracking abilities, which are employed to collect browsing-related information. Due to the questionable techniques used to distribute browser hijackers, they are also classified as PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications).
Browser hijackers primarily target popular browsers with large user bases. This software reassigns browsers' homepage, default search engine, and new tab/window URLs - to fake web searcher addresses. Make changes also modifies browsers in this manner when promoting fxsmash.xyz.
Therefore, with this browser hijacker installed: new browser tabs/windows opened and web searches done via the URL bar - redirect to fxsmash.xyz.
Illegitimate search engines usually cannot provide search results, so they tend to redirect to (or cause redirection chains ending with) Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other genuine ones. This is true of fxsmash.xyz web searcher as well, yet where it redirects to - is determined by users' geolocations.
At the time of research, fxsmash.xyz either redirected to Yahoo (search.yahoo.com) or to the websearches.club fake search engine. While the latter is illegitimate, it is able to generate search results - though they are inaccurate and can include untrustworthy/malicious websites.
Browser hijackers can undo any changes users try to make to their browsers and/or restrict/deny access to the browser settings outright. Hence, it is impossible to recover an affected browser - without removing the software hijacking it. Furthermore, Make changes can track data, which is typical of browser hijackers.
Targeted information includes (but is not limited to): visited URLs, viewed pages, searched queries, IP addresses, geolocations, and even personally identifiable details. What is more, the gathered data is then monetized by being shared with and/or sold to third-parties, likewise intent on misusing it for profit.
To protect device and user safety, all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be eliminated without delay.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Browser Extension(s)||Make changes|
|Supposed Functionality||Improving website readability through background and text color changes.|
|Detection Names (fxsmash.xyz)||Fortinet (Malware), alphaMountain.ai (Suspicious), Forcepoint ThreatSeeker (Suspicious), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (fxsmash.xyz)||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 Combo Cleaner.
IncognitoSearchly, QuickTab Plus, SearchConverterApp, PDFSearchTip, and SportSearchMaster are some examples of browser hijackers. They appear ordinary and innocuous. Browser hijackers typically offer a broad range of features.
However, despite how useful the functions may sound - they are rarely operational. This applies to nearly all PUAs. Functionality and user safety are irrelevant as unwanted software's sole goal is to generate revenue 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 data.
How did Make changes install on my computer?
Select PUAs (e.g., Make changes) have "official" promotional/download webpages. These applications can be downloaded/installed together with other programs. "Bundling" is the name of this deceptive marketing method - pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions.
Rushed download/installation processes (e.g., ignored terms, skipped steps and sections, etc.) increase the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled content into the system. Intrusive advertisements are also used to spread PUAs.
When 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 prior to 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, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), and other third-party downloaders - often offer dangerous and bundled content. Download and installation processes must be treated with caution.
Therefore, it is recommended to read terms, study possible options, use "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out from additional apps, tools, features, etc.
Intrusive adverts look legitimate and harmless; however, they redirect to various unreliable and dubious sites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, and so on).
In case of encounters with ads and/or redirects of this kind - the system must be checked and all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - immediately removed from it.
If your computer is already infected with Make changes, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Website promoting the Make changes browser hijacker:
Appearance of fxsmash.xyz redirecting to the websearches.club fake search engine (GIF):
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 Make changes?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Make changes application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Make changes 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.
Make changes browser hijacker removal:
Windows 11 users:
Right-click on the Start icon, select Apps and Features. In the opened window search for the application you want to uninstall, after locating it, click on the three vertical dots and select Uninstall.
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, "Make changes"), 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.
Make changes 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 "Make changes" 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 "Make changes", 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 make changes 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 "Make changes", 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 "Make changes", 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 make changes 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 make changes 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 "Make changes".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the make changes 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.
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