What is Img Preview?
Img Preview is a potentially unwanted application (PUA), a browser hijacker that changes browser's settings to fxsmash.xyz - address of a fake search engine. Img Preview is called a PUA because users do not download and install browser hijackers intentionally.
It is common that apps of this type are designed to gather information about their users (for example, details related to web browsing activities).
Apps of this type cannot be trusted. Therefore, it is highly advisable not to have any of them installed on browsers or the operating system.
Typically, browser hijackers promote fake search engines by forcing users to visit their addresses when they open a browser, new tab or enter search queries into the URL bar. They are designed to accomplish it by changing the browser's settings such as the address of a homepage, new tab, and default search engine.
Img Preview changes those addresses to fxsmash.xyz. When visited, fxsmash.xyz detects IP address/geolocation and then redirects users to another address.
At the time of the research, this fake search engine provided results generated by Yahoo and a questionable search engine (fxsmash.xyz redirected to search.yahoo.com and websearches.com). Fake search engines often show results generated by legitimate search engines.
However, they can generate misleading results as well (or show results generated by questionable search engines). To summarize, fake search engines are useless and can be used to promote untrustworthy websites and include shady advertisements in their results.
Typically, a hijacked browser can be stopped from opening an address like fxsmash.xyz by uninstalling a browser hijacker and then removing that address from settings. It is common that apps of this type do not allow users to undo their changes unless users uninstall them.
As mentioned in the first paragraph, there are browser hijackers that can read browsing data. For example, addresses of visited websites, entered search queries, geolocations, IP addresses.
Some browser hijackers can read sensitive information. It is not safe to have such apps installed because their developers may sell gathered data to third parties (potentially cybercriminals), use it for marketing purposes, or monetize it in other ways.
It means that the installation of a browser hijacker can be the culprit behind problems related to browsing safety, online privacy, or even identity fraud.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Browser Extension(s)||Img Preview|
|Supposed Functionality||Improved browsing experience|
|Serving IP Address (fxsmash.xyz)||184.108.40.206|
|Detection Names (fxsmash.xyz)||alphaMountain.ai (Suspicious), Forcepoint ThreatSeeker (Suspicious), Fortinet (Malware), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|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.
More examples of apps that are designed to hijack browsers as Img Preview does are Job Search, Newz Finder, and DigitalPDFConverterSearch. Typically, they hijack browsers by changing the browser's settings.
However, not all apps of this type change settings: in some cases, they open a specific address after detecting that a user enters search queries into the URL bar.
It is noteworthy that most browser hijackers are advertised as useful, legitimate apps that are supposed to improve browsing experience, include some features, etc.
Nevertheless, most browser hijackers are designed only to generate revenue for their developers and are useless to their users.
How did Img Preview install on my computer?
Most users do not download or install browser hijackers or other PUAs intentionally. In some cases, they cause it through deceptive ads - by clicking ads designed to run certain scripts. However, most users download or install PUAs together with other programs - when PUAs are bundled with those programs. In such cases, unwanted apps are included in downloaders or installers for other programs as extra offers. Not all users change settings that can be used to decline unwanted offers while they download or install programs that are bundled with PUAs. It means that they agree to any included offers. Typically, additionally included apps can be opted out via "Custom", "Advanced", "Manual" or other settings, or by unticking ticked checkboxes.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is highly advisable not to download (or install) any programs through third-party downloaders, installers, unofficial, questionable websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), or other channels of this kind. All downloads should come from official websites and via direct links.
Also, it is not recommended to finish downloads and installations without checking downloaders, installers for "Custom", "Advanced" and other settings. It is common that those settings can be used to decline unwanted offers.
Additionally, it is advisable not to click ads on questionable websites (for example, on pages relating to gambling, pornography, adult dating). By clicking those ads, users open potentially malicious websites or cause unwanted downloads, installations.
Any unwanted extensions, plug-ins, or add-ons installed on a browser or programs of this kind installed on the operating system should be uninstalled as soon as possible. If your computer is already infected with Img Preview, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Fxsmash.xyz redirects to websearches.com (GIF):
Website promoting Img Preview browser hijacker:
Notification saying that Img Preview can read browsing data:
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 Img Preview?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Img Preview application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Img Preview 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.
Img Preview 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, "Img Preview"), 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.
Img Preview 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 "Img Preview" 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 "Img Preview", 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 img preview 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 "Img Preview", 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 "Img Preview", 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 img preview 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 img preview 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 "Img Preview".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the img preview 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.
Post a comment:
If you have additional information on img preview redirect or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.