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How to remove software causing redirects to nearbyme.io?

Also Known As: nearbyme.io browser hijacker
Damage level: Medium

What is nearbyme.io?

Nearbyme.io is the address (URL) of a fake search engine. Web searching tools are considered illegitimate as they cannot generate search results and record browsing information.

Fake search engines are typically promoted by PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications), which are classified as browser hijackers.

This software promotes (i.e., cause redirects to) illegitimate search engines by making modifications to browser settings. Furthermore, most browser hijackers have data tracking abilities.

nearbyme.io fake search engine variant that redirect to Google

Browser hijackers assign fake web searcher addresses as browsers' homepage, default search engine, and new tab/window URLs. To elaborate on how this affects browsing, with a browser hijacker promoting nearbyme.io installed: every single new browser tab/window opened and search query typed into the URL bar - redirect to nearbyme.io.

Illegitimate search engines rarely can provide search results, so they tend to redirect (or cause redirection chains leading) to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other genuine ones. The nearbyme.io web searcher is not an exception to this. It has been observed redirecting both to Google (google.com) and Bing (bing.com) search engines.

What is more, browser hijackers can restrict or deny access to the browser settings. Alternatively, this software can undo any changes users try to make to their browsers.

Therefore, recovering a hijacked browser is impossible without removing the software affecting it. Browser hijackers and fake search engines usually have data tracking abilities.

Information of interest includes: URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, IP addresses/geolocations, personally identifiable details, and so forth. The collected data is monetized by being shared with and/or sold to third-parties, intent on misusing it for profit.

To summarize, the presence of data-tracking software on browsers/systems can result in severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. It is crucial to remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name nearbyme.io browser hijacker
Threat Type Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab
Affected Browser Settings Homepage, new tab URL, default search engine
Serving IP Address 192.241.229.243
Related Domains ib-search[.]com (direct redirects to nearbyme.io)
Symptoms Manipulated Internet browser(s) settings (homepage, default Internet search engine, new tab settings). User's are forced to visit 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 browsing tracking (potential privacy issues), displaying of unwanted ads, redirects to shady websites.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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Fxsmash.xyzwebsearches.clubsmashapps.net - are some examples of illegitimate search engines, and Set ColorsFood TabMovieSearchZilla - of browser hijackers. This software typically appears legitimate and harmless. Users are enticed into download/installation with offers of various functionalities.

However, the promised features are seldom operational. In fact, this applies to nearly all PUAs. The sole goal of unwanted apps is to generate profit for the developers; they have no real value to users. Instead of delivering on any promises, PUAs can hijack browsers, cause redirects, run intrusive advertisement campaigns (adware), and gather private information.

How did nearbyme.io install on my computer?

PUAs can be downloaded/installed together with other software. This deceptive marketing technique of packing regular products 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 ads are used to spread PUAs as well. Once clicked on, they can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations. These applications may also have "official" promotional/download webpages.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is advised to research software products before download/installation and/or purchase. Additionally, all downloads must be done from official and trustworthy sources. Dubious download channels, e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, and other third-party downloaders - commonly offer dangerous and/or bundled content.

When downloading/installing, it is recommended to read terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opt-out from additional apps, tools, functions, and so on. Intrusive adverts appear ordinary and innocuous; however, they redirect to various unreliable and questionable sites (e.g., gambling, adult-dating, gambling, etc.).

Should users encounter such ads and/or redirects, they must inspect their devices and immediately remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with browser hijackers, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate it.

Screenshot of nearbyme.io fake web searcher's alternative variant that redirects to the Bing search engine:

nearbyme.io variant that redirects to Bing

Appearance of nearbyme.io redirecting to the Google search engine (GIF):

nearbyme.io redirecting to Google (GIF)

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Quick menu:

nearbyme.io redirect removal:

Windows 10 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

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:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

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:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

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.

nearbyme.io browser hijacker uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window: look for any recently installed suspicious applications, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the nearbyme.io website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

nearbyme.io redirect removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects:

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing nearbyme.io related Google Chrome extensions

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and remove them.

Change your homepage:

Removing nearbyme.io from Google Chrome homepage

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.nearbyme.io) 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:

Removing nearbyme.io from Google Chrome default search engine

To change your default search engine in Google Chrome: Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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 "nearbyme.io" when located click the three vertical dots near this URL and select "Remove from list".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the nearbyme.io browser hijacker, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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.

Google Chrome settings reset step 1

After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 2

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 3

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plugins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing nearbyme.io related Mozilla Firefox extensions

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove all recently installed browser plug-ins.

Change your homepage:

Removing nearbyme.io from Mozilla Firefox homepage

To reset your homepage, click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), then select "Options", in the opened window remove hxxp://nearbyme.io and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Removing nearbyme.io from Mozilla Firefox 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: "nearbyme.io"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with nearbyme.io browser hijacker removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.

Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Removing browser hijackers from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click Safari menu, then select Preferences...

removing browser hijacker from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the preferences window select the Extensions tab. Look for any recently installed suspicious extensions and uninstall them.

Removing browser hijackers from safari step 3 - changing homepage

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.

removing browser hijackers from safari step 4 - changing the default Internet search engine

In the preferences window select Search tab and make sure that your preferred Internet search engine is selected.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) logoRemove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 2

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 3

To change your default search engine in Microsoft Edge: Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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 Microsoft Edge (Chromium) puzzle icon near it and select "Disable".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the nearbyme.io browser hijacker, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 1

In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 2

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.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 3

  • If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing nearbyme.io related Internet Explorer extensions

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options 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:

Removing nearbyme.io from Internet Explorer homepage

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Internet Options", in the opened window remove hxxp://nearbyme.io 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:

Removing nearbyme.io from Internet Explorer default search engine

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options 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 "nearbyme.io".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the nearbyme.io browser hijacker, 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.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows XP

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.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 7

Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.

Reseting Internet Explorer settings to default in Windows 8 - accessing

In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - Internet options advanced tab

Click the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - click the Reset button in the Internet options advanced tab

Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - confirm settings reset to default by clicking the reset button

Summary:

declining installation of browser hijackers while downloading free software sampleA 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.

Removal assistance:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove nearbyme.io browser hijacker from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

Post a comment:
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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
nearbyme.io browser hijacker QR code
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