What is Simple Note?
Simple Note is a piece of software endorsed as a browser extension with a simple and easy-to-use notepad feature. However, it is classified as a browser hijacker due to making modifications to browser settings - in order to promote fake search engines.
Simple Note promotes the fxsmash.xyz illegitimate web searcher. Additionally, this browser extension has data tracking abilities, which are used to gather browsing-related information. Due to the questionable techniques used to distribute browser hijackers, they are also categorized as PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications).
Browser hijackers reassign browsers' homepage, default search engine, and new tab/window URLs - to fake web searcher addresses. These seemingly minor changes seriously affect the browsing experience.
To elaborate, with Simple Note installed: new browser tabs/windows opened and search queries typed into the URL bar - redirect to fxsmash.xyz. Illegitimate search engines are seldom able to provide search results, so they tend to redirect to (or cause redirection chains ending with) to Yahoo, Bing, Google, and other genuine ones.
This is true of fxsmash.xyz as well. It has been observed redirecting to the Yahoo (search.yahoo.com) search engine and websearches.club. Like fxsmash.xyz, the latter is also considered to be illegitimate. While websearches.club can generate search results, they are inaccurate and may promote unreliable or malicious content.
Furthermore, browser hijackers can undo any changes users attempt to make to their browsers. Alternatively, this software can ensure persistence by restricting or denying access to the browser settings.
Therefore, restoring a hijacked browser is impossible without removing the software affecting it. What is more, browser hijackers usually have data tracking functionalities, and Simple Note is not an exception to this. Targeted information includes (but is not limited to): URLs visited, webpages viewed, search queries typed, IP addresses/ geolocations, and personally identifiable details.
Browser hijacker developers then share or sell the collected data to third-parties, likewise intent on misusing it for profit. In summary, the presence of data-tracking software on devices can lead to serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. To protect 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|
|Browser Extension(s)||Simple Note|
|Supposed Functionality||Notepad feature|
|Detection Names (fxsmash.xyz)||Fortinet (Malware), alphaMountain.ai (Suspicious), Forcepoint ThreatSeeker (Suspicious), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (fxsmash.xyz)||22.214.171.124|
|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.
SearchConvertersWeb, Set Colors, and Food Tab are a couple examples of browser hijackers. They appear ordinary and harmless. This software typically offers a broad range of "useful" and "advantageous" functions; however, they are rarely operational.
In fact, this is true of nearly all PUAs. The sole goal of unwanted apps is to generate revenue for the developers; hence, functionality and user safety are irrelevant. PUAs operate by hijacking browsers, causing redirects, delivering intrusive advert campaigns (adware), and collecting sensitive data.
How did Simple Note install on my computer?
Some PUAs (e.g., Simple Note) have "official" promotional/download pages. These applications can also be download/installed alongside other programs. This false marketing method of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions - is termed "bundling".
The supplements are usually hidden within the "Custom/Advanced" download/installation settings or left unmentioned. Rushed download/installation processes (e.g., skipped steps and sections, used "Easy/Express" settings, etc.) increase the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content into the system. Intrusive adverts are used to proliferate PUAs as well.
Once clicked on, the ads can execute scripts to make downloads/installations without user permission.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is important to research software products before download/installation and/or purchase. Furthermore, only official and verified download sources must be used. Since untrustworthy download channels, e.g., unofficial and fee file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (Torrent clients, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), and other third-party downloaders - often offer deceptive and bundled content.
Download and installation processes must be approached with care; that includes - reading terms, exploring possible options, using the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and declining supplementary apps, tools, functions, and so on. Intrusive advertisements appear legitimate and innocuous; however, they redirect to various unreliable and dubious 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 suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - immediately removed from it. If your computer is already infected with Simple Note, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Website promoting Simple Note 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 IT 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 Simple Note?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Simple Note application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Simple Note 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.
Simple Note 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, "Simple Note"), 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.
Simple Note 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 "Simple Note" 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 "Simple Note", 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 simple note 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 "Simple Note", 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 "Simple Note", 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 simple note 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 simple note 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 "Simple Note".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the simple note 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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