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How to remove Browse Safely browser hijacker?

Also Known As: browsesafelysearch.com redirect
Damage level: Medium

What is Browse Safely?

Browse Safely is called a browser hijacker because it promotes a fake search engine (the browsesafelysearch.com address) by changing web browser's settings and does not allow to revert those changes. It is very common for browser hijackers to be downloaded and installed inadvertently, for this reason they are called potentially unwanted apps (PUAs).

browsesafelysearch.com browser hijacker

Browse Safely in detail

Typically, browser hijackers promote fake search engines by modifying settings such as the address of a default search engine, homepage, and new tab. As mentioned in the introduction paragraph, Browse Safely is designed to promote the browsesafelysearch.com address (it changes the aforementioned addresses to browsesafelysearch.com).

Browsesafelysearch.com is a fake search engine because it shows results generated by Yahoo (it redirects users to search.yahoo.com). In other words, browsesafelysearch.com does not generate unique results. It is important to mention that fake search engines can generate results with links to malicious pages in them.

It is strongly recommended to use legitimate search engines like Yahoo, Google, Bing and avoid using fake search engines like browsesafelysearch.com. It is worth mentioning that hijacked browsers keep opening a certain address (or addresses) as long as browser hijackers are installed on them (or computers).

In order to remove unwanted address from hijacked web browser's settings, users need to uninstall a browser hijacker first. Once a browser hijacker is no longer installed, changes that were made by it can be reverted. Another reason to uninstall any installed browser hijacker is that it may be collecting various data.

It is common that browser hijackers collect browsing-related data like IP addresses, geolocations, entered search queries, etc. In some cases, browser hijackers can access personal details like email addresses, usernames, passwords, credit card details, and other sensitive information as well.

The biggest problem is that collected data could be used to generate revenue. For instance, it could be used for marketing purposes, sold to third parties (potentially cybercriminals), steal identities, online accounts, make fraudulent purchases, transactions. It depends on the gathered information.

Threat Summary:
Name Browse Safely
Threat Type Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab
Browser Extension(s) Browse Safely
Supposed Functionality Improved browsing experience
Promoted URL browsesafelysearch.com
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)

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Browser hijackers in general

In conclusion, browser hijackers are designed to promote search engines that do not generate unique results or generate misleading results (include links to untrustworthy pages in their results). A couple examples of other apps of this type are TopPDFSearch, Movie Stuff, and SportSearchStream. Browser hijackers should never be used/installed.

How did Browse Safely install on my computer?

Users often download and install browser hijackers and other potentially unwanted applications through downloaders and installers for other (free) programs. More precisely, when those apps are included in various downloaders, installers as optional offers, and users do not decline them (when they leave certain settings unchanged).

Usually, PUAs can be found and declined in settings like "Custom", "Advanced", "Manual", or by unticking ticked checkboxes. Users agree to download or install additionally included apps by leaving the aforementioned (or similar) settings unchanged. This method to distribute PUAs is known as bundling.

Additionally, unwanted downloads or installations are often caused via deceptive advertisements: it happens when users click advertisements designed to download or install software by running certain scripts. It is important to mention that ads of this type rarely appear on legitimate pages.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is recommended to download programs from official websites and via direct links and avoid using other channels like third-party downloaders (and installers), torrent clients, eMule (and other Peer-to-Peer networks), unofficial websites. It is common for them to be used to distribute PUAs. Moreover, they could be used as channels to distribute malware.

Also, it is advisable not to finish downloads and installations without checking downloaders, installers for "Advanced", "Custom" and other similar settings, and offers to download or install unwanted apps. Additionally, it is recommended not to click on advertisements when they appear on shady pages.

It is common that by clicking those ads, users open untrustworthy websites or cause unwanted downloads, sometimes even installations. Unknown, unwanted, and suspicious extensions, plug-ins, or add-ons (or other programs )installed on a browser and computer should be removed. If your computer is already infected with Browse Safely, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.

Browsesafelysearch.com redirects to search.yahoo.com (GIF):

browse safely browser hijacker browsesafelysearch.com shows yahoo results

Website promoting Browse Safely browser hijacker:

Website used to promote Browse Safely browser hijacker

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Quick menu:

Browse Safely browser hijacker removal:

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.

Windows XP users:

Accessing Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP

Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.

Windows 10 and Windows 8 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.

Mac 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.

browsesafelysearch.com browser hijacker uninstall via Control Panel

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

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

Browse Safely browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects:

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing browsesafelysearch.com 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 "Browse Safely" and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.

Change your homepage:

Removing browsesafelysearch.com 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, disable "Browse Safely", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.browsesafelysearch.com) 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 browsesafelysearch.com 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 "browsesafelysearch.com", 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 browsesafelysearch.com redirect, 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 browsesafelysearch.com 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 "Browse Safely", as well as all other recently installed browser plug-ins.

Change your homepage:

Removing browsesafelysearch.com 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 disable "Browse Safely", remove hxxp://browsesafelysearch.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Removing browsesafelysearch.com 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: "extensionControlled"
Set both results to "false" by either double-clicking each entry or clicking the Mozilla Firefox switch about:config entry button button.

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with browsesafelysearch.com redirect 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 browsesafelysearch.com redirect, 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.

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 browsesafelysearch.com redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

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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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Software uninstall instructions
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

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