What is TopGameSearch?
TopGameSearch is a piece of rogue software classified as a browser hijacker. It operates by making changes to browser settings in order to promote the topgamesearch.com fake search engine. Additionally, TopGameSearch likely spies on users' browsing activity. Due to the questionable methods used to distribute browser hijackers, they are also categorized as PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications).
TopGameSearch browser hijacker in detail
Browser hijackers reassign browsers' homepage, default search engine, and new tab/window URLs - to fake web searcher addresses. TopGameSearch modifies browsers in this manner as well. Hence, with it installed: new browser tabs/windows opened and search queries typed into the URL bar - redirect to topgamesearch.com.
Illegitimate search engines usually cannot provide search results, so they redirect (or cause redirection chains leading) to Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other genuine ones. This also applies to topgamesearch.com; it redirects either to Yahoo (search.yahoo.com) or the fake nearbyme.io search engine (possibly others). Nearbyme.io can generate search results, although they are inaccurate and may endorse untrustworthy and malicious content.
Most browser hijackers can track data. They record browsing activity (URLs visited, webpages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and gather sensitive information extracted from it (IP addresses/ geolocations, personally identifiable details, etc.). The collected data is then monetized by being shared with and/or sold to third-parties.
In summary, the presence of data-tracking software on devices can lead to severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. To ensure device and user safety, all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins must be removed without delay.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Detection Names (topgamesearch.com)||N/A (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.
Browser hijackers in general
MovieSearchHome, StreamsSearchClub, GreatSearchSport, and BestPDFConverterSearch are some examples of browser hijackers. They appear ordinary and harmless. This software entices users into download/installation with promises of "handy" features, which are seldom operational.
In fact, practically all PUAs advertise nonexistent functions. The only goal of these applications is to generate profit at user expense. Therefore, instead of delivering on any promises, PUAs can hijack browsers, force-open unreliable and malicious sites, run intrusive advertisement campaigns (adware), and collect private and vulnerable data.
How did TopGameSearch install on my computer?
PUAs can be downloaded/installed alongside other products. This false marketing technique of packing regular programs with unwanted or malicious additions - is termed "bundling". Rushed downloads/installations (e.g., ignored terms, used pre-set options, etc.) increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system.
Intrusive adverts are used to proliferate PUAs as well. Once clicked on, the advertisements can execute scripts to download/install these applications without user consent. Some PUAs may also have "official" promotional sites from which they can be downloaded.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is recommended to research software prior to download/installation and/or purchase. Only official and verified download channels must be used. Untrustworthy sources, e.g., unofficial and freeware websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, and other third-party downloaders - often offer bundled and harmful content.
When downloading/installing, it is advised to read terms, study possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings to opt-out from additional apps, tools, etc. Intrusive ads appear legitimate; however, they redirect to highly questionable sites (e.g., adult-dating, gambling, pornography, and so on).
In case of encounters with such advertisements and/or redirects, the system must be inspected and all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - immediately removed from it. If your computer is already infected with TopGameSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Appearance of topgamesearch.com redirecting to the nearbyme.io 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 TopGameSearch?
- STEP 1. Uninstall TopGameSearch application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove TopGameSearch browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove topgamesearch.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove topgamesearch.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
TopGameSearch 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, "TopGameSearch"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the topgamesearch.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
TopGameSearch 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 "TopGameSearch" 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 "TopGameSearch", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.topgamesearch.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:
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 "topgamesearch.com", 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 topgamesearch.com 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 "TopGameSearch", 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 "TopGameSearch", remove hxxp://topgamesearch.com 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 topgamesearch.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, 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 topgamesearch.com 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.
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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