What is MovieSearchOnline?
MovieSearchOnline is a browser hijacker promoting the moviesearchonline.com fake search engine. Since users typically download/install browser hijackers unintentionally, they are also classified as PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications).
MovieSearchOnline browser hijacker in detail
MovieSearchOnline assigns moviesearchonline.com as browsers' homepage, new tab/window, and default search engine URLs. This means that new browser tabs/windows opened and search queries typed into the URL bar - redirect to moviesearchonline.com.
Fake search engines are usually unable to generate search results, so they redirect to legitimate ones. Moviesearchonline.com is not an exception to this; it redirects both to the genuine Yahoo (search.yahoo.com) and fake searchlee.com search engines (possibly others). Searchlee.com is the rare fraudulent search engine that can provide search results, yet they are inaccurate and may endorse unreliable/malicious content.
Browser hijackers can undo any changes users try to make to their browsers or outright restrict access to the browser settings. Hence, recovering a browser is impossible without removing the hijacker software.
MovieSearchOnline likely spies on users browsing activity by monitoring browsing and search engine histories and collecting sensitive data extracted from them (e.g., IP addresses, personally identifiable details, etc.). The gathered information is then shared with and/or sold to third-parties.
To summarize, the presence of data-tracking software on systems can lead to severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Detection Names (moviesearchonline.com)||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.
Browser hijackers in general
Most PUAs (browser hijackers included) appear genuine and offer various features, which are seldom operational. Instead, unwanted apps generate revenue by hijacking browsers, force-opening dubious/malicious sites, running intrusive ad campaigns (adware), and gathering private data.
How did MovieSearchOnline install on my computer?
PUAs can have "official" download webpages. These applications are also spread via intrusive ads. When they are clicked on, the advertisements can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations. PUAs are primarily distributed using the "bundling" technique - packing ordinary programs with unwanted/malicious additions. Rushed downloads/installations increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is recommended to research software and download only from official/verified sources. Untrustworthy download channels, e.g., unofficial and freeware websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc. - offer bundled and harmful content.
When downloading/installing, it is advised to read terms, study possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opt-out from all additions. Intrusive adverts appear legitimate; however, they redirect to various questionable sites (e.g., pornography, gambling, adult-dating, etc.).
In case of encounters with advertisements and/or redirects of this type, the system must be inspected and all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - removed from it without delay. If your computer is already infected with MovieSearchOnline, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Appearance of moviesearchonline.com redirecting to the searchlee.com 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 MovieSearchOnline?
- STEP 1. Uninstall MovieSearchOnline application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove MovieSearchOnline browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove moviesearchonline.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove moviesearchonline.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
MovieSearchOnline 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, "MovieSearchOnline"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the moviesearchonline.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
MovieSearchOnline 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 "MovieSearchOnline" 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 "MovieSearchOnline", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.moviesearchonline.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 "moviesearchonline.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 moviesearchonline.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 "MovieSearchOnline", 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 "MovieSearchOnline", remove hxxp://moviesearchonline.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 moviesearchonline.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 moviesearchonline.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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