What is search1.me?
Search1.me is the address of a fake search engine. Typically, such web searchers are promoted by PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications) classified as browser hijackers. Search1.me has been observed being pushed by the Better Search browser hijacker.
How do browser hijackers promote search1.me?
Browser hijackers promote fraudulent web searchers by assigning them as browsers' default search engine, homepage, and new tab/window URLs. To elaborate on how this affects browsing, with Better Search (or a similar browser hijacker) installed: new browser tabs/windows opened and search queries typed into the URL bar - redirect to search1.me.
Fake search engines usually cannot generate search results, so they redirect to Bing, Yahoo, Google, and other genuine ones. While some of these web searchers, like search1.me, can provide search results - they are inaccurate and may endorse unreliable and malicious websites.
Browser hijackers also use persistence-ensuring techniques to prevent users from recovering their browsers. For example, Better Search (promoting search1.me) employs the Google Chrome browser "Managed by your organization" feature.
Furthermore, most browser hijackers spy on users' browsing activity. Information of interest includes browsing and search engine histories, personally identifiable details, and so on. The collected data is then monetized by being shared with and/or sold to third-parties.
To summarize, the presence of data-tracking software on systems can result in severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Name||search1.me browser hijacker|
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Affected Browser Settings||Homepage, new tab URL, default search engine|
|Detection Names (search1.me)||N/A (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address||126.96.36.199|
|Detection Names (rogue installer)||Avast (Win32:TrojanX-gen [Trj]), Combo Cleaner (Gen:Variant.Jaik.45703), ESET-NOD32 (Multiple Detections), Kaspersky (UDS:DangerousObject.Multi.Generic), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/Sabsik.FL.B!ml), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|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.
Fake search engines and browser hijackers in general
This software appears ordinary and offers "useful" features that are typically nonoperational. In fact, this applies to nearly all PUAs. Instead, unwanted apps can have harmful abilities, e.g., hijacking browsers, causing redirects, running intrusive advertisement campaigns (adware), and gathering private information.
How did search1.me promoting software install on my computer?
PUAs are distributed using the "bundling" marketing tactic - packing ordinary programs with various additions. Rushed download/installation processes (e.g., used "Easy/Express" settings, etc.) increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system.
Intrusive advertisements proliferate PUAs as well. Upon being clicked, the ads can execute scripts to make downloads/installations without user consent. Some PUAs may also have "official" promotional/download sites.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is important to research software and always download from official/verified sources. Untrustworthy download channels, e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc. - often offer bundled content.
When downloading/installing, it is advised to read terms, study available options, and use the "Custom/Advanced" settings to opt-out from all supplements. Intrusive adverts appear legitimate; however, they redirect to highly questionable sites (e.g., gambling, pornography, 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 browser hijackers, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate it.
Appearance of Better Search browser hijacker promoting the search1.me 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 search1.me?
- STEP 1. Uninstall unwanted applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove search1.me browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove search1.me homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove search1.me redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
search1.me redirect 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, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the search1.me website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
search1.me redirect 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 all 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, look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.search1.me) 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 "search1.me" 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 search1.me browser hijacker, 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 all 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 remove hxxp://search1.me 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 search1.me 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, 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 search1.me browser hijacker, 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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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the purpose of forcing users to visit search1.me website?
Developers of websites and software (e.g., browser hijackers) that cause redirects - generate revenue from them. Hence, visits to search1.me result in profit for those promoting it.
Is visiting search1.me a threat to my privacy?
To a certain extent, yes. Search1.me and sites similar to it - gather information about their visitors, which makes them a threat to user privacy.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are spread using social engineering and various questionable distribution methods, e.g., misleading "official" promotional websites, freeware and scam sites, browser notifications/ intrusive advertisements, software bundling, etc.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove browser hijackers?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan devices and eliminate installed browser-hijacking apps. However, manual removal may not be ideal when browser hijackers infiltrate systems in a bundle. Since when one browser hijacker is removed - the remaining ones may re-install it. Furthermore, some settings cannot be changed while this software is present. Therefore, it is crucial to remove all browser hijackers immediately and altogether.