What is peatea[.]xyz?
Peatea.xyz is the URL (address) of a fake search engine. Typically, such web searchers are promoted by PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications) classified as browser hijackers.
The peatea[.]xyz web searcher has been observed being promoted by a browser hijacker called Find. What is noteworthy about this piece of software is that it uses sophisticated persistence-ensuring techniques - to prevent users from restoring their browsers.
How do browser hijackers promote peatea[.]xyz?
Browser hijackers usually reassign browsers' default search engine, new tab/window, and homepage URLs - to fake web searcher addresses. While the Find browser hijacker has not been noted modifying browsers in this manner, it is not unlikely that it might alter these settings in some cases.
The hijacker software promotes fraudulent search engines (e.g., peatea[.]xyz) by redirecting to them every time a new browser tab/window is opened, and a web search is performed via the URL bar.
Fake web searchers usually cannot provide search results, so they redirect to legitimate search engines. Peatea.xyz redirects to Bing (bing.com), but it might also redirect to others. It is worth mentioning that the Find browser hijacker has been noted promoting the musttrust[.]xyz illegitimate web searcher as well.
Browser hijackers commonly use persistence-ensuring techniques. In case of the Find browser hijacker, it denies access to the Google Chrome browser extension list. Hence, when users try to access the list ("chrome://extensions/") they are redirected to a fake one ("chrome-extension://[user's_ID]/extensions.html"), which does not include Find. This browser hijacker may also use the "Managed by your organization" Chrome browser feature.
Furthermore, most browser hijackers have data tracking abilities. Information of interest includes browsing and search engine histories, IP addresses, personally identifiable details, finance-related data, etc. The collected data is monetized by being shared with and/or sold to third-parties.
In summary, the presence of such unwanted software on devices can lead to severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Name||peatea.xyz 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 (peatea[.]xyz)||N/A (VirusTotal)|
|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
Search1.me, kwiqsearch.com, 123.sogou.com, 12startpage.com - are examples of fake search engines, and TopADSBlockSearch, Key Omni, GameSearchTech - of browser hijackers. They appear legitimate and offer "handy" functionalities, which rarely work.
In fact, this is true of nearly all PUAs. The sole goal of unwanted apps is to generate revenue. PUAs are designed to hijack browsers, cause redirects, deliver intrusive advertisement campaigns (adware), and gather personal and sensitive data.
How did peatea[.]xyz promoting software install on my computer?
Select PUAs have "official" promotional/download pages. These applications are also commonly spread using the "bundling" tactic - packing regular programs with unwanted/malicious additions. Rushed downloads/installations increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system. Intrusive advertisements proliferate PUAs as well. Once clicked on, the ads can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is recommended to research software and always download it from official/verified channels. Untrustworthy sources, e.g., unofficial and freeware websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc. - often 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 advertisements appear legitimate; however, they redirect to various questionable sites (e.g., adult-dating, gambling, pornography, etc.).
In case of encounters with such ads and/or redirects, the system must be checked 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 peatea.xyz redirecting to the Bing search engine (GIF):
Screenshot of the Find browser hijacker's manual removal from Google Chrome:
Official peatea[.]xyz browser hijacker promotion site:
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 peatea[.]xyz?
- STEP 1. Uninstall unwanted applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove peatea[.]xyz browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove peatea[.]xyz homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove peatea[.]xyz redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
peatea[.]xyz 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 peatea[.]xyz website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
peatea[.]xyz 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. Note that the Find browser hijacker (one of those which promote peatea.xyz) denies access to the extensions list and displays a fake one; this removal step for the Find browser hijacker can be found above.
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.peatea[.]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 "peatea[.]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 peatea.xyz 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://peatea[.]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 peatea.xyz 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 peatea.xyz 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 peatea.xyz website?
Browser hijacker developers generate revenue by forcing users to visit fake search engines like peatea[.]xyz.
Is visiting peatea.xyz a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes. Websites such as peatea[.]xyz usually collect information about their visitors.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are distributed using social engineering and various questionable methods, e.g., software "bundling", dubious download channels (e.g., unofficial, freeware, and scam sites; Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.), deceptive browser notifications/ intrusive ads, and so on.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove browser hijackers?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan devices and eliminate installed browser-hijacking applications. On the other hand, in certain cases when multiple browser hijackers are present - manual removal may not be the perfect solution. Since when one browser hijacker is removed - the others may re-install it. Furthermore, this hijacker software can prevent users from restoring or making changes to their browsers. Therefore, all browser hijackers have to be removed at once.