What is SecureTab?
SecureTab is a rogue browser extension classified as a browser hijacker. It modifies browsers, promotes the securetab.xyz fake search engine, and tracks browsing data. Additionally, due to the dubious methods used to spread browser hijackers - they are also considered to be PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications).
SecureTab browser hijacker in detail
SecureTab assigns securetab.xyz as browsers' default search engine, new tab/window, and homepage URLs. New browser tabs/windows opened and search queries typed into the URL bar - redirect to securetab.xyz.
Furthermore, fake search engines usually cannot provide search results, so they redirect to legitimate ones. This applies to securetab.xyz; it redirects both to the genuine Bing (bing.com) and fraudulent search1.me search engines (potentially others). While search1.me can generate search results, they are inaccurate and may endorse dubious/malicious content.
Browser hijackers tend to use persistence-ensuring techniques to stop users from recovering their browsers. SecureTab, like most browser hijackers, has data tracking abilities. Targeted information includes: URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, IP addresses, personally identifiable details, etc. The gathered data is then shared with and/or sold to third-parties.
To summarize, the presence of data-tracking software on devices can result in serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Detection Names (securetab.xyz)||alphaMountain.ai (Suspicious), 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
This is true of nearly all PUAs. The sole goal of unwanted apps is to generate revenue for the developers. Instead of operating as promised, PUAs can hijack browsers, cause redirects, run intrusive ad campaigns (adware), and collect private information.
How did SecureTab install on my computer?
PUAs are spread using the "bundling" technique - packing regular programs with various supplements. Rushed downloads/installations (e.g., skipped steps, etc.) increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system. Intrusive adverts proliferate PUAs as well. Once clicked on, the advertisements can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations. PUAs may also have "official" download pages.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is recommended to research software and download only from official/verified sources. Dubious download channels, e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, and other third-party downloaders - can offer bundled/harmful content.
When downloading/installing, it is advised to read terms, study possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings to opt-out from all additions. Intrusive adverts appear ordinary, yet they redirect to highly questionable websites (e.g., gambling, adult-dating, pornography, etc.).
In case of encounters with ads and/or redirects of this kind, the system must be checked and all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - immediately removed from it. If your computer is already infected with SecureTab, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
SecureTab browser hijacker asking for various permissions:
Appearance of securetab.xyz redirecting to the Bing 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 SecureTab?
- STEP 1. Uninstall SecureTab application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove SecureTab browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove securetab.xyz homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove securetab.xyz redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
SecureTab 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, "SecureTab"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the securetab.xyz website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
SecureTab 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 "SecureTab" 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 "SecureTab", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.securetab.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 "securetab.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 securetab.xyz 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 "SecureTab", 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 "SecureTab", remove hxxp://securetab.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 securetab.xyz 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 securetab.xyz 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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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the purpose of forcing users to visit securetab.xyz website?
Revenue is generated through visits to the securetab.xyz websites.
Is visiting securetab.xyz a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes - visiting securetab.xyz poses a threat to your privacy. Websites of this type usually gather data about their visitors.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are distributed using various questionable methods, e.g., misleading promotional/download webpages, unofficial and freeware sites, online scams, deceptive browser notifications/ intrusive advertisements, etc.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove SecureTab browser hijacker?
Yes, Combo Cleaner will scan your computer and eliminate installed browser-hijacking apps. However, manual removal might not be a perfect solution. In some cases, when multiple browser hijackers have infiltrated the system, once one is removed - the others may re-install it. This software can also restrict or deny access to removal-related settings. Therefore, it is important to remove browser hijackers thoroughly and all at once.