What is happyquokka.xyz?
Happyquokka.xyz is the address of a fake search engine. Illegitimate web searchers are typically promoted by PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications) categorized as browser hijackers.
The happyquokka.xyz web searcher has been noted being endorsed by a browser hijacker called "Tool". What is noteworthy about this rogue browser extension is that it uses sophisticated persistence-ensuring techniques intended to prevent users from restoring their browsers.
How do browser hijackers promote happyquokka.xyz?
Typically, browser hijackers operate by assigning fake web searcher addresses as browsers' homepage, default search engine, and new browser tab/window URLs. Therefore, new browser tabs/windows opened and web searches done via the URL bar - redirect to the promoted address. The "Tool" browser hijacker has not been observed modifying browsers in this manner.
One notable modification this software does make - is changing the Google Chrome shortcut to load the "Tool" extension. The shortcut is changed by appending it's original target with "--load-extension="C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\System\random_filename" string.
Fake search engines usually cannot generate search results, so they redirect to genuine ones. Happyquokka.xyz is not an exception to this; it redirects to the legitimate Bing search engine (possibly others).
Furthermore, this software tends to use certain techniques to stop users from recovering their browsers. The "Tool" browser hijacker denies access to the Google Chrome extensions list ("chrome://extensions/") and instead displays a fake one ("chrome-extension://[user's_ID]/extensions.html). This browser extension also uses the "Managed by your organization" Chrome feature.
What is more, most browser hijackers can track data. Information of interest includes: URLs visited, webpages 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 lead to serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Name||happyquokka.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 (happyquokka.xyz)||N/A (VirusTotal)|
|Detection Names (rogue installer)||Avast (Win32:TrojanX-gen [Trj]), Combo Cleaner (Trojan.GenericKDZ.79766), ESET-NOD32 (Multiple Detections), Kaspersky (UDS:Trojan.Win32.Mixer), Microsoft (Trojan:MSIL/AgentTesla.LEG!MTB), 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
Happyquokka.xyz is virtually identical to ginmule.xyz, musttrust.xyz, and peatea.xyz; it also bears similarities with nearbyme.io, search1.me, sportsblast.xyz, kwiqsearch.com, and countless others. GoCouponSearch, Anywhere Search, SecureTab, and My Togo are some examples of browser hijackers.
Fraudulent search engines and browser hijackers typically appear legitimate and offer "handy" functions that rarely work. In fact, functionality and user safety are irrelevant to nearly all PUAs. Unwanted apps are designed to hijack browsers, cause redirects, run intrusive advertisement campaigns (adware), and collect private data.
How did happyquokka.xyz promoting software install on my computer?
PUAs can be downloaded/installed alongside other programs. This marketing method of packing regular software with various additions - is termed "bundling". Intrusive advertisements are used to distribute PUAs as well. Once clicked on, the ads can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations. PUAs can also have "official" promotional/download sites.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is highly recommended to research software and only download from official/verified sources. Untrustworthy download channels, e.g., unofficial and freeware sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, and other third-party downloaders - often offer bundled content.
When downloading/installing, it is advised to read terms, explore available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opt-out from all additions. Intrusive advertisements appear legitimate, yet they redirect to various questionable websites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).
In case of encounters with such ads and/or redirects, the device 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 happyquokka.xyz redirecting to the Bing search engine (GIF):
Screenshot of the "Tool" browser hijacker's manual removal from Google Chrome:
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 happyquokka.xyz?
- STEP 1. Uninstall unwanted applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove happyquokka.xyz browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove happyquokka.xyz homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove happyquokka.xyz redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
happyquokka.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 happyquokka.xyz website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
happyquokka.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 "Tool" browser hijacker (one of those that promote happyquokka.xyz) denies access to the extensions list by displaying a fake one; "Tool" browser extension removal steps 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.happyquokka.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 "happyquokka.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 happyquokka.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://happyquokka.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 happyquokka.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 happyquokka.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 happyquokka.xyz website?
Visits to happyquokka.xyz generate revenue for its developers and/or those of the browser hijackers that promote this fake search engine.
Is visiting happyquokka.xyz a threat to my privacy?
To a certain extent, yes. Sites like happyquokka.xyz usually collect data about their visitors.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are distributed via software bundled, misleading promotional webpages, unofficial and freeware download sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, online scams, deceptive browser notifications/ intrusive advertisements, and so on.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove browser hijackers?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan devices and eliminate installed browser-hijacking applications. However, manual removal might not be ideal in all instances. In cases when multiple browser hijackers have infiltrated the system, when one is (manually) removed - the others may re-install it. Furthermore, some removal-related settings cannot be modified while hijacker software is present. Therefore, it is crucial to eliminate browser hijackers thoroughly and all at once.