What is Key word search?
Key word search is a browser hijacker promoting the keysearchs.com fake search engine. Since most users inadvertently download browser hijackers, they are also classified as PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications).
Key word search browser hijacker overview
Browser hijackers assign fake web searcher addresses as browsers' homepage, default search engine, and new tab/window URLs. To elaborate on how these modifications affect the browsing experience, with Key word search installed: new browser tabs/windows opened and search queries typed onto the URL bar - redirect to keysearchs.com.
Fraudulent search engines are seldom capable of providing search results, so they redirect to legitimate ones. This applies to keysearchs.com as well. It has been observed redirecting to Google (google.com) and causing a redirection chain (consisting of my-search.com and trafficjunction.com) leading to Bing (bing.com).
Browser hijackers can undo any changes users try to make to their browsers or restrict/deny access to the browser settings. Hence, restoring a hijacked browser is impossible without removing the software affecting it.
Key word search, like most browser hijackers, has data tracking abilities. Information of interest includes: URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, IP addresses, personally identifiable information, etc. The gathered data is then shared with and/or sold to third-parties.
To summarize, the presence of data-tracking on devices can result in serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Name||Key word search|
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Browser Extension(s)||Key word search|
|Detection Names (keysearchs.com)||ADMINUSLabs (Malicious), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (keysearchs.com)||188.8.131.52|
|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
GoCouponSearch, Key Omni, Venus Tab, Smart Search, and SecureTab are some examples of browser hijackers. They appear legitimate and harmless. Users are lured into installation with promises of "useful" features that are rarely operational.
In fact, this is true of nearly all PUAs. The sole purpose of unwanted software is to generate profit; therefore, instead of delivering on any promises - PUAs can hijack browsers, cause redirects, run intrusive ad campaigns (adware), and collect private information.
How did Key word search install on my computer?
Select PUAs (e.g., Key word search) have "official" promotional/download pages. These applications are also distributed using the "bundling" technique - packing regular programs with various additions. Rushed downloads/installations 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 stealthy downloads/installations.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is advised to research software and download from official/verified sources. Untrustworthy download channels, e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc. - often offer bundled and harmful content.
When downloading/installing, it is important 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 highly questionable websites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).
In case of encounters with ads and/or redirects of this kind, the system must be checked and all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - immediately removed from it. If your computer is already infected with Key word search, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Website promoting the Key word search browser hijacker:
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 Key word search?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Key word search application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Key word search browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove keysearchs.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove keysearchs.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Key word search 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, "Key word search"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the keysearchs.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Key word search 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 "Key word search" 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 "Key word search", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.keysearchs.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 "keysearchs.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 keysearchs.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 "Key word search", 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 "Key word search", remove hxxp://keysearchs.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 keysearchs.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 keysearchs.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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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the purpose of forcing users to visit keysearchs.com website?
Developers of fake search engines (e.g., keysearchs.com) and browser hijackers (e.g., Key word search) generate revenue through such redirects.
Is visiting keysearchs.com a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes. Sites like keysearchs.com typically gather information about their visitors, which makes them a privacy threat.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are spread using social engineering and dubious distribution techniques. For example, rogue software is proliferated via program bundling, online scams, deceptive browser notifications/ intrusive ads, unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, misleading promotional webpages, and so on.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove Key word search browser hijacker?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan devices and eliminate browser-hijacking apps that are present. It is noteworthy that manual removal might not be a perfect solution when browser hijackers have infiltrated the system in bundles (i.e., in multiples). Sometimes, when one browser hijacker is removed - the other re-install it. Additionally, certain removal-related settings may be inaccessible when this software is installed. Therefore, it is crucial to remove browser hijackers thoroughly and all at once.