What is searchzone.xyz?
Searchzone.xyz is the address of a fake search engine. Web searchers of this type are usually promoted by PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications) categorized as browser hijackers. This software tends to have data tracking abilities, and this also applies to fraudulent search engines.
How do browser hijackers promote searchzone.xyz?
Searchzone.xyz has been observed being promoted by the Search-Zone browser hijacker. This software operates by assigning fake web searcher addresses as browsers' default search engine, new tab/window, and homepage URLs. Hence, web searches performed via the URL bar and new tabs/windows opened - redirect to the promoted address (e.g., searchzone.xyz).
Fraudulent search engines typically cannot provide search results, so they redirect to genuine ones. Searchzone.xyz is not an exception to this; it has been observed redirecting to Bing (possibly elsewhere).
Furthermore, browser hijackers tend to use persistence-ensuring methods to prevent users from recovering their browsers.
This software targets users' browsing and search engine histories, personally identifiable details, and other vulnerable data. This information is monetized by being shared with and/or sold to third-parties. To summarize, the presence of data-tracking software on devices can lead to severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Name||Search-Zone 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||N/A (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 engine and browser hijacker examples
Searchfor.cc, greentabs.net, happyquokka.xyz, searchandshopping.org - are a few examples of fake search engines, and SocialCouponSearch, WebAdblockSearch, TheMapsFinderSearch - of browser hijackers. They appear legitimate and offer "handy" functionalities, which are seldom operational.
In fact, most PUAs promise "handy" functionalities and have harmful abilities instead. For example, unwanted apps can hijack browsers, cause redirects, run intrusive ad campaigns (adware), and collect private information.
How did searchzone.xyz promoting software install on my computer?
Some PUAs (e.g., Search-Zone that promotes searchzone.xyz) have "official" download webpages. These applications are also spread using the "bundling" marketing tactic - packing ordinary programs with various additions. Rushed download/installation processes increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the device.
Intrusive adverts proliferate PUAs as well. Upon being clicked, the advertisements can execute scripts to make downloads/installations without user permission.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is important to always research software and download from official/verified channels. Untrustworthy sources, e.g., unofficial and freeware websites, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) 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 ads appear legitimate, yet they redirect to highly questionable sites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).
In case of encounters with such adverts and/or redirects, the system must be inspected and all suspect 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.
Searchzone.xyz promoting Search-Zone browser hijacker asking for various permissions:
Website used to endorse Search-Zone browser hijacker:
Appearance of searchzone.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 searchzone.xyz?
- STEP 1. Uninstall unwanted applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove searchzone.xyz browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove searchzone.xyz homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove searchzone.xyz redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
searchzone.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 searchzone.xyz website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
searchzone.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.
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.searchzone.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 "searchzone.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 search-zone 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://searchzone.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 search-zone 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 search-zone 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 searchzone.xyz website?
Fake search engine/ browser hijacker developers generate revenue through such redirects.
Is visiting searchzone.xyz a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes - visiting searchzone.xyz does pose a threat to your privacy. Websites of this kind usually collect data about their visitors.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are proliferated using social engineering tactics and dubious distribution methods. For example, this software is spread via misleading promotional sites, online scams, deceptive browser notifications/ intrusive ads, unofficial and freeware websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, fake updaters/installers, etc.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove browser hijackers?
Yes, Combo Cleaner will scan your device and eliminate installed browser-hijacking apps. However, manual removal might not be a perfect solution when multiple browser hijackers have infiltrated the system. Sometimes in such cases, after one browser hijacker is uninstalled - the others re-install it. Furthermore, removal-related settings might be inaccessible while this software is present. Hence, browser hijackers must be removed thoroughly and all at once.