What is Shiny Tab?
Shiny Tab is a rogue browser extension promising various functionalities, such as browser wallpapers, light/dark and fullscreen modes. When we analyzed this piece of software, we observed it modifying browser settings and promoting the search.shinytab.com fake search engine. This behavior classifies Shiny Tab as a browser hijacker.
Shiny Tab browser hijacker overview
After installing Shiny Tab, we observed it reassigning the browsers' homepage, new tab/window, and default search engine URLs - to search.shinytab.com. Hence, new browser tabs/windows opened and search queries typed into the URL bar - redirected to this address.
Fraudulent search engines usually cannot generate search results and redirect to legitimate ones. Search.shinytab.com redirects to Google (google.com); note that it could redirect elsewhere as the end address can depend on various factors (e.g., user geolocation, etc.). Browser hijackers also tend to employ persistence-ensuring techniques to prevent browser recovery.
We have extensively researched software of this type and can conclude that most browser hijackers have data tracking abilities. Therefore, Shiny Tab likely has them as well. Information of interest includes: URLs visited, webpages viewed, search queries typed, personally identifiable details, etc. The collected data is monetized by being shared with and/or sold to third-parties.
In summary, the presence of browser hijackers on devices can lead to severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Browser Extension(s)||Shiny Tab|
|Supposed Functionality||Light and dark modes, browser wallpapers, and fullscreen mode|
|Detection Names (search.shinytab.com)||A/N (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 hijacker examples
Color Darker, Easy-Search, One Dark, Sports-Blast, and Duty-Search are some examples of the browser hijackers we have analyzed. They look legitimate and offer "handy" features. However, the advertised functions rarely work as promised, and in most cases - they are utterly nonoperational.
How did Shiny Tab install on my computer?
We downloaded Shiny Tab from its "official" promotional webpage, which we found via deceptive browser notifications. However, there are many ways that users can encounter browser hijackers. Their download sites can also be accessed through other websites (which use rogue advertising networks) or intrusive ads.
Software bundling (packing installers with unwanted/malicious additions) is also used to proliferate browser hijackers. Download from untrustworthy sources and rushed installations (e.g., skipped steps, used "Easy/Express" settings, etc.) - increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system. Additionally, some intrusive ads are capable of stealthily downloading/installing software - when clicked.
How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?
We strongly recommend using only official and verified download channels. Dubious sources, e.g., unofficial and freeware sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc. - often offer bundled content. Our researchers also advise approaching download/installation processes with care, including - reading terms, studying possible options, using the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opting-out of all supplements.
It is just as important to exercise caution when browsing. Intrusive advertisements can look legitimate, yet they redirect to questionable websites (e.g., gambling, adult-dating, pornography, etc.).
If you experience such ads/redirects, check the system and immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with Shiny Tab, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Shiny Tab browser hijacker asking for various permissions:
Website promoting Shiny Tab browser hijacker:
Appearance of search.shinytab.com redirecting to the Google 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 Shiny Tab?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Shiny Tab application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Shiny Tab browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove search.shinytab.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove search.shinytab.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Shiny Tab 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, "Shiny Tab"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the search.shinytab.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Shiny Tab browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove Shiny Tab browser hijacker using Combo Cleaner:
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 "Shiny Tab" 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 "Shiny Tab", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.search.shinytab.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 "search.shinytab.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 search.shinytab.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 "Shiny Tab", 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 "Shiny Tab", remove hxxp://search.shinytab.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 search.shinytab.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 search.shinytab.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 search.shinytab.com website?
Browser hijacker and fake search engine developers generate revenue through these redirects.
Is visiting search.shinytab.com a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes. Websites like search.shinytab.com usually gather information about their visitors.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are most commonly spread through software bundling, misleading promotional webpages, unofficial and freeware download sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, deceptive browser notifications/ intrusive advertisements, fake updaters, etc.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove Shiny Tab browser hijacker?
Yes, Combo Cleaner will scan your device and eliminate detected browser-hijacking apps. On the other hand, manual removal might be ineffective when multiple browser hijackers are present. In some instances, when one browser hijacker is (manually) removed - the others re-install it. Additionally, removal-related settings may be inaccessible with this software installed. Therefore, it is strongly advised to eliminate browser hijackers thoroughly and all at the same time.