Removal instructions for the BetterSearch Default Search browser hijacker
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is BetterSearch Default Search?
BetterSearch Default Search is a browser extension that we found while inspecting untrustworthy websites. Our researchers classified this piece of software as a browser hijacker. BetterSearch Default Search operates by making changes to browser settings and promotes the better-search.xyz fake search engine.
BetterSearch Default Search browser hijacker overview
After being installed onto our test system, BetterSearch Default Search assigned better-search.xyz as the browser's default search engine, new tab/window, and homepage URLs. Hence, when a new browser tab/window was opened or a search query was typed into the URL bar - it caused a redirect to better-search.xyz.
Additionally, this browser-hijacking software uses persistence-ensuring techniques to prevent users from recovering their browsers.
Fraudulent search engines usually cannot generate search results, so they redirect to legitimate ones. Better-search.xyz is not an exception; we have noted it redirecting to the Bing search engine. However, it might redirect elsewhere, depending on various factors (e.g., user geolocation, etc.).
Furthermore, BetterSearch Default Search has data tracking abilities. Browser hijackers typically target browsing activity (e.g., URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.), personally identifiable details, account log-in credentials, financial/banking information, etc. The collected data is then shared with and/or sold to third-parties.
To summarize, the presence of BetterSearch Default Search or other browser-hijacking software on devices can lead to serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Name||BetterSearch Default Search|
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Browser Extension(s)||BetterSearch Default Search, BetterSearch|
|Detection Names (better-search.xyz)||Forcepoint ThreatSeeker (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 hijacker examples
Quick Pro, Movie Reviews & Search | Movies Tab, and Duty-Search are some examples of browser hijackers we have researched. This software appears legitimate and offers "handy" functionalities, which are seldom operational. Therefore, browser hijackers are not only useless, but they also endanger device/user safety.
How did BetterSearch Default Search install on my computer?
Browser hijackers are spread using various deceptive techniques. This software can have "official" promotional or dubious download pages, which are usually accessed via mistyped URLs or redirects caused by websites using rogue advertising networks, spam browser notifications, intrusive adverts, or installed adware.
"Bundling" - packing ordinary programs with unwanted/malicious supplements - is also used to proliferate browser-hijacking software. Download from untrustworthy sources and rushed installations - increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system.
Intrusive advertisements are employed to distribute browser hijackers as well. When clicked on, the ads can execute scripts to make downloads/installations without user permission.
How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?
We strongly recommend researching software and downloading only from official/verified channels. Installation processes must be treated with caution, e.g., reading terms, exploring available options, using the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opting-out of all additions.
We advise exercising care when browsing since fraudulent and malicious content typically appears legitimate. For example, intrusive adverts look genuine and harmless, yet they redirect to highly questionable sites (e.g., gambling, adult-dating, pornography, etc.).
In case of encounters with advertisements and/or redirects of this kind, inspect your device and immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with BetterSearch Default Search, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Permissions asked by the BetterSearch Default Search browser hijacker:
Appearance of better-search.xyz redirecting to the Bing search engine (GIF):
Deceptive website promoting BetterSearch Default 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 BetterSearch Default Search?
- STEP 1. Uninstall BetterSearch Default Search application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove BetterSearch Default Search browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove better-search.xyz homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove better-search.xyz redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
BetterSearch Default 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, "BetterSearch Default Search"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the better-search.xyz website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
BetterSearch Default 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 "BetterSearch Default 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 "BetterSearch Default Search" (or simply "BetterSearch"), look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.better-search.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 "better-search.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 better-search.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 "BetterSearch Default 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 "BetterSearch Default Search", remove hxxp://better-search.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 better-search.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 better-search.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 better-search.xyz website?
Cyber criminals (i.e., developers of fake search engines and browser hijackers) generate revenue through such redirects.
Is visiting better-search.xyz a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes. Websites like better-search.xyz usually collect data about their visitors.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are primarily proliferated via misleading promotional webpages, freeware and third-party download sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, online scams, software bundling, fake updates, intrusive advertisements, spam browser notifications, and so on.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove BetterSearch Default Search browser hijacker?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan devices and eliminate installed browser-hijacking apps. It is noteworthy that manual removal (unaided by security programs) might be ineffective. In cases when multiple browser hijackers are present, once one is eliminated - the others might re-install it. Furthermore, removal-related settings might be unmodifiable with this software installed. Therefore, browser hijackers must be removed thoroughly and all at once.
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