Removing flow dark browser hijacker and redirects to getsins.com that it causes
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is flow dark?
While researching dubious download pages, we discovered the flow dark browser extension, which promises to enable dark mode for simple design websites. After analyzing this extension, we determined that this piece of software operates as a browser hijacker that promotes the getsins.com fake search engine.
Flow dark browser hijacker overview
Browser hijackers assign the address of their search engines as browsers' default, and their homepage and new tab/window URLs. When we inspected flow dark, in some instances, it modified browser settings in this manners, in others - it did not. Hijacker software makes these modifications to cause redirects to the promoted search engine (e.g., getsins.com) when a new browser tab/window is opened or a search query is typed into the URL bar.
Additionally, browser hijackers typically employ persistence-ensuring techniques (e.g., access restriction to relevant settings, resetting user-made changes, etc.) to prevent browser recovery.
Fake search engines usually cannot generate search results, so they redirect to genuine ones. We observed getsins.com redirecting to Yahoo and websearches.club; the latter is an illegitimate search engine, and while it can provide search results - they are inaccurate and may endorse untrustworthy/malicious content. Getsins.com might land elsewhere - since redirects can be determined by various factors (user geolocation, etc.).
Flow dark also has data tracking abilities. Browser hijackers tend to target visited URLs, viewed pages, searched queries, personally identifiable details, usernames/passwords, finance-related information, etc. The gathered data is then monetized by being shared with and/or sold to third-parties.
In summary, the presence of browser-hijacking software like flow dark 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)||flow dark|
|Supposed Functionality||Dark mode for simple websites|
|Detection Names (getsins.com)||N/A (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (getsins.com)||220.127.116.11|
|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
Protected-Browsing, Mini Dark, and SearchTab Default are just a couple examples of the browser hijackers we have analyzed recently. This software usually appears legitimate and offers "useful" functionalities. However, these functions seldom work as advertised, and in most cases - they do not work at all.
How did flow dark install on my computer?
We obtained flow dark from a dubious download webpage. Browser hijackers can also have "official" promotional sites. Most users access such pages via redirects caused by websites using rogue advertising networks, spam browser notifications, intrusive ads, mistyped URLs, or installed adware.
Browser-hijacking software is also proliferated using the bundling marketing technique - packing regular program installers with unwanted/malicious supplements. Download from dubious sources (e.g., unofficial and freeware sites, P2P sharing networks, etc.) and rushed installations increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system.
Intrusive adverts are used to spread browser hijackers as well. When clicked on, some of these ads can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations.
How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?
We highly recommend researching software and downloading only from official-verified channels. Installation processes must be approached with caution, e.g., reading terms, studying possible options, using the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opting-out of all additions.
We advise exercising caution when browsing - since illegitimate and malicious material typically looks harmless. For example, intrusive advertisements appear innocuous yet redirect to highly questionable sites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).
In case of encounters with such ads/redirects, inspect the system and immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with flow dark, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Website promoting the flow dark browser hijacker:
Appearance of getsins.com redirecting to the Yahoo 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 flow dark?
- STEP 1. Uninstall flow dark application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove flow dark browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove getsins.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove getsins.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Flow dark 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, "flow dark"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the getsins.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
flow dark browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove flow dark 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 "flow dark" 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 "flow dark", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.getsins.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 "getsins.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 getsins.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 "flow dark", 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 "flow dark", remove hxxp://getsins.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 getsins.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 getsins.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 getsins.com website?
These redirects generate revenue for the cyber criminals (i.e., developers of fake search engines and browser hijackers).
Is visiting getsins.com a threat to my privacy?
To a certain extent, yes. Sites like getsins.com typically collect information about their visitors with the intent of selling it to third-parties.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are mainly spread through deceptive promotional websites, unofficial and free file-hosting websites, P2P sharing networks, software bundling, online scams, fake updates, spam browser notifications, and intrusive advertisements.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove flow dark browser hijacker?
Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of scanning computers and eliminating detected browser-hijacking applications. Note that manual removal (unaided by security software) might be ineffective when multiple browser hijackers are present. In some cases, after one browser hijacker is removed - the others simply re-install it. Additionally, removal-related settings might be inaccessible, and/or user-made changes reset - with this software installed. Therefore, browser hijackers must be eliminated thoroughly and all at once.
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