Removal instructions for the StreamTopSearch browser-hijacking extension
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
What is StreamTopSearch?
StreamTopSearch is a rogue browser extension. After analyzing it, our researchers determined that it operates as a browser hijacker. StreamTopSearch modifies browser settings to promote the streamtopsearch.com fake search engine.
StreamTopSearch browser hijacker overview
On our test machine, StreamTopSearch reassigned the browser's homepage, new tab/window, and default search engine URLs. Therefore, when we opened a new browser tab/window or performed a Web search via the URL bar - it resulted in a redirect to the streamtopsearch.com site.
Fake search engines usually redirect to legitimate ones, as they cannot provide search results. Streamtopsearch.com is not an exception. We observed it redirecting to Yahoo and the fake nearbyme.io search engine. While the latter (nearbyme.io) can generate search results, they are inaccurate and may endorse dubious/malicious websites.
However, streamtopsearch.com might redirect elsewhere as that can depend on various factors like user geolocation and similar.
Furthermore, browser hijackers tend to use persistence-ensuring techniques to prevent users from restoring their browsers.
What is more, StreamTopSearch likely has data tracking functionalities. Browser-hijacking software typically has them and collects the following information - URLs visited, webpages viewed, search queries typed, usernames/passwords, personally identifiable details, credit card numbers, etc. The collected data is then shared with and/or sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals).
To summarize, the presence of software like StreamTopSearch on browsers/systems can lead to serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Detection Names (streamtopsearch.com)||N/A (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (streamtopsearch.com)||126.96.36.199|
|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
We have analyzed countless browser hijackers; QuickPDFConverterSearch, BestSportSearches, and YourCouponSearch are just a couple of examples. This software appears legitimate and useful. However, the promised features are rarely operational. Therefore, not only is browser-hijacking software useless, but it also endangers device/user safety.
How did StreamTopSearch install on my computer?
Browser hijackers are distributed using the bundling marketing method - packing regular program installers with unwanted/malicious content. Download from untrustworthy sources (e.g., unofficial and freeware sites, P2P sharing networks, etc.) and rushed installations (e.g., ignored terms, skipped steps/sections, etc.) - increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system.
Intrusive advertisements proliferate browser-hijacking software as well. Once clicked on, some of the adverts can execute scripts to make downloads/installations without user permission.
Browser hijackers are also promoted on dubious download webpages and scam sites. Most users enter such pages through redirects caused by websites using rogue advertising networks, mistyped URLs, spam browser notifications, intrusive ads, or installed adware.
How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?
We strongly recommend researching software and only downloading from official/trustworthy sources. Installation processes must be approached with caution, e.g., by reading terms, exploring available options, using the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings, and opting-out of all supplements.
We advise being vigilant when browsing - since illegitimate and malicious content appears harmless. For example, intrusive adverts look innocuous, yet they redirect to highly questionable sites (e.g., gambling, adult-dating, pornography, etc.).
If you encounter ads and/or redirects of this kind, inspect the system and immediately remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with StreamTopSearch, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Appearance of streamtopsearch.com redirecting to the nearbyme.io fake 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 StreamTopSearch?
- STEP 1. Uninstall StreamTopSearch application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove StreamTopSearch browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove streamtopsearch.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove streamtopsearch.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
StreamTopSearch 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, "StreamTopSearch"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the streamtopsearch.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
StreamTopSearch 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 "StreamTopSearch" 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 "StreamTopSearch", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.streamtopsearch.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 "streamtopsearch.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 streamtopsearch.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 "StreamTopSearch", 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 "StreamTopSearch", remove hxxp://streamtopsearch.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 streamtopsearch.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 streamtopsearch.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 streamtopsearch.com website?
The redirects to sites like streamtopsearch.com are caused because cyber criminals (i.e., the developers of fake search engines and browser hijackers) generate revenue through them.
Is visiting streamtopsearch.com a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes. Websites like streamtopsearch.com usually collect (and sell) information about their visitors.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are spread via deceptive promotional sites, unofficial and freeware websites, P2P sharing networks (e.g., Torrent clients, Gnutella, eMule, etc.), software bundling, online scams, fake updates, spam browser notifications, intrusive advertisements, and so forth.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove StreamTopSearch browser hijacker?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan computers and eliminate all detected browser-hijacking applications. Note that manual removal (unaided by security programs) might be ineffective, especially in cases when multiple browser hijackers are present. Since in some instances when one browser hijacker is eliminated - the others simply re-install it. Additionally, removal-related settings might be inaccessible with this software installed. Hence, browser-hijacking software must be removed thoroughly and all at once.
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