Removing Clear Search browser hijacker and the redirects it causes
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
What is Clear Search?
Clear Search is a rogue browser extension. After analyzing this piece of software, we learned that it is a browser hijacker. Clear Search operates by modifying browser settings to cause redirects to the clear-search.com fake search engine.
Clear Search browser hijacker overview
When we installed Clear Search on our test system, it assigned clear-search.com as the browser's default search engine, new tab/window, and homepage URLs. Therefore, new browser tabs/windows opened and search queries typed into the URL bar - redirected to the clear-search.com website.
Fraudulent search engines usually cannot generate search results, so they redirect to legitimate ones. Clear-search.com is not an exception to this; we observed it redirecting to the Google search engine. However, clear-search.com might land elsewhere since it can depend on various factors like user geolocation.
Furthermore, browser hijackers can restrict access to browser settings and/or undo any permitted changes made.
What is more, Clear Search likely has data tracking abilities. Browser-hijacking software typically collects visited URLs, viewed webpages, searched queries, personally identifiable details, usernames/passwords, finance-related information, and so on. The gathered data is then shared with and/or sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals).
In summary, the presence of software like Clear Search on browsers/systems 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)||Clear Search|
|Detection Names (clear-search.com)||N/A (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (clear-search.com)||184.108.40.206|
|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
FortSearch, Live-Secure, and QuickPDFConverterSearch are just a few examples of the browser hijackers we have analyzed recently. This software usually appears legitimate and offers handy features. However, the functionalities seldom work as advertised, and in most cases - they do not work at all.
How did Clear Search install on my computer?
Browser hijackers are proliferated using the "bundling" marketing method - packing regular program installation setups with unwanted/malicious supplements. Download from dubious sources (e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.) and rushed installations - increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system.
Intrusive adverts are used to spread browser-hijacking software as well. Upon being clicked, some of these ads can execute scripts to make downloads/installations without user consent.
Browser hijackers are also promoted on dubious download webpages and scam sites. Users typically enter such pages via redirects caused by mistyped URLs, websites using rogue advertising networks, spam browser notifications, intrusive advertisements, or installed adware.
How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?
We strongly advise researching software and downloading only from official/trustworthy channels. Furthermore, installation processes must be approached with caution, e.g., by reading terms, studying possible options, using the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opting-out of all additions.
Another recommendation is to be vigilant when browsing - since fraudulent and malicious content usually appears legitimate. For example, intrusive adverts look harmless yet redirect to highly questionable sites (e.g., adult-dating, pornography, gambling, 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 Clear Search, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Appearance of clear-search.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 Clear Search?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Clear Search application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Clear Search browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove clear-search.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove clear-search.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Clear 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, "Clear Search"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the clear-search.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Clear 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 "Clear 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 "Clear Search", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.clear-search.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 "clear-search.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 clear-search.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 "Clear 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 "Clear Search", remove hxxp://clear-search.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 clear-search.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 clear-search.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 clear-search.com website?
These redirects are caused because cyber criminals (i.e., developers of fake search engines and browser hijackers) generate revenue through them.
Is visiting clear-search.com a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes. Websites like clear-search.com usually gather information about their visitors - with the intent of selling it to third-parties.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are primarily distributed through software bundling, deceptive promotional webpages, freeware and third-party download sites, P2P sharing networks (e.g., Torrent clients, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), online scams, fake updates, intrusive ads, and spam browser notifications.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove Clear Search browser hijacker?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan systems and eliminate installed browser-hijacking applications. Note that manual removal (unaided by security software) might not be ideal when multiple browser hijackers are present. In some cases, when one browser hijacker is removed - the others simply re-install it. Furthermore, removal-related settings might be inaccessible with this software installed. Hence, browser hijackers must be eliminated thoroughly and all at once.
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