What is the Pick Tail browser extension?
Pick Tail is a rogue browser extension that we discovered while inspecting dubious download webpages. After analyzing this piece of software, we determined that it operates as a browser hijacker. Pick Tail alters browser settings to promote the tailsearch.com fake search engine. Additionally, this extension collects browsing-related data.
Pick Tail browser hijacker overview
When installed onto our test system, Pick Tail modified browser settings to promote its search engine. Hence, every new browser tab/window opened and search query typed into the URL bar - resulted in a redirect to the tailsearch.com website.
Fake search engines are typically incapable of providing search results, so they redirect to legitimate ones. During our analysis, tailsearch.com redirected both to Google and Bing. However, it might redirect elsewhere since that may depend on various factors, e.g., user geolocation, etc.
Furthermore, most browser hijackers employ persistence-ensuring techniques to prevent browser recovery. What is more, Pick Tail has data tracking functionalities.
Targeted information may include: visited URLs, viewed pages, searched queries, usernames/passwords, personally identifiable details, credit card numbers, etc. The gathered data can then be monetized through sale to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals).
In summary, the presence of browser-hijacking software like Pick Tail 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|
|Browser Extension(s)||Pick Tail|
|Detection Names (tailsearch.com)||Heimdal Security (Malicious), Forcepoint ThreatSeeker (Suspicious), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (tailsearch.com)||18.104.22.168|
|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 thousands of browser hijackers; Light Tab, YoSearch Weather Tab, and SwiftSearch are merely a few examples of our latest finds. Browser-hijacking software usually looks legitimate and offers "useful" functionalities. However, these functions rarely work as promised, and in most cases - they do not work at all.
How did Pick Tail install on my computer?
We acquired Pick Tail from a questionable download webpage. In addition to such pages, browser hijackers are pushed via scam websites. Users typically enter these sites through redirects caused by mistyped URLs, pages using rogue advertising networks, spam browser notifications, intrusive advertisements, or installed adware.
Browser-hijacking software can also be bundled (packed together) with regular programs. Download from dubious channels (e.g., freeware and third-party sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.) and rushed installations increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system.
Intrusive adverts proliferate browser hijackers as well. Some of these ads can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations upon being clicked.
How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?
We strongly advise researching software and downloading it from official and verified sources. Furthermore, installation must be approached with caution, e.g., by reading terms, studying possible options, using the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opting-out of all supplements.
We also recommend being vigilant when browsing, as illegitimate and malicious material typically looks harmless. For example, intrusive advertisements appear ordinary and innocuous - however, they redirect to unreliable and dubious websites (e.g., gambling, adult-dating, pornography, etc.).
If you experience such adverts and/or redirects, check the system and immediately remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with Pick Tail, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Screenshots of the websites used to promote Pick Tail browser hijacker:
Appearance of tailsearch.com redirecting to the Bing 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 Pick Tail?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Pick Tail application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Pick Tail browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove tailsearch.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove tailsearch.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Pick Tail 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, "Pick Tail"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the tailsearch.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Pick Tail 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 "Pick Tail" and other recently-installed suspicious extensions, select these entries and click "Remove"
Change your homepage:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, disable "Pick Tail", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.tailsearch.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 "tailsearch.com", when located click the three vertical dots near this URL and select "Delete".
- If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Google Chrome.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the tailsearch.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 extensions from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons and themes". Click "Extensions", in the opened window locate "Pick Tail", as well as all recently-installed suspicious extensions, click on the three dots and then click "Remove".
Change your homepage:
To reset your homepage, click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), then select "Settings", in the opened window disable "Pick Tail", remove hxxp://tailsearch.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 "Accept the Risk and Continue".
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 tailsearch.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 tailsearch.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 tailsearch.com website?
Users are forced to visit tailsearch.com and similar sites since - through these redirects - the cyber criminals (i.e., developers of fraudulent search engines and browser hijackers) generate revenue.
Is visiting tailsearch.com a threat to my privacy?
To a certain extent, yes. Websites like tailsearch.com usually gather information about their visitors.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are primarily spread through misleading promotional webpages, software bundling, online scams, untrustworthy download channels (e.g., unofficial and freeware websites, P2P sharing networks, etc.), fake updates, spam browser notifications, and intrusive ads.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove Pick Tail browser hijacker?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan computers and eliminate detected browser-hijacking applications. It has to be mentioned that manual removal (unaided by security software) might be ineffective. In cases when multiple browser hijackers have infiltrated the system, after one is removed - the others might simply re-install it. Additionally, browser-hijacking software may restrict access to removal-related settings and/or undo user-made changes. Hence, it is paramount to eliminate browser hijackers thoroughly and all at once.