What is Common Search?
While inspecting questionable download webpages, our research team discovered the Common Search browser extension. Our analysis of this piece of software revealed that it operates as a browser hijacker. Common Search changes browser settings to promote the search.common-search.com fake search engine.
Common Search browser hijacker overview
When we installed Common Search on our test machine, it assigned search.common-search.com as the browser's homepage, new tab/window, and default search engine URLs. Therefore, whenever a new tab/window was opened or a web search was performed via the URL bar - it resulted in a redirect to the search.common-search.com site.
Furthermore, Common Search employs persistence-ensuring techniques, thereby complicating its removal.
Fake search engines usually redirect to legitimate ones since they cannot provide search results. During our analysis, search.common-search.com redirected to the Google search engine. However, it might land elsewhere as redirects can be determined by factors like user geolocation, etc.
What is more, Common Search likely spies on users' browsing activity. Browser-hijacking software typically collects URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, usernames/passwords, personally identifiable details, finance-related data, etc. The gathered information can be monetized via sale to third-parties.
In summary, the presence of software like Common Search on devices 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)||Common Search|
|Detection Names (search.common-search.com)||alphaMountain.ai (Malicious), Avira (Malware), Sophos (Malicious), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (search.common-search.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; Extra Search, Tail Web, and Light Tab are merely a couple examples of our newest finds. Browser-hijacking software typically looks legitimate and offers "useful" features. However, these functionalities rarely work as advertised, and in most cases - they are utterly nonoperational.
How did Common Search install on my computer?
We acquired Common Search from its "official" promotional webpage. In addition to such sites, browser hijackers are pushed through online scams. Users typically access these deceptive pages via redirects caused by websites using rogue advertising networks, mistyped URLs, spam browser notifications, intrusive ads, or installed adware.
Browser-hijacking software can also be bundled with (packed alongside) ordinary programs. Download from untrustworthy sources (e.g., freeware and third-party websites, P2P sharing networks, etc.) and rushed installations (e.g., used "Easy/Express" settings, etc.) increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system.
Intrusive advertisements are used in browser hijacker distribution as well. When clicked on, some of these adverts can execute scripts to make downloads/installations without user permission.
How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?
We highly recommend researching software and downloading only from official and verified channels. Furthermore, installation must be approached with care. Therefore, we advise reading terms, inspecting available options, using the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opting-out of all additions.
Another recommendation is to exercise caution when browsing since fraudulent and malicious content usually looks harmless. For example, intrusive adverts appear legitimate and innocuous - however, they redirect to unreliable and dubious sites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).
In case of encounters with such advertisements/redirects, inspect the system and immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with Common Search, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Permissions asked by Common Search browser hijacker:
Website promoting Common Search browser hijacker:
Appearance of search.common-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 Common Search?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Common Search application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Common Search browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove search.common-search.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove search.common-search.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Common 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, "Common Search"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the search.common-search.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Common 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 "Common Search" 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 "Common Search", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.search.common-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 "search.common-search.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 search.common-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 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 "Common Search", 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 "Common Search", remove hxxp://search.common-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 "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 search.common-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 search.common-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 search.common-search.com website?
Users are forced to visit sites like search.common-search.com since cyber criminals (i.e., developers of fake search engines and browser hijackers) generate profit through these redirects.
Is visiting search.common-search.com a threat to my privacy?
To a certain extent, yes. Most websites like search.common-search.com gather (and sell) information about their visitors.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are mainly proliferated through software bundling, misleading promotional webpages, freeware and free file-hosting sites, third-party download channels, P2P sharing networks (e.g., Torrent clients, Gnutella, etc.), online scams, spam browser notifications, fake updates, and intrusive advertisements.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove Common Search browser hijacker?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan computers and eliminate all the browser-hijacking applications detected. It has to be mentioned that manual removal (unaided by security software) might not be ideal. In some cases, when multiple browser hijackers have infiltrated the system, once one is removed - the others simply re-install it. What is more, browser-hijacking software can deny access to removal-related settings and/or undo user-made changes. Hence, it is crucial to eliminate browser hijackers thoroughly and all at once.