What is activesearchbar.me?
While inspecting browser hijackers, our research team discovered the activesearchbar.me fake search engine. Typically, illegitimate searching tools like activesearchbar.me are promoted by browser-hijacking software, which modifies browser settings to cause redirects to these websites.
Additionally, fake search engines usually collect (and sell) information about their visitors, which makes them a threat to user privacy.
How do browser hijackers promote activesearchbar.me?
Browser hijackers assign the addresses of their search engines (e.g., activesearchbar.me) as the browser's default, as well as their new tab/window and homepage URLs. Therefore, when users attempt to search the Web by using the URL bar or when they open a new browser tab/window - it results in a redirect to the promoted website.
In most cases, fraudulent search engines are incapable of generating search results, so they redirect to genuine ones like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. However, activesearchbar.me can provide search results, although they are inaccurate and may endorse unreliable, deceptive, and even malicious content (e.g., ads, websites, software, etc.).
Furthermore, browser-hijacking software tends to employ persistence-ensuring techniques to prevent users from recovering their browsers. It can restrict access to removal-related settings and/or undo user-made changes.
Fake search engines are not the only ones used for data-harvesting, browser hijackers can also have data-tracking functionalities. This software usually collects visited URLs, viewed webpages, searched queries, usernames/passwords, personally identifiable details, credit card numbers, etc. The gathered information is then monetized through sale to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals).
To summarize, the presence of browser hijackers on devices may lead to system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Name||activesearchbar.me browser hijacker|
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Affected Browser Settings||Homepage, new tab URL, default search engine|
|Detection Names (activesearchbar.me)||Heimdal Security (Malicious), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|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.
Fake search engine and browser hijacker examples
We have analyzed countless fake search engines and browser hijackers; star-search.xyz, searchtoolshub.com, searcheq.com, tobepartou.com - are some examples of the former, and Simple Search, Togo Tab, Top Search - of the latter.
Both browser-hijacking software and the websites they promote usually appear legitimate and offer "handy" features. However, these functionalities seldom work as advertised, and in most cases - they are utterly nonoperational.
How did activesearchbar.me promoting software install on my computer?
Browser hijackers are promoted on questionable download webpages and scam sites. Users typically access these websites via redirects caused by pages that use rogue advertising networks, spam browser notifications, mistyped URLs, intrusive adverts, and installed adware.
Browser-hijacking software is distributed by intrusive advertisements as well. Once clicked on, some of these ads can execute scripts to make downloads/installations without user consent.
Bundling - packing regular installers with unwanted/malicious additions - is also used to proliferate browser hijackers. 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.
How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?
We strongly recommend researching software and downloading only from official and verified sources. Additionally, when installing, it is crucial to read terms, study available options, use the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings, and opt-out of all supplements.
We advise exercising caution when browsing since illegitimate and malicious content typically appears innocuous. For example, intrusive adverts appear legitimate and harmless, yet they redirect to highly questionable websites (e.g., gambling, adult-dating, pornography, etc.).
If your experience ads or redirects of this type, check the system and immediately remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with browser hijackers, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.
Appearance of the activesearchbar.me 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 activesearchbar.me?
- STEP 1. Uninstall unwanted applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove activesearchbar.me browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove activesearchbar.me homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove activesearchbar.me redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Activesearchbar.me redirect 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, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the activesearchbar.me website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Activesearchbar.me redirect 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 all 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 the malicious extension (if present), look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.activesearchbar.me) 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 "activesearchbar.me", 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 activesearchbar.me browser hijacker, 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 and themes". Click "Extensions", in the opened window locate 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 malicious extension (if present), remove hxxp://activesearchbar.me 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 activesearchbar.me browser hijacker 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 activesearchbar.me browser hijacker, 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 activesearchbar.me website?
Redirects to websites like activesearchbar.me are caused because through them - cyber criminals (i.e., developers of fake search engines and browser hijackers) generate revenue.
Is visiting activesearchbar.me a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes. Activesearchbar.me and similar sites 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 mainly distributed via software bundling, misleading promotional webpages, unofficial and freeware download websites, P2P sharing networks (e.g., Torrent clients, Gnutella, eMule, etc.), online scams, fake updates, spam browser notifications, and intrusive advertisements.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove browser hijackers?
Yes, Combo Cleaner will scan your system and eliminate installed browser-hijacking applications. Note that manual removal (unaided by security software) might be ineffective when multiple browser hijackers are present. In some instances, even after when one browser hijacker is removed - the others simply re-install it. Furthermore, removal-related settings might be unmodifiable with this software present on the browser/system. Therefore, it is paramount to eliminate browser hijackers thoroughly and all at once.