How to remove software causing redirects to the exploretoday.co website
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
What is exploretoday.co?
Exploretoday.co is the URL of a fake search engine. These websites are typically promoted by browser-hijacking software, which modifies browser settings in order to cause redirects to illegitimate search engines. Furthermore, both the promoted sites and browser hijackers usually collect private data.
How do browser hijackers promote exploretoday.co?
Browser hijackers promote sites by assigning them as browsers' homepage, default search engine, and new tab/window URLs. Hence, with a browser-hijacking software promoting exploretoday.co installed: every single new browser tab/window opened or Web search performed via the URL bar - results in redirects to this website.
In most cases, illegitimate search engines are incapable of generating search results, so they redirect to Google, Yahoo, Bing, or other genuine ones. At the time of research, exploretoday.co could provide search results, but they were inaccurate and likely endorsed deceptive/malicious content.
It is noteworthy that browser hijackers typically use persistence-ensuring techniques, such as preventing access to removal-relating settings and/or undoing user-made changes. Hence, recovering a hijacked browser may be impossible without removing the software affecting it.
As mentioned in the introduction, both fake search engines and browser hijackers collect sensitive information. Targeted data may include: visited URLs, viewed pages, searched queries, usernames/passwords, personally identifiable details, credit card numbers, etc. The gathered information can be monetized via sale to third-parties.
In summary, the presence of browser-hijacking software on devices can lead to system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Name||exploretoday.co 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||N/A (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address||18.104.22.168|
|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; search-tap.com, givemeanswers.net, dailyguides.com, and findhealthinfonow.com are merely a few examples of the former, while EmailCheckToday, Shiny Searches, UpSearches - are some of the latter. While both usually appear legitimate and offer various functionalities, they seldom work as promised and - in most cases - are utterly nonoperational.
How did exploretoday.co promoting software install on my computer?
Browser hijackers are promoted on dubious download pages and scam websites. Users typically access such sites via redirects caused by pages using rogue advertising networks, mistyped URLs, spam browser notifications, intrusive ads, or installed adware (with webpage force-opening capabilities).
Additionally, intrusive advertisements proliferate browser-hijacking software. Once clicked on, some of the adverts can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations.
Browser hijackers are also distributed using the bundling marketing method - packing regular programs with unwanted/malicious supplements. Download from dubious channels (e.g., unofficial and freeware websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.) and rushed installations increase the risk of inadvertently permitting bundled content into the device.
How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?
We strongly recommend researching software and downloading only from official/verified channels. When installing, it is essential to read terms, study possible options, use the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings, and opt-out of all additional apps, extensions, tools, etc.
We advise caution when browsing since illegitimate and malicious content typically looks innocuous. For example, intrusive adverts appear ordinary and harmless, but they redirect to highly questionable 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 browser hijackers, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.
Appearance of the exploretoday.co redirect (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 exploretoday.co?
- STEP 1. Uninstall unwanted applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove exploretoday.co browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove exploretoday.co homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove exploretoday.co redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Exploretoday.co 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 exploretoday.co website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
exploretoday.co 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.exploretoday.co) 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 "exploretoday.co", 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 exploretoday.co 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://exploretoday.co 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 exploretoday.co 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 exploretoday.co 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 exploretoday.co website?
Redirects to websites like exploretoday.co are caused because cyber criminals (i.e., developers of fake search engines and browser hijackers) generate revenue through them.
Is visiting exploretoday.co a threat to my privacy?
To a certain extent, yes. Sites like exploretoday.co usually collect (and sell) information relating to their visitors.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are primarily spread via misleading promotional webpages, program bundling, freeware and free file-hosting sites, P2P sharing networks, third-party downloaders, fake updates, online scams, spam browser notifications, and intrusive ads.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove browser hijackers?
Yes, Combo Cleaner will scan your system and eliminate detected browser-hijacking applications. Note that manual removal (unaided by security programs) might not be an ideal solution, particularly in cases when multiple browser hijackers are present. Since when one is removed - the others can simply reinstall it. Furthermore, browser-hijacking software may restrict access to removal-related settings and/or undo user-made changes. Therefore, it is paramount to eliminate browser hijackers thoroughly and all at once.
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