How to remove Cats fanpage from a web browser
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What kind of application is Cats fanpage?
After testing the Cats fanpage browser extension, we found that it is a browser hijacker designed to promote search.cats-fan.com - a fake search engine. Cats fanpage hijacks a web browser by changing some of its settings. Usually, browser hijackers are promoted in deceptive ways.
Cats fanpage browser hijacker overview
Cats fanpage sets the default search engine, homepage, and new tab page to search.cats-fan.com. While inspecting search.cats-fan.com, our team found that this fake search engine shows results generated by Bing - it redirects to bing.com.
Bing.com is a legitimate search engine. However, it does not mean that fake search engines like search.cats-fan.com are completely trustworthy. Especially when they are promoted via browser hijackers. Fake search engines can redirect to shady pages and show results generated by untrustworthy search engines.
In addition to promoting a fake search engine, Cats fanpag may be gathering browsing-related information. Collected data may be misused for marketing purposes, sold to third parties, or monetized in other ways.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Browser Extension(s)||Cats fanpage|
|Supposed Functionality||Customized homepage|
|Detection Names||N/A (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (search.cats-fan.com)||188.8.131.52|
|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 hijackers in general
The purpose of browser hijackers is to promote fake or shady search engines. It is worth mentioning that not all browser-hijacking apps change the settings of browsers to promote search engines. Most browser hijackers that change settings do not allow users to modify them while they are added to browsers.
Examples of browser hijackers are Clean Notifications, Surf Start, and Whiteboard New Tab.
How did Cats fanpage install on my computer?
It is common for browser hijackers to be promoted via deceptive pages where users can download them. Also, browser-hijacking apps are often bundled with other programs - they are included in installers as additional offers. Browsers get hijacked when users finish software installations without deselecting browser hijackers (without changing "Advanced", "Custom", or other settings).
Sometimes, unwanted downloads and installations are caused by clicking untrustworthy advertisements.
How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?
Do not download apps from third-party stores, unofficial pages, P2P networks, and other sources of this kind. Download them from official pages and stores only. Also, read reviews before downloading apps.
Deselect unwanted apps (change the settings provided in installers) before installing software. Do not trust advertisements on shady web pages or allow websites of this kind to show notifications. If your computer is already infected with Cats fanpage, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Search.cats-fan.com redirects to bing.com (GIF):
Permissions asked by Cats fanpage browser hijacker:
Websites promoting Cats fanpage browser hijacker:
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 Cats fanpage?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Cats fanpage application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Cats fanpage browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove search.cats-fan.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove search.cats-fan.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Cats fanpage 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, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the search.cats-fan.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Cats fanpage 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 "Cats fanpage" 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 "Cats fanpage", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.search.cats-fan.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.cats-fan.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.cats-fan.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 "Cats fanpage", 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 "Cats fanpage", remove hxxp://search.cats-fan.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.cats-fan.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.cats-fan.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 visit search.cats-fan.com website?
The creators of search.cats-fan.com aim to increase website traffic because it determines how profitable their fake search engine is.
Is visiting search.cats-fan.com a threat to my privacy?
Fake search engines can be designed to track users. In such cases, using them may cause issues related to online privacy.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Users download and add browser hijackers via deceptive pages, software bundles, notifications from shady pages, untrustworthy advertisements, etc.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove Cats fanpage browser hijacker?
Yes, Combo Cleaner will remove a browser hijacker. If more than one browser hijacker is present, it may be necessary to remove them at once to prevent them from reinstalling one another. Combo Cleaner removes all detected browser hijackers at once.
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