Removing Qwik Search browser hijacker and the redirects it causes
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
What is Qwik Search?
Our researchers discovered the Qwik Search browser extension while inspecting rogue websites. This software promises to improve the Web searching experience by allowing easy access to popular search engines. However, our analysis of Qwik Search revealed that it is a browser hijacker. This extension makes changes to browser settings in order to promote the search.qwik-search.com fake search engine.
Qwik Search browser hijacker overview
Once installed on our test system, Qwik Search assigned search.qwik-search.com as the browser's homepage, default search engine, and new tab/window URL. Hence, whenever we opened a new browser tab/window or entered a search query into the URL bar – it resulted in a redirect to the search.qwik-search.com website.
It is pertinent to mention that search.qwik-search.com has two appearance variants. Like most fake search engines, search.qwik-search.com is incapable of generating search results, so it redirects to Bing (bing.com). Note that where such a website lands may vary, as redirects can depend on factors like user geolocation and others.
Furthermore, browser-hijacking software often employs persistence-ensuring techniques to prevent users from recovering their browsers, and Qwik Search is not an exception to this.
What is more, this rogue browser extension likely spies on users' browsing activity. Browser hijackers usually collect the following data: URLs visited, webpages viewed, search queries typed, usernames/passwords, personally identifiable details, finance-related information, and so forth. The collected data can be shared with or sold to third-parties.
In summary, the presence of software like Qwik Search on devices may lead to system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Browser Extension(s)||Qwik Search|
|Supposed Functionality||Easy access to popular search engines|
|Detection Names (search.qwik-search.com)||N/A (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (search.qwik-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).|
|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; Never Forget Tab, My Cloud Tab, GPT Search Navigator, and Qwik Bee are merely some examples of our newest finds.
This software typically appears legitimate and useful. It promises various functionalities, which are usually nonoperational. It must be stressed that even if a piece of software works as indicated by its promotional material – that is not proof of either legitimacy or safety.
How did Qwik Search install on my computer?
We acquired Qwik Search from its "official" promotional webpage. In addition to such pages, browser hijackers are endorsed on scam sites. Users typically access these deceptive webpages via redirects caused by misspelled URLs, spam browser notifications, websites using rogue advertising networks, intrusive ads, or installed adware.
Browser-hijacking software can also be bundled with regular programs. Downloading from untrustworthy sources (e.g., freeware and third-party sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.) and rushing through installation processes (e.g., using "Easy/Quick" settings, etc.) – increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system.
Intrusive adverts are used to distribute browser hijackers as well. When clicked on, some of these advertisements can execute scripts to perform stealthy downloads/installations.
How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?
We strongly recommend researching software before download/installation or purchase. Furthermore, all downloads must be performed from official and verified channels. When installing, it is essential to read terms, explore possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opt-out of all supplementary apps, extensions, etc.
We advise exercising caution when browsing since fake and malicious content usually appears legitimate. For example, intrusive ads may look harmless yet redirect to highly questionable websites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult dating, etc.).
In case of encounters with such advertisements/redirects, inspect the system and immediately remove all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with Qwik Search, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Permissions asked by Qwik Search browser hijacker:
Website promoting Qwik Search browser hijacker:
Alternative appearance of search.qwik-search.com:
Appearance of search.qwik-search.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 Qwik Search?
- STEP 1. Uninstall unwanted applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Qwik Search browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove search.qwik-search.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove search.qwik-search.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Qwik 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, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Qwik 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 "Qwik 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 "Qwik Search", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.search.qwik-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.qwik-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.qwik-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 "Qwik 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 "Qwik Search", remove hxxp://search.qwik-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.qwik-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.qwik-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.qwik-search.com website?
Cyber criminals (e.g., developers of browser hijackers and fake search engines, etc.) generate revenue through redirects to websites like search.qwik-search.com.
Is visiting search.qwik-search.com a threat to my privacy?
To a certain extent, yes. Sites like search.qwik-search.com typically collect (and sell) information about their visitors.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are primarily proliferated via bundled installers, deceptive promotional webpages, freeware and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, online scams, spam browser notifications, and intrusive advertisements.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove Qwik Search browser hijacker?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan computers and eliminate installed browser-hijacking applications. It must be mentioned that manual removal (unaided by security programs) might not be an ideal solution, especially in cases where multiple browser hijackers are present. Since after one is removed – the others may simply reinstall it. Browser-hijacking software may also deny access to removal-related settings and/or undo user-made changes. Therefore, browser hijackers must be removed thoroughly and all at once.
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