How to remove software causing redirects to the browsing-shield.xyz website
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
What is browsing-shield.xyz?
While inspecting browser-hijacking software, our research team discovered the browsing-shield.xyz fake search engine. These websites cannot generate search results, so they redirect to legitimate search engines.
Sites like browsing-shield.xyz are typically promoted (through redirects) by browser hijackers. Additionally, these websites and the software endorsing them usually have the ability to collect sensitive information.
How do browser hijackers promote browsing-shield.xyz?
Browser hijackers promote fake search engines by assigning their addresses as browsers' homepages, default search engines, and new tab/window URLs. Hence, with one pushing browsing-shield.xyz installed: Web searches performed via the URL bar and new browser tabs/windows opened – would result in redirects to this website.
It is noteworthy that browser-hijacking software may be capable of restricting access to removal-related settings and/or undoing user-made changes – thus complicating its removal process.
In most cases, illegitimate search engines cannot provide search results and tend to redirect to genuine ones. At the time of research, browsing-shield.xyz caused redirects to the Bing search engine (bing.com). However, the redirect might land elsewhere, as they can depend on various factors like user geolocation or others.
Furthermore, fake search engines and browser hijackers usually collect user data. Targeted information may include: searched queries, visited URLs, viewed pages, IP addresses (geolocations), Internet cookies, personally identifiable details, usernames/passwords, finance-related data, etc. The collected information can then be shared with and/or sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals).
To summarize, the presence of browser-hijacking software on devices can lead to system infections, serious privacy threats, financial losses, and identity theft.
|Name||browsing-shield.xyz 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||Seclookup (Malicious), Forcepoint ThreatSeeker (Suspicious), Full List Of Detections (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).|
|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 thousands of browser hijackers and illegitimate search engines; Clipbox Tab, Bizzy Beaver, Qwik Search, GPT Search Navigator – are merely some examples of the former, and crazyresultsnow.com, mysearchexperts.com, firstinearch.com, searchstartnow.com – of the latter.
This software and the sites they promote usually appear harmless and offer various advantages. However, they seldom work as promised, and in most cases – the advertised functionalities are utterly nonoperational. It must be mentioned that even if a website or a piece of software works as indicated by the promotional material – that is not a guarantee of either legitimacy or safety.
How did browsing-shield.xyz promoting software install on my computer?
Browser hijackers can have "official" promotional pages, and they are endorsed on scam sites. Most users access webpages of this kind via redirects caused by mistyped URLs, sites using rogue advertising networks, intrusive ads, spam browser notifications, or installed adware.
"Bundling" – packing regular programs with unwanted/malicious additions – is used to distribute browser hijackers as well. Downloading from untrustworthy channels (e.g., freeware and third-party websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.) and rushing through installation processes (e.g., skipping steps, using "Quick/Easy" settings, etc.) – increase the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content into the system.
Intrusive adverts are also used to distribute this software. Once clicked on, some of the advertisements can execute scripts to perform downloads/installations without user consent.
How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?
We strongly recommend researching software and downloading only from official/verified channels. Installation must be treated with caution, e.g., by reading terms, studying possible options, using the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings, and opting out of additional apps, extensions, etc.
We advise being cautious when browsing since fraudulent and malicious content usually appears ordinary and harmless. For example, intrusive ads may look legitimate yet redirect to highly questionable sites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult dating, etc.).
In case of encounters with such advertisements and/or redirects, check the system and immediately remove all dubious 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 browsing-shield.xyz 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 browsing-shield.xyz?
- STEP 1. Uninstall unwanted applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove browsing-shield.xyz browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove browsing-shield.xyz homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove browsing-shield.xyz redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Browsing-shield.xyz 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, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Browsing-shield.xyz 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.browsing-shield.xyz) 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 "browsing-shield.xyz", 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 browsing-shield.xyz 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://browsing-shield.xyz 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 browsing-shield.xyz 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 browsing-shield.xyz 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 browsing-shield.xyz website?
Cyber criminals (e.g., developers of fake search engines and browser hijackers, etc.) generate revenue through redirects to websites like browsing-shield.xyz.
Is visiting browsing-shield.xyz a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes. Websites like browsing-shield.xyz typically collect (and sell) visitor data.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are primarily distributed through bundled installers, dubious download channels (e.g., freeware and free file-hosting sites, P2P sharing networks, etc.), online scams, spam browser notifications, and intrusive ads.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove browser hijackers?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan computers and eliminate detected browser-hijacking applications. It must be mentioned that manual removal (unaided by security programs) might not be ideal. In cases where multiple browser hijackers have infiltrated the system, after one is removed – the others may simply reinstall it. What is more, browser-hijacking software might render removal-related settings inaccessible. Therefore, it is crucial to eliminate browser hijackers thoroughly.
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