Removing browser-hijacking software that causes redirects to searchmetoday.com
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
What is searchmetoday.com?
While investigating rogue software, our researchers discovered the searchmetoday.com fake search engine. Websites of this kind usually cannot provide search results, but searchmetoday.com is an exception. However, the results it generates are irrelevant and can include unreliable/deceptive content.
These search engines are typically promoted by browser hijackers. Additionally, sites like searchmetoday.com and the software endorsing them tend to collect private data.
How do browser hijackers promote searchmetoday.com?
Browser hijackers modify browser settings to promote search engines. This software assigns the addresses of the websites they endorse as browsers' homepages, default search engines, and new tab/window URLs. Hence, with one promoting searchmetoday.com installed: new browser tabs/windows opened and search queries typed into the URL bar – would result in redirects to this site.
Furthermore, browser-hijacking software often employs persistence-ensuring techniques to prevent access to removal-related settings and/or undo user-made changes.
In most cases, illegitimate search engines are incapable of providing search results, so they redirect to genuine ones (e.g., Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.). Searchmetoday.com is an exception – however, the results it generates are inaccurate and can include sponsored, untrustworthy, and potentially harmful content.
It is noteworthy that searchmetoday.com might land elsewhere, as redirects might depend on various factors (e.g., user geolocation, etc.).
What is more, browser hijackers and fake search engines usually collect sensitive information. Data of interest may include: searched queries, viewed pages, visited URLs, IP addresses (geolocations), Internet cookies, usernames/passwords, personally identifiable details, finance-related information, and so on. The collected data can be sold to third-parties or otherwise abused for profit.
In summary, the presence of browser-hijacking software on devices may result in system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Name||searchmetoday.com 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||22.214.171.124|
|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
Browsing-guard.xyz, cleanmode.xyz, browsing-shield.xyz – are just a couple examples of fake search engines we have inspected recently, and Clipbox Tab, Qwik Search, My Cloud Tab – of browser hijackers.
These sites and the software endorsing them usually appear legitimate. They tend to lure users with promises of various features, which are rarely operational. It must be stressed that even if a piece of software or a website works as promised – that is not proof of its legitimacy or safety.
How did searchmetoday.com promoting software install on my computer?
Browser hijackers can be bundled (packed together) with regular programs. Downloading from untrustworthy sources (e.g., freeware and free file-hosting websites, P2P sharing networks, etc.) and rushing through installation processes (e.g., skipping steps, using "Easy/Express" settings, etc.) – increase the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content into the device.
Additionally, this software may have "official" download pages, and it is promoted on scam websites. Users typically access such webpages via redirects caused by sites using rogue advertising networks, mistyped URLs, spam browser notifications, intrusive ads, or installed adware.
Browser hijackers are also proliferated using intrusive advertisements. When clicked on, some of these adverts 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 processes must be approached with care, e.g., by reading terms, studying available options, using the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings, and opting out of all supplementary apps, extensions, features, etc.
We advise being cautious when browsing since fraudulent and malicious content usually looks legitimate and harmless. For example, intrusive advertisements may appear innocuous yet redirect to highly questionable websites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult dating, etc.).
In case of encounters with such ads and/or redirects, check the device 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 a searchmetoday.com 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 searchmetoday.com?
- STEP 1. Uninstall unwanted applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove searchmetoday.com browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove searchmetoday.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove searchmetoday.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Searchmetoday.com 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.
Searchmetoday.com 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.searchmetoday.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 "searchmetoday.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 searchmetoday.com 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://searchmetoday.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 searchmetoday.com 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 searchmetoday.com 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.
Post a comment:
If you have additional information on searchmetoday.com browser hijacker or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the purpose of forcing users to visit searchmetoday.com website?
Redirects to sites like searchmetoday.com are caused because cyber criminals (i.e., developers of fake search engines and browser hijackers) generate revenue through them.
Is visiting searchmetoday.com a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes. Websites like searchmetoday.com usually gather (and sell) visitor information.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
The most commonly used distribution methods include: bundled installation setups, online scams, deceptive promotional webpages, dubious download channels (e.g., freeware and free file-hosting sites, P2P sharing networks, etc.), spam browser notifications, and intrusive advertisements.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove browser hijackers?
Yes, Combo Cleaner will scan your computer and eliminate installed browser-hijacking apps. Keep in mind that manual removal (unaided by security programs) might not be a perfect solution, especially in cases where multiple browser hijackers are present. In these instances, after one is removed – the others may simply reinstall it. What is more, removal-related settings might be unmodifiable with browser-hijacking software installed. Therefore, browser hijackers must be eliminated thoroughly and all at once.
▼ Show Discussion