What is searchfme.com?
Searchfme.com is a fake search engine. While most sites of this kind cannot provide search results, this website can – although they are inaccurate and include unreliable/deceptive content.
Typically, websites like searchfme.com are promoted by browser hijackers. Furthermore, these pages and the software endorsing them usually spy on users' browsing activity.
How do browser hijackers promote searchfme.com?
Browser hijackers operate by assigning promoted websites as browsers' default search engines, homepages, and new tabs/windows. Therefore, with one pushing searchfme.com installed: Web searches performed via the URL bar and new browser tabs/windows opened – would result in redirects to this site.
It is noteworthy that browser-hijacking software tends to use persistence-ensuring techniques to stop users from recovering their browsers.
Fake search engines usually cannot generate search results, so they redirect to Bing, Google, Yahoo, and other legitimate ones. Searchfme.com is an exception, but its results include irrelevant, sponsored, untrustworthy, deceptive, and potentially malicious content.
Browser hijackers and illegitimate search engines typically collect sensitive user data. Targeted information may include: visited URLs, viewed pages, searched queries, usernames/passwords, personally identifiable details, finance-related data, and so forth. The gathered information can be sold to third-parties or otherwise abused for profit.
In summary, the presence of browser-hijacking software on devices may lead to system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.
|Name||searchfme.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||220.127.116.11|
|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 illegitimate search engine and browser hijackers; nowsearchit.com, searchingright.com, thesearchonline.com – are merely a few examples of the former, and Bottle, Cosmos Extension, Movie Searcher – for the latter.
Browser-hijacking software and its search engines usually appear genuine and harmless. However, they seldom work as indicated by any promotional material. Note that even if a piece of software or a website operates as advertised – that is not a guarantee of either legitimacy or safety.
How did searchfme.com promoting software install on my computer?
Browser hijackers can have "official" download webpages, and they are promoted on scam sites. Users primarily access such websites via redirects caused by pages that use rogue advertising networks, mistyped URLs, spam browser notifications, intrusive ads, or installed adware.
Additionally, browser-hijacking software can be bundled with ordinary programs. Downloading from dubious channels (e.g., freeware and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.) and rushing through installation processes (e.g., using "Quick/Easy" settings, etc.) – increase the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content into the system.
Intrusive adverts proliferate 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 prior to downloading/installing or purchasing it. All downloads must be performed from official and trustworthy sources. It is just as important to approach installation with caution, e.g., reading terms, studying possible options, using the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings, and opting out of all supplementary apps, extensions, tools, etc.
Another recommendation is to be vigilant when browsing since fake and malicious online content usually appears harmless. For example, while intrusive ads may look legitimate, they redirect to highly questionable sites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).
In case of encounters with adverts and/or redirects of this kind, 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 a searchfme.com redirect (GIF):
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT 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 searchfme.com?
- STEP 1. Uninstall unwanted applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove searchfme.com browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove searchfme.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove searchfme.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Searchfme.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.
Searchfme.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.searchfme.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 "searchfme.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 searchfme.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://searchfme.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 searchfme.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 searchfme.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.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the purpose of forcing users to visit searchfme.com website?
Redirects to websites like searchfme.com are caused because cyber criminals (i.e., developers of browser hijackers and fake search engines) generate revenue through them.
Is visiting searchfme.com a threat to my privacy?
To a certain extent, yes. Sites like searchfme.com typically collect information about their visitors; the data is often sold to third-parties.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are mainly proliferated via bundled installers, deceptive promotional webpages, freeware and free file-hosting websites, P2P sharing networks, online scams, spam browser notifications, and intrusive ads.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove browser hijackers?
Yes, Combo Cleaner will scan your computer and eliminate installed browser-hijacking apps. Note that manual removal (unaided by security software) might not be a perfect solution. In cases where multiple browser hijackers have infiltrated the system, after one is removed – the others may simply reinstall it. What is more, removal-related settings might be inaccessible with this software installed. Hence, browser hijackers must be eliminated thoroughly and all at once.