What kind of software is Cosmic?
Our researchers discovered the Cosmic browser extension while inspecting untrustworthy websites. After investigating this extension, we determined that it is a browser hijacker. Cosmic makes alterations to browser settings in order to promote the search.cosmic-tab.com fake search engine.
Cosmic browser hijacker overview
Browser hijackers reassign browsers' default search engines, homepages, and new tab/window URLs to the address of promoted websites. The Cosmic extension operates in this manner as well.
Hence, with this browser hijacker installed on our test machine: new browser tabs/windows opened and Web searches performed via the URL bar – resulted in redirects to the search.cosmic-tab.com site.
It is pertinent to mention that like most browser hijackers, Cosmic employs persistence-ensuring techniques to complicate its removal.
Fake search engines are rarely able to generate search results, so they tend to redirect to legitimate ones. This is true of search.cosmic-tab.com as well. At the time of research, it redirected to the Bing search engine (bing.com). Note that it might land elsewhere as redirects may depend on factors like user geolocation.
Furthermore, Cosmic may have data-tracking functionalities. Information of interest could include: browsing and search engine histories, Internet cookies, usernames/passwords, personally identifiable details, finance-related data, and so forth. The collected data can be sold to third-parties or otherwise abused for profit.
In summary, the presence of browser-hijacking software like Cosmic on devices can lead to system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Detection Names (search.cosmic-tab.com)||N/A (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (search.cosmic-tab.com)||184.108.40.206|
|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
This software typically appears legitimate and offers various features. However, these functions seldom work as promised, and in most cases – they do not work at all. It must be emphasized that even if a piece of software operates as advertised – that is not a guarantee of its legitimacy or safety.
How did Cosmic install on my computer?
We acquired Cosmic from its "official" promotional webpage. In addition to such sites, browser hijackers are endorsed on scam pages. Users primarily access such webpages via redirects caused by mistyped URLs, spam browser notifications, websites using rogue advertising networks, intrusive ads, or installed adware.
Additionally, browser-hijacking software can be bundled (packed together) with regular programs. Downloading from untrustworthy sources (e.g., freeware and third-party sites, P2P sharing networks, etc.) and rushing through installation processes (e.g., using "Quick/Easy" settings, etc.) – increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the device.
Intrusive adverts proliferate browser hijackers as well. When 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 downloading only from official and verified channels. Installation processes must be treated with care, e.g., by reading terms, studying possible options, using the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings, and opting out of all supplementary apps, extensions, tools, etc.
We advise caution when browsing since fraudulent and malicious content usually appears legitimate and innocuous. For example, intrusive adverts may look harmless yet redirect to highly questionable sites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult dating, etc.).
In case of encounters with such ads/redirects, check the device and immediately remove all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with Cosmic, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Permissions asked by Cosmic browser hijacker:
Website promoting Cosmic browser hijacker:
Appearance of search.cosmic-tab.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 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 Cosmic?
- STEP 1. Uninstall unwanted applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Cosmic browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove search.cosmic-tab.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove search.cosmic-tab.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Cosmic 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.
Cosmic 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 "Cosmic" 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 "Cosmic", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.search.cosmic-tab.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.cosmic-tab.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.cosmic-tab.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 "Cosmic", 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 "Cosmic", remove hxxp://search.cosmic-tab.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.cosmic-tab.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.cosmic-tab.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.
Post a comment:
If you have additional information on search.cosmic-tab.com redirect 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 search.cosmic-tab.com website?
Redirects to sites like search.cosmic-tab.com are caused because cyber criminals (e.g., developers of browser hijackers and fake search engines, etc.) generate revenue through them.
Is visiting search.cosmic-tab.com a threat to my privacy?
To a certain extent, yes. Websites like search.cosmic-tab.com typically collect (and sell) private data.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are primarily spread through bundled installation setups, deceptive promotional webpages, freeware and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, online scams, spam browser notifications, and intrusive ads.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove Cosmic browser hijacker?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan devices and eliminate all the browser-hijacking applications present. 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, browser-hijacking software might restrict access to removal-related settings and/or undo user-made changes. Therefore, it is crucial to eliminate browser hijackers thoroughly and all at once.