How to remove the Flash-Search browser hijacker
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
What kind of application is Flash-Search?
After examining the Flash-Search browser extension, our team has determined that it operates as a browser hijacker. The primary aim of this program is to promote flash-search.xyz, a fake search engine. To accomplish this, Flash-Search alters the settings of the user's browser.
Flash-Search browser hijacker overview
Once added, the Flash-Search extension modifies several browser settings, including the homepage and search engine, to redirect users to flash-search.xyz, a fake search engine that displays search results from Bing (bing.com). Also, flash-search.xyz can redirect users to nearbyme.io and possibly other addresses.
It should be noted that fake and unreliable search engines must not be trusted. Such engines may showcase malicious or fraudulent content and gather users' search queries and personal data. The information obtained by fake search engines can be misused in various ways that put users' security and privacy at risk.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that users avoid using such search engines and instead opt for established and trustworthy ones. In addition, it's worth noting that browser hijackers can prevent users from modifying the default homepage or search engine settings.
These hijackers can make it challenging or even impossible for users to revert to a legitimate search engine and instead compel them to use the fake one.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Supposed Functionality||Accurate search results|
|Detection Names (flash-search.xyz)||Forcepoint ThreatSeeker (Suspicious), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|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), fake Flash Player installers.|
|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 hijackers in general
Browser hijackers are created with the aim of promoting unreliable or fake search engines, often by altering the settings of the web browser. While some of these programs do modify the browser settings, others do not. Deceptive tactics are frequently used to trick users into installing or adding these hijackers.
Examples of different browser-hijacking apps are Nature Wallpapers, Volt, and SAI assistant.
How did Flash-Search install on my computer?
We discovered Flash-Search on a shady web page suggesting that a free extension might be required. A browser becomes hijacked (its settings get changed) after downloading and adding Flash-Search on a web browser.
Also, users may add or install browser hijackers by downloading and installing software from untrustworthy or unknown sources, clicking on suspicious ads or links that run certain scripts, or accepting additional offers during software installation without carefully reading the provided settings.
How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?
It is recommended to download applications solely from official web pages and trusted app stores. It is also advisable to read reviews before downloading any app to verify its reliability. Avoid downloading software from P2P networks, third-party downloaders, shady websites, and other similar sources.
Do not click on ads that appear on suspicious websites or allow such pages to display notifications. When installing software, be cautious and uncheck any unwanted applications or optional installations before proceeding with the installation process.
If your computer is already infected with Flash-Search, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Flash-Search.xyz redirects to bing.com (GIF):
Permissions asked by Flash-Search browser hijacker:
Shady page promoting Flash-Search browser hijacker:
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 Flash-Search?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Flash-Search application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Flash-Search browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove flash-search.xyz homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove flash-search.xyz redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Flash-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 (which cause browser redirects to the flash-search.xyz website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Flash-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 "Flash-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 "Flash-Search", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.flash-search.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 "flash-search.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 flash-search.xyz 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 "Flash-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 "Flash-Search", remove hxxp://flash-search.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 flash-search.xyz 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 flash-search.xyz 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 visit flash-search.xyz website?
The revenue generated by the creators of flash-search.xyz increases as the number of visitors to the site grows.
Is visiting flash-search.xyz a threat to my privacy?
Visiting flash-search.xyz poses a risk to your privacy, as it is a deceitful search engine that may gather your personal information, search history, browsing activity, and other sensitive data without your knowledge or consent.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are distributed in various ways, for instance, through different methods, including software bundling, deceptive software updates, untrustworthy websites, free software downloads, links from unfamiliar sources, and more.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove Flash-Search browser hijacker?
Combo Cleaner can remove applications that have hijacked your browser. It is worth noting that manual removal may not always be effective, particularly when dealing with multiple hijackers that can reinstall each other, which can make their removal challenging.
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