How to remove the Shapes Tab browser hijacker
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
What kind of software is Shapes Tab?
Shapes Tab is a rogue browser extension that we discovered while inspecting suspect webpages. It is presented as a tool that displays browser wallpapers. After analyzing this extension, we determined that it is browser-hijacking software. Shapes Tab makes alterations to browser settings in order to promote the find.cf-csrc.com illegitimate search engine.
Shapes Tab browser hijacker overview
When we installed Shapes Tab on our test machine, it assigned find.cf-csrc.com as the browser's default search engine, homepage, and new tab/window URL. Therefore, whenever we opened a new browser tab/window or performed a Web search via the URL bar – it resulted in redirects to the find.cf-csrc.com website.
Fake search engines are typically incapable of generating search results, so they redirect to legitimate Internet search sites. Find.cf-csrc.com redirected to the Bing search engine (bing.com) at the time of research. It is noteworthy that find.cf-csrc.com might land elsewhere since factors such as user geolocation can impact redirects.
Furthermore, browser hijackers tend to employ persistence-ensuring techniques to prevent users from recovering their browsers.
What is more, Shapes Tab has data-tracking abilities. Information of interest can include: visited URLs, viewed pages, searched queries, frequently visited website lists, IP addresses (geolocations), Internet cookies, log-in credentials (usernames/passwords), personally identifiable details, finance-related data, and so on. The collected information can then be shared with and/or sold to third-parties.
To summarize, the presence of software like Shapes Tab on devices can lead to system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Browser Extension(s)||Shapes Tab|
|Supposed Functionality||Browser wallpapers|
|Detection Names (find.cf-csrc.com)||N/A (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (find.cf-csrc.com)||22.214.171.124|
|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
We have analyzed countless browser hijackers; Car Tab, Post and Search, and Galaxy Search are merely a few examples. This software usually appears legitimate and harmless. Users are lured by a wide variety of "useful" and "advantageous" functionalities. However, these features seldom work as advertised, and in most cases – they are utterly nonoperational.
It must be stressed that even if a piece of software operates as indicated by its promotional material – that is not definitive proof of either legitimacy or safety.
How did Shapes Tab install on my computer?
We obtained Shapes Tab from its "official" promotional webpage. Browser hijackers are also endorsed on deceptive/scam sites. Most users access these pages via redirects caused by websites using rogue advertising networks, intrusive ads, mistyped URLs, spam browser notifications, or installed adware.
Browser-hijacking software can be bundled with ordinary programs as well. The risk of unintentionally permitting bundled content into the system is increased by downloading from untrustworthy sources (e.g., freeware and free file-hosting websites, P2P sharing networks, etc.) and rushing through installation processes (e.g., ignoring terms, using the "Easy/Quick" settings, etc.).
Additionally, intrusive adverts are used to proliferate browser hijackers. When clicked on, some of these advertisements can execute scripts to perform downloads/installations without user permission.
How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?
We strongly recommend researching software and downloading only from official and verified channels. It is just as important to approach installation processes with caution. Therefore, we advise reading terms, studying available options, using the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings, and opting out of all additional apps, extensions, tools, features, and so on.
Another recommendation is to be vigilant when browsing since fraudulent and malicious online content typically appears legitimate and harmless. For example, intrusive ads can look innocuous yet redirect to highly questionable sites (e.g., gambling, adult dating, pornography, etc.).
In case of continuous encounters with adverts/redirects of this kind, check the system and immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with Shapes Tab, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Permissions asked by Shapes Tab browser hijacker:
Websites promoting Shapes Tab browser hijacker:
Appearance of find.cf-csrc.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 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 Shapes Tab?
- STEP 1. Uninstall unwanted applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Shapes Tab browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove find.cf-csrc.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove find.cf-csrc.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Shapes Tab 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.
Shapes Tab 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 "Shapes Tab" 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 "Shapes Tab", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.find.cf-csrc.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 "find.cf-csrc.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 find.cf-csrc.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 "Shapes Tab", 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 "Shapes Tab", remove hxxp://find.cf-csrc.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 find.cf-csrc.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 find.cf-csrc.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.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the purpose of forcing users to visit find.cf-csrc.com website?
Cyber criminals (e.g., developers of browser hijackers and fake search engines, etc.) generate revenue through redirects to sites like find.cf-csrc.com.
Is visiting find.cf-csrc.com a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes. Websites like find.cf-csrc.com tend to collect information about their visitors. The gathered data is usually monetized via sale to third-parties.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are predominantly distributed via bundled installers, online scams, untrustworthy download sources (e.g., freeware and free file-hosting websites, P2P sharing networks, etc.), spam browser notifications, and intrusive ads.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove Shapes Tab browser hijacker?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan computers and eliminate detected browser-hijacking applications. Note that manual removal (unaided by security programs) might not be ideal, particularly when multiple browser hijackers are present. In these cases, after one is removed – the others may reinstall it. Furthermore, browser-hijacking software might be able to deny access to removal-related settings and/or undo user-made changes. Therefore, browser hijackers must be removed thoroughly and all at once.
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