What kind of software is Cityscapes?
Cityscapes is a browser extension that promises to display browser wallpapers depicting cityscapes and urban skylines. Our researchers found this piece of software while investigating deceptive websites. After analyzing Cityscapes, we learned that it modifies browser settings and promotes (via redirects) the schcm.com fake search engine. Due to this behavior, this extension is classed as a browser hijacker.
Cityscapes browser hijacker overview
Cityscapes assigns schcm.com as browsers' homepages, search engines, and new tab/window URLs. Therefore, with this extension installed: new browser tabs/windows opened and search queries entered into the URL bar – result in redirects to the schcm.com site.
It is noteworthy that browser-hijacking software commonly utilizes persistence-ensuring techniques, such as blocking access to removal-related settings or undoing user-made changes – to complicate its removal.
Fake search engines typically cannot generate search results, so they land on legitimate Internet search websites. At the time of research, schcm.com led to the Bing search engine (bing.com). Keep in mind that this site could lead elsewhere, as factors like user geolocation may impact redirects.
Furthermore, Cityscapes likely spies on users' browsing activity. Information of interest may include: visited URLs, viewed webpages, searched queries, Internet cookies, usernames/passwords, personally identifiable details, finance-related data, etc. The collected information can then be monetized via sale to third-parties.
To summarize, the presence of browser-hijacking software like Cityscapes on devices may result in system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Supposed Functionality||Cityscape-themed browser wallpapers|
|Detection Names (schcm.com)||N/A (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (schcm.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
Browser-hijacking software usually appears legitimate and harmless. It entices users into download/installation by promising various handy functionalities. However, these features seldom work as advertised, and in most cases – they do not work at all. It must be stressed that operational functionalities are not an irrefutable indicator of a software's legitimacy or safety.
How did Cityscapes install on my computer?
We obtained Cityscapes from its "official" promotional webpage. We also discovered a deceptive site pushing this browser extension by using an adult-oriented lure.
Additionally, browser-hijacking software can be bundled with ordinary programs. Downloading from dubious sources (e.g., freeware and third-party sites, P2P sharing networks, etc.) and rushing through installation processes (e.g., ignoring terms, using "Easy/Express" settings, etc.) – increase the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled content into the system.
Browser hijackers are spread by intrusive advertisements as well. When clicked on, some of the adverts can execute scripts to perform downloads/installations without user consent.
How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?
It is important to always research software prior to downloading or purchasing it. Furthermore, all downloads must be performed from official and trustworthy channels. When installing, we recommend reading terms, inspecting available options, using the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opting out of all supplementary apps, extensions, tools, etc.
Another recommendation is to be careful while browsing since fraudulent and malicious online content usually appears genuine and innocuous. For example, regardless of their legitimate/harmless appearance – intrusive advertisements redirect to highly questionable websites (e.g., scam-promoting, pornography, adult dating, gambling, etc.).
In case of continuous encounters with such ads/redirects, check the system and immediately remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with Cityscapes, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Permissions asked by Cityscapes browser hijacker:
Website promoting Cityscapes browser hijacker:
Deceptive website promoting Cityscapes browser hijacker:
Appearance of schcm.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 Cityscapes?
- STEP 1. Uninstall unwanted applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Cityscapes browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove schcm.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove schcm.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Cityscapes 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.
Cityscapes 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 "Extensions" and click "Manage Extensions". Locate "Cityscapes" 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 "Cityscapes", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.schcm.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 "schcm.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 schcm.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 "Cityscapes", 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 "Cityscapes", remove hxxp://schcm.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 schcm.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 schcm.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 schcm.com website?
Redirects to websites like schcm.com are generated because cyber criminals (i.e., developers of fake search engines and browser hijackers) profit through them.
Is visiting schcm.com a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes. Sites like schcm.com typically collect information about their visitors. In most cases, the goal is to sell the data to third-parties.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are primarily proliferated via deceptive promotional pages, bundled installation setups, online scams, freeware and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, spam browser notifications, and intrusive ads.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove Cityscapes browser hijacker?
Yes, Combo Cleaner will scan your computer and eliminate installed browser-hijacking apps. Note that manual removal (unaided by security tools) might not be an ideal solution, especially when multiple browser hijackers are present. In these cases, after one is removed – the others may simply reinstall it. Browser-hijacking software might also deny access to removal-related settings and/or undo user-made changes. Therefore, it is paramount to eliminate browser hijackers thoroughly and all at once.