What kind of software is QR Code Search?
Our researchers discovered the QR Code Search browser extension while investigating suspect websites. Following our examination, we determined that this is browser-hijacking software. It makes alterations to browser settings in order to promote the qrcodeme.xyz fake search engine. QR Code Search also has data-tracking abilities.
QR Code Search browser hijacker overview
Typically, browser hijackers modify browsers' homepages, default search engines, and new tabs/windows. Therefore, with such a piece of software installed: new browser tabs/windows opened and search queries entered into the URL bar – would result in redirects to the endorsed site. In the case of QR Code Search, the redirects lead to the qrcodeme.xyz webpage.
Most fake search engines cannot provide search results, so they redirect to genuine Internet search websites. At the time of research, qrcodeme.xyz landed on the Bing search engine (bing.com). It is pertinent to mention that this webpage could lead elsewhere, as factors like user geolocation may impact redirects.
Browser-hijacking software often employs persistence-ensuring techniques to prevent users from recovering their browsers.
Furthermore, this software usually spies on users' browsing activity, and QR Code Search is not an exception. Targeted data may include: visited URLs, viewed webpages, search queries typed, Internet cookies, log-in credentials, personally identifiable details, finance-related information, and so forth. This sensitive data can then be monetized via sale to third-parties.
To summarize, the presence of software like QR Code Search on devices can lead to system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|QR Code Search
|Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab
|QR Code Search
|Detection Names (qrcodeme.xyz)
|Forcepoint ThreatSeeker (Suspicious), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
|Serving IP Address (qrcodeme.xyz)
|Affected Browser Settings
|Homepage, new tab URL, default search engine
|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.
|Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling).
|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 offers various functionalities. However, these functions rarely work as promised, and in most cases – they do not work at all. It must be stressed that the mere fact that a piece of software has operational features does not prove its legitimacy or safety.
How did QR Code Search install on my computer?
We obtained QR Code Search from its "official" promotional webpage. Aside from such legitimate-looking pages, browser-hijacking software is promoted on deceptive/scam sites.
Browser hijackers are also proliferated using the bundling marketing technique, which entails packing regular program installers with unwanted/malicious supplements.
The risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content into the device is increased by downloading from dubious sources (e.g., freeware and third-party sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.) and by rushing through installation processes (e.g., using "Easy/Quick" settings, etc.).
Intrusive advertisements spread browser hijackers as well. When clicked on, some of the adverts can execute scripts to perform downloads/installations without user permission.
How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?
We recommend researching software and downloading it only from official/verified channels. Another recommendation is to treat installation processes with care, e.g., by reading terms, exploring possible options, using the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opting out of all additional apps, extensions, features, etc.
We also advise caution when browsing since fraudulent and malicious online content typically appears genuine and innocuous. For example, intrusive ads may look harmless – however, they redirect to highly questionable sites (e.g., gambling, scam-promoting, pornography, adult dating, etc.).
If you keep encountering advertisements and/or redirects of this kind, inspect the device and immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with QR Code Search, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Appearance of qrcodeme.xyz redirecting to the Bing search engine (GIF):
Permissions asked by QR Code Search browser hijacker:
Website promoting QR Code Search browser hijacker:
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 QR Code Search?
- STEP 1. Uninstall unwanted applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove QR Code Search browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove qrcodeme.xyz homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove qrcodeme.xyz redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
QR Code 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, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
QR Code Search browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove QR Code Search browser hijacker using Combo Cleaner:
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 "QR Code 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 "QR Code Search", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.qrcodeme.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 "qrcodeme.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 qrcodeme.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 "QR Code 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 "QR Code Search", remove hxxp://qrcodeme.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 qrcodeme.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 qrcodeme.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 to visit qrcodeme.xyz website?
Redirects to fake search engines (e.g., qrcodeme.xyz, etc.) are generated because cyber criminals (e.g., developers of these sites and browser hijackers, etc.) profit through them.
Is visiting qrcodeme.xyz a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes. Websites like qrcodeme.xyz usually collect visitor data to sell it to third-parties.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
The most commonly used distribution techniques include: bundled installation setups, deceptive promotional webpages, online scams, freeware and free file-hosting sites, P2P sharing networks, intrusive ads, and spam browser notifications.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove QR Code Search browser hijacker?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan computers and eliminate installed browser-hijacking apps. Keep in mind that manual removal (performed without the aid of security programs) might not be ideal. In cases where multiple browser hijackers are present, after one is removed – the others may simply reinstall it. What is more, removal-related settings might be inaccessible with this software installed. Therefore, it is crucial to eliminate browser hijackers thoroughly and all at once.