Default-search.net Redirect

Also Known As: Default-search.net browser hijacker
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Medium

Default-search.net redirect removal instructions

What is default-search.net?

The default-search.net website (created by Linkey Inc.) is promoted using browser hijackers that infiltrate Internet browsers through free software downloads. After successful installation, this adware modifies browser settings by assigning the homepage and default search engine fields to default-search.net At time of research, this website redirected to yahoo.com causing no security issues, however, creators of this browser hijacker have control over these redirects and are able to change them to other locations at any time. Having adware such as this installed on your Internet browsers can result in serious malware and virus infections. Common sources of browser hijackers are free software download websites that employ 'download clients' - small programs used to manage the process of free software download and to monetize these freeware downloads by offering installation of various advertised browser extensions.

default-search.net browser hijacker

Today, most free software download websites (including download.com, softonic.com, soft32.com, etc.) employ small programs called 'download clients', and therefore, Internet users should be attentive when downloading free software. As well as unwanted redirects, the default-search.net browser hijacker also tracks users' Internet browsing activity by recording IP addresses, browser types and versions, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), cookie information, and webpages visited. This behavior can lead to serious privacy issues or identity theft. Reckless freeware download can result in installation of various free browser plug-ins leading to unwanted ads and browser redirects. Note that default-search.net, as a web search engine, is completely useless, since all it does is redirects users to search.yahoo.com. In other words, it does not generate any results by itself and thus becomes irrelevant.

Threat Summary:
Name Default-search.net browser hijacker
Threat Type Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab
Symptoms Manipulated Internet browser(s) settings (homepage, default Internet search engine, new tab settings). User's are forced to visit 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 browsing tracking (potential privacy issues), displaying of unwanted ads, redirects to shady websites.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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The default-search.net browser hijacker is similar to other adware also distributed using dubious free software download clients. Examples include Royal-search.comStatic.flipora.com, and Start.iminent.com among many others. Recent research shows that this browser hijacker installs on browsers together with Linkey adware. To avoid installation of these potentially unwanted applications, be attentive when downloading free software. If your download is managed by a download client, opt-out of installation of any promoted browser plug-ins by clicking the 'decline' button. When installing downloaded freeware, choose the 'Advanced' or 'Custom' installation options - this will reveal installation of any bundled software. If your Internet browsers (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox) redirect you to the default-search.net website, use the removal guide provided to eliminate this browser hijacker from your computer.

Default-search.net redirecting users to search.yahoo.com once a search query is entered:

default-search.net redirecting to search.yahoo.com when a search query is entered

Deceptive free software installers used in default-search.net browser hijacker distribution:

default-search.net browser hijacker installer sample 12 Delusive software installer promoting default-search.net default-search.net browser hijacker 10 default-search.net browser hijacker installer sample 10 default-search.net browser hijacker installer sample 9 default-search.net browser hijacker installer sample 8 default-search.net browser hijacker installer sample 7 default-search.net browser hijacker installer sample 6 default-search.net browser hijacker installer 5 default-search.net browser hijacker installer sample 3 default-search.net browser hijacker installer sample 4 default-search.net browser hijacker installer sample 2 default-search.net browser hijacker installer

"Settings Manager" application (Aztec Media Inc.) blocking attempts to change the browser homepage and default search engine settings:

default-search.net blocking attempts to change homepage and default search engine

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Quick menu:

Default-search.net browser hijacker removal:

Windows 7 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.

Windows XP users:

Accessing Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP

Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.

Windows 10 and Windows 8 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

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.

Mac OSX users:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

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.

default-search.net browser hijacker uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window: look "Linkey" and "Settings Manager" or "Assets Manager" (both created by Aztec Media Inc.), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted programs (which cause browser redirects to the default-search.net website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

Default-search.net browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing default-search.net related Internet Explorer extensions

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for "Linkey" and other recently installed suspicious extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".

Change your homepage:

Removing default-search.net from Internet Explorer homepage

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Internet Options", in the opened window remove hxxp://default-search.net and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you launch Internet Explorer. You can also enter about: blank to open a blank page when you start Internet Explorer.

Change your default search engine:

Removing default-search.net from Internet Explorer default search engine

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". In the opened window, select "Search Providers", set "Google", "Bing", or any other preferred search engine as your default and then remove "default-search.net".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the default-search.net browser hijacker, reset your Internet Explorer settings to default.

Windows XP users: Click Start, click Run, in the opened window type inetcpl.cpl In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows XP

Windows Vista and Windows 7 users: Click the Windows logo, in the start search box type inetcpl.cpl and click enter. In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 7

Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.

Reseting Internet Explorer settings to default in Windows 8 - accessing

In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - Internet options advanced tab

Click the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - click the Reset button in the Internet options advanced tab

Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - confirm settings reset to default by clicking the reset button

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing default-search.net related Google Chrome extensions

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome options icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Tools" and click on "Extensions". Locate "Linkey" and all other recently installed suspicious add-ons, select these entries and click the trash can icon.

Change your homepage:

Removing default-search.net from Google Chrome homepage

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome options icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, click "set pages", hover your mouse over hxxp://linkeyproject.com and click the x symbol. Now, you can add your preferred website as your homepage.

Change your default search engine:

Removing default-search.net from Google Chrome default search engine

To change your default search engine in Google Chrome: Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome options icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings", in the "Search" section, click "Manage Search Engines...", remove "linkeyproject.com" and add or select your preferred domain.

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the default-search.net browser hijacker, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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.

Google Chrome settings reset step 1

After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 2

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 3

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plugins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing default-search.net related Mozilla Firefox extensions

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove "Linkey for Firefox", as well as all other recently installed browser plug-ins.

Change your homepage:

Removing default-search.net from Mozilla Firefox homepage

To reset your homepage, click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), then select "Options", in the opened window remove hxxp://default-search.net and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Removing default-search.net from Mozilla Firefox default search engine

In the URL address bar, type about:config and press Enter.
Click "I'll be careful, I promise!".
In the search filter at the top, type: "default-search.net"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with default-search.net browser hijacker removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.

Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Removing browser hijackers from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click Safari menu, then select Preferences...

removing browser hijacker from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the preferences window select the Extensions tab. Look for any recently installed suspicious extensions and uninstall them.

Removing browser hijackers from safari step 3 - changing homepage

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.

removing browser hijackers from safari step 4 - changing the default Internet search engine

In the preferences window select Search tab and make sure that your preferred Internet search engine is selected.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) logoRemove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 2

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 3

To change your default search engine in Microsoft Edge: Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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 Microsoft Edge (Chromium) puzzle icon near it and select "Disable".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the default-search.net browser hijacker, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 1

In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 2

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.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 3

  • If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.

Summary:

declining installation of browser hijackers while downloading free software sampleA 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.

Removal assistance:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove default-search.net browser hijacker from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

Post a comment:
If you have additional information on default-search.net browser hijacker or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.

Hards

what if there is no extension or program file? what do i do then

Mike

I just walked through your tutorial. They are getting better at hiding this. As I was going through my control panel I did not find the Linkeyproject link, or most of the others for the default-search adware. I did not find it in my registry keys. I did find it as the last search engine in my default search engines. I also found eShield, and a couple of others that I removed. Considering that is was the last search engine in the list, and not really posted anywhere else, to include my extensions for both edge and Chrome, yet it was able to redirect my pages is a little concerning. I have Spybot S&D on my computer, and it did not pick it up. Just wanted to give you an update.

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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Software uninstall instructions
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Default-search.net browser hijacker QR code
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