Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is Flowsurf?
Flowsurf is a rogue browser add-on developed by a company of the same name (Flowsurf Apps). Flowsurf claims to improve the quality of Internet searching by displaying advanced search results and adding other functions, however, this add-on employs a deceptive software marketing method called 'bundling' to stealthily install on Internet browsers without users' consent.
Bundling allows developers to distribute their applications together with other software and most users inadvertently install rogue browser extensions as a consequence of reckless downloading of free software from freeware download websites.
Although Flowsurf may appear to deliver useful and legitimate functionality, it is referred to as a browser hijacker, redirect virus, or a potentially unwanted program (PUP) due to its dubious behavior.
Following successful infiltration on Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox, Flowsurf diminishes Internet browser performance, modifies browser settings, generates intrusive online advertisements, and tracks users' Internet browsing activity.
Flowsurf continually monitors users' Internet browsing activity by recording various information such as Internet Protocol (IP) addresses (to determine the location of the user), Internet browser data (search queries entered, website URLs visited, pages viewed, cookies, etc.), and other details that are likely to be personally identifiable.
This behavior may result in serious privacy issues. Flowsurf is similar to other PUPs that use bundling as an installation method including Music Search App, Astromenda, Groovorio, and istart123 among many others. These browser plug-ins, including Flowsurf, are useless to the user.
Rather than providing any real value, Flowsurf causes unwanted redirects and assigns the browser default search engine and new tab URL settings to flowsurf.net
Research shows that users commonly infect their computers with PUPs such as Flowsurf via small download programs used by freeware download websites (for example, download.com, soft32.com, softonic.com, etc.) Download programs ('installers', 'download clients', 'download managers', etc.) are employed by these websites as free service monetization tools, since they offer installation of promoted (according to the developers, '100% legitimate and virus free') browser extensions together with the chosen free software.
Thus, careless download and installation of freeware often leads to adware or malware infections. Installation of PUPs such as Flowsurf can be prevented by paying close attention during the download of free software and clicking 'Decline' if installation of any additional programs is offered.
Furthermore, all software downloaded from the Internet should be installed using the 'Custom' or 'Advanced' installation options - this will reveal any hidden applications listed for installation and allow you to opt out.
If you notice that your browser settings have been changed without your consent, and you experience redirects to the flowsurf.net website, read the removal instructions provided to eliminate this potentially unwanted program from your Internet browsers.
Flowsurf adware installer setup:
Update December 11, 2019 - Crooks have recently released an updated version of Flowsurf extension which is now designed to inject Google search results which additional results. It also supposedly provides a number of "useful features", such as page zoom, screenshot taking, navigation, etc.
Screenshot of Flowsurf results injected into Google search results:
Screenshot of updated Flowsurf extension:
Screenshot of updated Flowsurf extension in Google Chrome:
Screenshots of websites promoting the updated Flowsurf variant:
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 flowsurf.net?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Flowsurf application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove flowsurf.net redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove flowsurf.net browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove flowsurf.net homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove flowsurf.net redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Flowsurf.net 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 "Flowsurf", select this entry and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted program (that causes browser redirects to the flowsurf.net website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Flowsurf.net homepage and default Internet search engine removal from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove browser hijackers:
Remove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:
Remove flowsurf.net related Internet Explorer add-ons:
Click the "gears" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for "Flowsurf", select that entry and click "Remove".
Change your homepage:
Click the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Internet Options", in the opened window remove hxxp://www.flowsurf.net/search.php and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you launch Internet Explorer.
Change your default search engine:
Click the "gear" 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, then remove "Flowsurf".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the flowsurf 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.
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.
Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.
In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.
Click the Reset button.
Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:
Remove flowsurf.net related Google Chrome extensions:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Tools" and click on "Extensions". Locate "Flowsurf" and click the trash can icon.
Change your homepage:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, click "set pages", hover your mouse over hxxp://www.flowsurf.net/search.php and click the x symbol. Now, you can add your preferred website as your homepage.
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" section, click "Manage Search Engines...", remove "Flowsurf" and add or select your preferred Internet search engine.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the flowsurf browser hijacker, 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 plugins from Mozilla Firefox:
Remove flowsurf.net related Mozilla Firefox add-ons:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions", in the opened window remove "Flowsurf" browser plug-in.
Change your homepage:
To reset your homepage click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), then select "Options", in the opened window remove hxxp://flowsurf.net/search.php and enter your preferred domain, which will open every time you start Mozilla Firefox.
Change 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: "Flowsurf"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.
Computer users who have problems with flowsurf 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, 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 flowsurf browser hijacker, 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.
Post a comment:
If you have additional information on flowsurf browser hijacker or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.
▼ Show Discussion