What is Cats and Catapults?
Developed by Mindspark Interactive Network Inc, this rogue browser toolbar claims to allow users to play an addictive game called 'Cats and Catapults'. Although this functionality may seem legitimate, be aware that Cats and Catapults is categorized as a browser hijacker or a redirect virus.
These associations are made due to a deceptive software marketing method called 'bundling' employed by the developers of this rogue browser add-on to install Cats and Catapults on Internet browsers without users' permission.
Bundling allows developers to distribute their applications together with other software, and therefore, most users inadvertently install this rogue application together with free software downloaded from freeware download websites.
Most popular freeware download websites such as soft32.com, download.com, softonic.com and many others, use small programs called 'download managers' to monetize their free services and traffic.
Download managers offer installation of advertised (according to the developers, '100% legitimate and virus-free') browser add-ons together with the chosen free software. Thus, reckless download and installation of freeware often results in adware or malware infections such as Cats and Catapults.
After successful infiltration on Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, Cats and Catapults assigns the default search engine and homepage settings of these browsers to ask.com. Using this website as your default search engine may cause further adware and malware infections, and therefore, you are strongly advised to eliminate this adware from your Internet browsers.
Cats and Catapults is similar to other potentially unwanted applications that employ bundling as an installation method. Motitags, RadioRage, and FindMeFreebies are just a few examples among many others. These browser extensions are useless to the user - their purpose is to generate revenue by delivering intrusive online ads and enforcing unwanted browser redirects.
Cats and Catapults provides no real value and the presence of this rogue application on your system may lead to other computer infections.
If you feel that your browser settings (homepage, new tab URL, and default search engine) have been changed to ask.com, read the removal instructions provided and uninstall Cats and Catapults browser hijacker from your Internet browsers.
Deceptive installer used in Cats and Catapults toolbar distribution:
Screenshot of the Cats and Catapults application:
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 Cats and Catapults?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Cats and Catapults application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Cats and Catapults redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove Cats and Catapults homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove Cats and Catapults redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Cats and Catapults 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 "Cats and Catapults Internet Explorer Toolbar", select this entry and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted programs (which cause browser redirects to the search.tb.ask.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Cats and Catapults browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove browser redirects:
Remove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:
Click the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for "Cats and Catapults", and "Toolbar BHO", select these entries 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://home.tb.ask.com 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:
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 and then remove "Ask Web Search".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the cats and catapults 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 plugins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove "Cats and Catapults" (and other recently-installed browser plug-ins).
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://home.tb.ask.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 "I'll be careful, I promise!".
In the search filter at the top, type: "ask.com"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.
Computer users who have problems with cats and catapults 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 cats and catapults 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.
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