How to Recover From a Browser Hijacking Attack
One day you boot up your computer and find that things are not how you left them. Your search results do not go to Google and your homeSite is a site you have never heard of. Maybe it’s Privatesearches.org or a myriad of other deceptive search websites trying to trick you into clicking on promotional links (or much worse). If this happens to you, don’t worry: you are not alone. They are browser hijackers, a form of malware that should be taken seriously.
Browser hijackers usually get on your computer through a malicious app or a fake browser extension. For example, the Privatesearches.org hijacker makes its way onto a PC in the form of a fake Google Docs Chrome extension. Once you install it on your computer and grant necessary permission to the extension, the malware goes ahead and changes the search engine, homepage, start page and more.
Here’s the good news: you can remove them completely and restore your browser to the way it should be.
Use Malwarebytes to scan and remove the hijacking tool
Our first task is to find out where exactly the malware lives and remove it. The easiest way to do this is by using a free trial Malwarebytes Anti-malware software that can scan for and destroy browser hijackers. Install the free app, scan your computer and follow the instructions to remove the culprit from your device.
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How to uninstall a browser-hijacking app manually
Sometimes Malwarebytes may not be able to identify the malware; IWhen that happens, you might have to do a little digging old-fashioned. First, take a look at the site The browser redirects you, open Google in a new tab, search for the page and add “malware” at the bottom of the search.
You’re bound to find Reddit posts about the hijacker, as well as guides that explain what the hijacker tool is and how to get rid of it. Continuing with our Privatesearches.org example, weme over it Instructions from PCrisk The explained what it is and gives detailed instructions on how to get rid of the app.
Once you know the name of the app and where it came from (the name of the app that installed it will likely be different), you’re good to go. Now follow the steps below to remove the malware app.
On Windows, right-click the begin button, select applications and functions. In the Ideas In the window, look for the application you want to uninstall. Once you find it, click on the three vertical dots and select it Uninstall.
On Mac, open the Finder app, go to the Applications folder, find the app and drag it to the Trash icon. Then right-click on the Trash icon and select Empty Trash to completely remove the app. Alternatively, we recommend you use one App like AppCleaner to uninstall the hijacker app and all associated files (even if they are hidden in the library folder).
Don’t forget to reset your browser to default settings
Now let’s get things done on the browser side. You can start by removing the extension from the browser first. For Chrome, click the menu button and go to More tools > extensions. Find the culprit here and click Removed. The steps are the same for Chromium-based browsers like Microsoft Edge and Brave.
For Firefox, go to Menu > Addons and Themes > extensions. Locate the extension and click on the three dotsand choose Removed.
If you use Safari, go to Ideas > extensionsselect the extension and then click Uninstall.
Once the extension is gone, we need to take care of the default search engine, homepage, and the default page that opens when you launch the browser for the first time. Since you were dealing with malware here, we suggest that you reset the browser to its default settings, which will also reset the above settings.
In Chrome, go to Menu > Ideas > Reset to default and confirm with Reset to default.
Go to Microsoft Edge Menu > Ideas > reset settings > Reset the settings to their default values > Reset to default will do the trick.
Firefox users can go to Menu > Help > Troubleshooting information > Update Firefox > Update Firefox to reset the browser.
In Safari, all you need to do is clear history and related data. Go to safari > delete historychoose all history from the drop-down list and then select delete history.
After your browser has been reset, we recommend that you download extensions only after verification They are from the right source (e.g. that the Google Docs extension is actually from and verified by Google).