When a user’s browser falls prey to a hijacking program like, a series of unauthorized alterations may happen, unsettling their typical online routine. The once-familiar homepage may be replaced with a new one, while the default search engine be substituted with one that they have not approved. Additionally, an influx of intrusive pop-up ads and banners might inundate their browsing sessions, triggering annoyance and obstructing the smooth web navigation. The appearance of unwelcome browser extensions or toolbars associated with can further reshape the browser’s interface. Furthermore, the attempts to visit familiar websites could lead to unexpected redirects to dubious domains. Collectively, these changes serve as unmistakable symptoms of browser hijacking, prompting users to take swift action to restore their online environment.

The virus browser hijacker permissions
The virus browser hijacker asking for permissions

Is safe?

A browser hijacker like, iStart Search Bar or Your Search Bar Me may not directly cause as much harm as some other forms of malware, however, it is not entirely safe. The potential for unwanted changes, compromised privacy, exposure to malicious content, and other security risks associated with browser hijackers underscores the importance of adopting strong cybersecurity practices. Regularly updating your browser software, installing reputable security solutions, being cautious with downloads and extensions, and promptly addressing any suspicious browser behavior are essential steps in preventing the encounter with potential hazards posed by browser hijackers. Virus

The confusion of the browser hijacker for an virus stems from its overlapping disruptive effects on user experiences. While distinct in their objectives, a browser hijacker’s unauthorized alterations to browser settings, redirecting users and inundating them with intrusive ads, can mirror the disarray caused by a computer virus. Both pieces of software may lead to unexpected changes, compromised performance, and diminished user satisfaction. However, the critical difference lies in their intent: a virus seeks to damage files and compromise system integrity, while a browser hijacker like the virus primarily manipulates the users’ online behavior for financial gain. This, coupled with the relatively unfamiliar nature of browser hijackers, contributes to the misconception, fostering a need for clear differentiation to accurately address these distinct cyber threats.

What is is a form of potentially unwanted software that secretly changes your web browser’s settings, causing it to send you to websites you didn’t intend to visit. It might alter your homepage, search engine, or even add new things like toolbars or extensions without your permission. The purpose behind this tricky software is to make money for its creators. They do this by showing you extra ads when you click around, and they can earn cash every time you do. Although not as damaging as viruses, can still disrupt your browsing, invade your privacy, and lower your overall satisfaction with your online experience. To ensure a safe and smooth online experience, it’s important to quickly spot and remove the browser hijacker with the help of the guide below. Pop-ups

A sure indicator of browser hijacking is the sudden appearance of pop-ups that sprawl across the screen, instigating understandable apprehension. Despite lacking immediate danger, these pop-ups can inadvertently expose users to hazards by exposing them to deceptive or malevolent content. Engagement with the latter could potentially reroute users to low-quality or compromised websites that draw the unsuspecting users into a labyrinth of digital deception. Moreover, the insidious pop-ups may manipulate them into unveiling confidential information. A more sinister consequence might involve the stealthy introduction of malicious or unwanted software, that can compromise the system’s safety. on Chrome

If your homepage or default search engine has been altered by on Chrome without your authorization, it’s crucial to take immediate actions. Inspecting recently installed software and browser extensions is the first step, as they might be linked to the changes. Additionally, you should get rid of any unfamiliar applications and any newly added extensions which are not related to your regular web browsing. After you do that, you can navigate to your browser’s settings and manually reset your preferred homepage and default search engine. Ideally, this should be enough to remove on Chrome and restore the control over your favorite browser.

An unmistakable sign of browser hijacking is the one when your browser automatically redirects you to and other websites promoted by the operators of the hijacker. These redirects can alter the user’s intended online trajectory, steering them towards an entirely different destination. The mechanism is usually profit-driven and is commonly exploited for purposes like providing users with localized or personalized content on a pay-per-click basis. Whether intentional or inadvertent, however, the redirects to and similar pages significantly impact the browsing experience and can carry security implications. Therefore, our recommendation is to stop the redirects by removing the browser hijacker that is causing them.

Type Browser Hijacker
Detection Tool

How to Remove

To try and remove quickly you can try this:

  1. Go to your browser’s settings and select More Tools (or Add-ons, depending on your browser).
  2. Then click on the Extensions tab.
  3. Look for the extension (as well as any other unfamiliar ones).
  4. Remove by clicking on the Trash Bin icon next to its name.
  5. Confirm and get rid of and any other suspicious items.

If this does not work as described please follow our more detailed removal guide below.

If you have a Windows virus, continue with the guide below.

If you have a Mac virus, please use our How to remove Ads on Mac guide.

If you have an Android virus, please use our Android Malware Removal guide.

If you have an iPhone virus, please use our iPhone Virus Removal guide.

Some of the steps may require you to exit the page. Bookmark it for later reference.
Next, Reboot in Safe Mode (use this guide if you don’t know how to do it).

Step1 Uninstall the app and kill its processes

The first thing you must try to do is look for any sketchy installs on your computer and uninstall anything you think may come from After that, you’ll also need to get rid of any processes that may be related to the unwanted app by searching for them in the Task Manager.

Note that sometimes an app, especially a rogue one, may ask you to install something else or keep some of its data (such as settings files) on your PC – never agree to that when trying to delete a potentially rogue software. You need to make sure that everything is removed from your PC to get rid of the malware. Also, if you aren’t allowed to go through with the uninstallation, proceed with the guide, and try again after you’ve completed everything else.

  • Uninstalling the rogue app
  • Killing any rogue processes

Type Apps & Features in the Start Menu, open the first result, sort the list of apps by date, and look for suspicious recently installed entries.

Click on anything you think could be linked to, then select uninstall, and follow the prompts to delete the app.

delete suspicious apps

Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc, click More Details (if it’s not already clicked), and look for suspicious entries that may be linked to

If you come across a questionable process, right-click it, click Open File Location, scan the files with the free online malware scanner shown below, and then delete anything that gets flagged as a threat.

Each file will be scanned with up to 64 antivirus programs to ensure maximum accuracy
This scanner is free and will always remain free for our website's users.
This file is not matched with any known malware in the database. You can either do a full real-time scan of the file or skip it to upload a new file. Doing a full scan with 64 antivirus programs can take up to 3-4 minutes per file.
Drag and Drop File Here To Scan
Drag and Drop File Here To Scan
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    Delete files and quit its processes.

    After that, if the rogue process is still visible in the Task Manager, right-click it again and select End Process.

    Step2 Undo changes made to different system settings

    It’s possible that has affected various parts of your system, making changes to their settings. This can enable the malware to stay on the computer or automatically reinstall itself after you’ve seemingly deleted it. Therefore, you need to check the following elements by going to the Start Menu, searching for specific system elements that may have been affected, and pressing Enter to open them and see if anything has been changed there without your approval. Then you must undo any unwanted changes made to these settings in the way shown below:

    • DNS
    • Hosts
    • Startup
    • Task
    • Services
    • Registry

    Type in Start Menu: View network connections

    Right-click on your primary network, go to Properties, and do this:

    Undo DNS changes made by

    Type in Start Menu: C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts

    Delete IPs from Hosts

    Type in the Start Menu: Startup apps

    Disable startup apps

    Type in the Start Menu: Task Scheduler

    Delete scheduled tasks

    Type in the Start Menu: Services

    Disable services

    Type in the Start Menu: Registry Editor

    Press Ctrl + F to open the search window

    Clear the Registry from items

    Step3 Remove from your browsers

    • Delete from Chrome
    • Delete from Firefox
    • Delete from Edge
    1. Go to the Chrome menu > More tools > Extensions, and toggle off and Remove any unwanted extensions.
    2. Next, in the Chrome Menu, go to Settings > Privacy and security > Clear browsing data > Advanced. Tick everything except Passwords and click OK.
    3. Go to Privacy & Security > Site Settings > Notifications and delete any suspicious sites that are allowed to send you notifications. Do the same in Site Settings > Pop-ups and redirects.
    4. Go to Appearance and if there’s a suspicious URL in the Custom web address field, delete it.
    1. Firefox menu, go to Add-ons and themes > Extensions, toggle off any questionable extensions, click their three-dots menu, and click Remove.
    2. Open Settings from the Firefox menu, go to Privacy & Security > Clear Data, and click Clear.
    3. Scroll down to Permissions, click Settings on each permission, and delete from it any questionable sites.
    4. Go to the Home tab, see if there’s a suspicious URL in the Homepage and new windows field, and delete it.
    1. Open the browser menu, go to Extensions, click Manage Extensions, and Disable and Remove any rogue items.
    2. From the browser menu, click Settings > Privacy, searches, and services > Choose what to clear, check all boxes except Passwords, and click Clear now.
    3. Go to the Cookies and site permissions tab, check each type of permission for permitted rogue sites, and delete them.
    4. Open the Start, home, and new tabs section, and if there’s a rogue URL under Home button, delete it.

    About the author


    Lidia Howler

    Lidia is a web content creator with years of experience in the cyber-security sector. She helps readers with articles on malware removal and online security. Her strive for simplicity and well-researched information provides users with easy-to-follow It-related tips and step-by-step tutorials.

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