Remove The Malicious Browser Hijacker (Complete Guide) Browser Hijacker Featured Image

The browser hijacker is a dangerous malware which endangers the security and privacy of its victims, it can be deleted by following our removal guide. Browser Hijacker Description

The security community alerted us of a dangerous new threat which is actively infecting computer users worldwide. The browser hijacker is a popular virus which infects the most commonly used web browsers – Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge. The purpose of the malware is to modify the settings of the applications which endangers the privacy and security of the victims.

It comes in the form of an extension which redirects the users into a hacker controlled third-party site. Interaction with it can lead to infections with other viruses, spying and other related dangers.

We have analyzed its infection strategy and as a result identified its behaviour patterns:

  1. Initial Installation – This is the initial deployment step. The first actions of the hijacker is the modification of the settings of the affected web browsers. This includes the default home page, new tabs page and search engine. They are changed to redirect to the malicious domain or another hacker-controlled site.
  2. Virus Interaction – The browser hijacker is able to modify other settings of the browser and/or operating system. Such changes can lead to anti-virus software bypass, the introduction of additional malware or spying on the users. Most of the browser hijackers also send out sensitive information extracted from the victim computers such as stored cookies, account credentials, saved form data, bookmarks and etc. The harvested data can be used in crimes related to identity theft.
  3. Possible Additional Payload Delivery – It is possible that updated versions of the browser hijackers can infect the computers with additional viruses including ransomware.

The aim of the service is to serve serve ad and sponsored content which generate income for the operators. We have identified that the site is owned by the Mindspark network which is a company famous for developing various hijackers and similar sites. By using such sites the victims cannot expect quality search results as the majority of content is usually curated by the hackers.

This is confirmed by the official WHOIS records of the domain:

Registrant Contact
Name: Domain Administrator
Organization: Mindspark Interactive Network, Inc.
Mailing Address: 29 Wells Ave,, Yonkers NY 10701 US
Phone: +1.9145912000
Fax: +1.9142064559
Fax Ext:
Email:[email protected]

The privacy policy of the site is governed by the company and its contents reveal a lot of troubling articles. Some excerpts from the document showcases the following security and privacy implications:

  • The Victims Agree That The Modifications Are To Be Made – By installing or getting infected with the hijacker the user automatically agrees with the article concerned with application changes consent. Depending on the installation methods some of the changes can be disallowed.
  • Removal Restrictions – According to the privacy policy the users agree not to use any automated or manual options that interfere with the dangerous components.
  • Automatic Updates – The developers of the hijacker are able to remotely update all active instances without notifying the user.

  • Function Modification – The programming team behind the browser hijacker are able to modify the functionality of the running copies.
  • Information Harvest – The browser hijacker is able to harvest and transmit sensitive information from the affected computers. This includes te name, address, email address, telephone numbers, web site interaction, login times, stored bookmarks, cookies and etc.
  • Interaction With Other Services – The browser hijacker is able to interact with other sites and services like Pinterest and etc.
  • Use of Various Packages – The hijacker uses several free and open-source software used for compressing and decompressing files such as EliteUnzip, UnzipApp, Dezipper and etc.

The team behind the hijacker has created several pages of removal instructions in several separate articles – “Internet Explorer New Tab”, “Mozilla Firefox New Tab”, “Google Chrome New Tab” and “Safari New Tab”. However the removal instructions are related only to the new tabs section, they do not give detailed information on removing the malicious engine itself. Browser Hijacker Featured Image

The search engine is powered by the company’s MyWay service, a well-known malicious site. It displays sponsored content do not represent quality sites and links that the users may expect. The served ads generate income for their operators. The home page includes an aggressive search engine history which is enabled by default and tracks all entered queries.

The MyWay search is known for inserting tracking cookies into the hyperlinks shown on its home page. They are used to both track the users interaction with the all visited sites and also manage the referral network. In a similar to the domain the search engine offers a limited amount of instructions for removal of its own extension.

This includes four sections: “I want to restore my Home page”, “I want to restore my Search Engine”, “I want to disable search from my New Tab page”, “I want to reset my Chrome Address bar”. The provided instructions are provided only for the following browsers – Internet Explorer 7/8/9 and Google Chrome. The Mindspark “Help” section is laid out in several actions and is made in such a way that resembles legitimate companies. Browser Hijacker Featured Image

SpyHunter anti-malware tool will diagnose all current threats on the computer. By purchasing the full version, you will be able to remove all malware threats instantly. Additional information about SpyHunter / Help to uninstall SpyHunter Browser Hijacker And Sponsored Content Display

MindSpark and MyWay use the same ad and sponsored content with the browser hijacker. It uses the gathered metrics from the installed web browsers to create extensive profiles of the victims. We remind all victims that the privacy allows the service operators to process the data along with its affiliates and partners. Effectively every user of the browser hijacker is assigned an unique ID. It provides the following information which is used to “personalize” the shown content and ads:

  • Hardware Components and Used Software – This includes the device’s platform, device components and used internet browser.
  • Demographics Statistics – Through the use of the provided services the malicious operators are able to collect information such as the age, zip/postal code, gender and geographic location.
  • Interest – Gathered from web history data and site interaction.

At the current moment the sites work with several third-part advertising agencies –, and The victims need to identify the running ads and on their own follow complex opt-out procedures which may not be guaranteed to work.

Possible Updates To The Browser Hijacker

There are various types of browser hijackers. Depending on the type of malware a future update can include any of the following features:

    1. Rogue Application Presentation – Some types of browser hijackers create counterfeit notification prompts which aim to scare the victims into thinking that their computer has been infected by viruses. The hijackers redirect them to a product page or download portal where they are offered a solution.
    2. Endless Redirection – Browser hijacker typically redirect the users to hacker-controlled sites for various reasons. However some of them do this in a way which makes browsing practically impossible. Examples of such strains process all user queries through non-existent sites. As a result it is impossible to browser any site.
    3. Stealth Installation Hijackers – These hijackers attempt to show no sign of infection and attempt to hide themselves from the users as much as possible. They change the application settings to pass traffic through hacker-controlled sites however no obvious preferences are modified.
    4. Information Stealing Trojan Browser Hijackers – Advanced forms of browser hijacker can include code that is able to harvest sensitive information from the victims. This includes not only their stored account credentials, browsing history, cookies, preferences, saved form data and etc., but also files from their computers.
    5. Additional Payload Delivery – The malicious extension can be used to deliver viruses to the infected computer.
    6. Obtrusive Ads – The browser hijacker can directly display ads in various forms (text, graphics, in-page, hybrid and etc.) of paying customers. This tactic generates revenue for the hijacker operators based on the amount of infected victims and frequency of interaction with the advertised service.
    7. Performance Impact – Other types of malware can cause delibrate performance issues. This can include anything from slow-downs to application crashes and even operating system boot up problems.
    8. Security Software Bypass – Advanced hijackers are found to disable the installed security solutions. This means that the hijackers can be used as a first-stage infection in a complex malware installation attempt. This is particularly useful for ransomware.
    9. Persistent Installation – The virus can achieve a persistent state of execution which makes removal possible with the use of a quality anti-spyware solution.
    10. Identity Spoofing – A notable example of such behavior was a particular strain of browser hijackers which stole cookies that were used to conduct malicious activities. The hijacker used the cookie to install malicious Android app onto the user’s phone without their consent.

    Using a quality anti-spyware solution Internet users can defend themselves against possible virus installations. All active threats can be removed using only a few mouse clicks.

    Protect Yourself From Hijackers like

    To completely eliminate the threat we suggest that all infected users use a quality anti-spyware tool as it can both delete active infections with only a few mouse clicks and provide strong protection against all kinds of threats.

    SpyHunter anti-malware tool will diagnose all current threats on the computer. By purchasing the full version, you will be able to remove all malware threats instantly. Additional information about SpyHunter / Help to uninstall SpyHunter

    Note for Mac users!
    In case that your Mac has been affected by Browser Hijacker or you suspect that other threats are running on it you can follow detailed instructions on how to detect and remove Mac viruses so you can keep the device clean and secure. Browser Hijacker Removal Guide

    Manual removal of Browser Hijacker requires being familiar with system files and registries. Removal of any important data can lead to permanent system damage. You could prevent this troublesome effect and delete Browser Hijacker browser hijacker with SpyHunter malware removal tool.

    STEP I: Start the PC in Safe Mode with Network

    This will isolate all files and objects created by the browser hijacker so they will be removed efficiently.

      1) Hit WIN Key + R


      2) A Run window will appear. In it, write “msconfig” and then press Enter
      3) A Configuration box shall appear. In it Choose the tab named “Boot
      4) Mark “Safe Boot” option and then go to “Network” under it to tick it too
      5) Apply -> OK

    Or check our video guide – “How to start PC in Safe Mode with Networking

    STEP II: Remove Browser Hijacker from Windows

    Here’s a way to remove the program. This method will work regardless if you’re on Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP. Simply selecting the program and pressing delete won’t work, as it’ll leave a lot of small files. That’s bad because these leftovers can linger on and cause all sorts of problems. The best way to delete a program is to uninstall it. Here’s how you can do that:

      1) Hold the “Windows” button (It’s between CTRL and Alt on most keyboards) and press “R”. You’ll see a pop-up window.


      2) In the textbox, type “appwiz.cpl”, then press“ Enter ”.


      3) The “Programs and features” menu should now appear. It’s a list of all the programs installed on the PC. Here you can find the program, select it, and press “Uninstall“.


    STEP III: Remove Browser Hijacker From Your Browser

    Before resetting your browser’s settings, you should know that this action will wipe out all your recorded usernames, passwords, and other types of data. Make sure to save them in some way.

    Removal guide for Mozilla Firefox Removal guide for Google Chrome Removal guide for Internet Explorer

      1) Start Mozilla Firefox. In the upper right corner, click on the Open menu icon and select “Add-ons“.


      2) Inside the Add-ons Manager select “Extensions“. Search the list of extensions for suspicious entries. If you find any, select them and click “Remove“.


      3) Click again on the Open menu icon, then click “Options“.


      4) In the Options window, under “General” tab, click “Restore to Default“.


      5) Select “Search” in the left menu, mark the unknown search engine and press “Remove”.


        1) Start Google Chrome. On the upper-right corner, there a “Customize and Control” menu icon. Click on it, then click on “Settings“.


        2) Click “Extensions” in the left menu. Then click on the trash bin icon to remove the suspicious extension.


        3) Again in the left menu, under Chrome, Click on “Settings“. Go under “On Startup” and set a new page.


        4) Afterward, scroll down to “Search“, click on “Manage search engines“.


        5) In the default search settings list, find the unknown search engine and click on “X“. Then select your search engine of choice and click “Make default“. When you are ready click “Done” button in the right bottom corner.

      1) Start Internet Explorer. Go to the “Tools” menu and click on “Manage add-ons“.


      2) In the “Manage add-ons” window, bellow “Add-on Types“, select “Toolbars and Extensions“. If you see a suspicious toolbar, select it and click “Remove“.


      3) Then again in the “Manage Add-ons” window, in “Add-on Types“, Select “Search Providers“. Chose a search engine and click “Set as default“. Select the unknown search engine and click “Remove and Close”.


      4) Open the Tools menu, select “Internet Options”.


      5) In the “General” tab, in “Home page”, enter your preferred page. Click “Apply” and “OK”.


    STEP IV: Remove Completely Browser Hijacker Browser Hijacker Using SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

    Manual removal of Browser Hijacker requires being familiar with system files and registries. Removal of any important data can lead to permanent system damage. Prevent this troublesome effect – delete Browser Hijacker browser hijacker with SpyHunter malware removal tool.

    SpyHunter anti-malware tool will diagnose all current threats on the computer. By purchasing the full version, you will be able to remove all malware threats instantly. Additional information about SpyHunter / Help to uninstall SpyHunter

    STEP V: Repair Windows Registry

      1) Again type simultaneously the Windows Button + R key combination
      2) In the box, write “regedit”(without the inverted commas) and hit Enter
      3) Type the CTRL+F and then write the malicious name in the search type field to locate the malicious executable
      4) In case you have discovered registry keys and values related to the name, you should delete them, but be careful not to delete legitimate keys

    Further help for Windows Registry repair

    STEP VI: Preventive Security Measures

      1) Enable and properly configure your Firewall.
      2) Install and maintain reliable anti-malware software.
      3) Secure your web browser.
      4) Check regularly for available software updates and apply them.
      5) Disable macros in Office documents.
      6) Use strong passwords.
      7) Don’t open attachments or click on links unless you’re certain they’re safe.
      8) Backup regularly your data.

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Author : Martin Beltov

Martin graduated with a degree in Publishing from Sofia University. As a cyber security enthusiast he enjoys writing about the latest threats and mechanisms of intrusion.

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