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Danger level 8
Type: Browser Hijackers
Common infection symptoms:
  • Hijacks homepage
  • Changes default search engine may appear in your browsers as your home page and you may not even realize this browser setting change because this questionable search engine looks very similar to reputable search engines. It is quite likely that you do not even remember installing this search engine and yet it is there every time you launch your affected browsers, including Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer as well. We have labeled this infection as a browser hijacker. As a matter of fact, this malware is nothing new for us since we have seen a number of very similar hijackers emerging and belonging to the so-called Elex family, such as and This malware infection may expose you to unreliable third-party ads and questionable search results as well. If you do not want to experience online scams first hand or infect your computer with more malware programs, we suggest that you remove right away.

Even if you do not recall installing this search engine, you should know that it was most likely you who let this infection enter your computer. The reason why you may not remember is that this browser hijacker is mostly distributed in free software bundles. It is easier to get infected with a bundle of threats than you would think; and, there is no magic behind it either. It is enough for you to click on the wrong content and there you go. This can happen when you accidentally or knowingly land on suspicious websites associated with file sharing (torrent and shareware), gaming, and gambling.

You may, for example, search the web for a free program or a movie to download and your search results return with a couple of fake or malicious file-sharing websites on the first page. This is possible even if you are using a reputable search engine. If you click on corrupt content on such a page, such as a fake download button or link, or any annoying pop-up ad, you may download a malicious third-party installer packed with malware threats like this hijacker. If this may have happened to you, it is essential that you run a malware scanner right after you delete from your browsers because you cannot leave any other malware infections on board.

Another way to be introduced to unsafe ads is to have an adware program or a browser hijacker on your system. It is quite possible that if you let malware infections on board this time that it is not the first time this has happened. Such infections can present to you unreliable ads and links that can either take you to malicious websites or drop bundled malware infections onto your machine. As you can see now, it does not matter how this threat ended up on your computer, it is most likely that it did not travel alone. This means that it is not enough for you to remove alone, as we have already mentioned, it is best to run a malware scanner to identify all other threats as well.

This questionable search engine page may display a potentially unreliable third-party ad on its main page. Clicking on this ad could take you to unsafe websites or even drop an infection. However, the main threat source comes from the search engine, i.e., when you run a web search. Your queries are redirected to a Google search results page that could be modified by potentially unsafe third-party advertisements and sponsored links. Since this hijacker may collect information about you and your browsing activities, it is possible that you would see relevant-looking content. However, crooks may exploit this feature and lure you onto their malicious sites by using customized ads and links as bait. This is how a lot of unsuspecting computer users actually become victims of online scams. You may, for instance, end up on a fake webshop site where you could share your banking data and personal information with cyber criminals while you believe that you are purchasing a long-wanted product for the cheapest available price. If you would like to avoid such nightmarish situations and losing your money, we recommend that you delete from your browsers.

We have found that this browser hijacker may only alter your home page settings. Therefore, it could be enough to restore that setting in the affected browsers. We have prepared manual removal instructions for you below if you want to eliminate this hijacker yourself. But it is possible that there are other browser-related threats still resident in your browsers, such as ad-supported applications and other hijackers; therefore, it may be a good idea to reset all your browsers if restoring your home page settings would be suffice. As a matter of fact, there could be other malware infections as well. This is why we suggest that you start using a reliable anti-malware program, such as SpyHunter to automatically defend your system from all kinds of malicious attacks.

How to remove from browsers

Internet Explorer

  1. Tap Win+Q and type in regedit. Press the Enter key.
  2. Modify value data “” in the following registry keys:
    HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\Start Page (64-bit!)
    HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\Start Page
    HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\Start Page
  3. Open “HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes\{0633EE93-D776-472f-A0FF-E1416B8B2E3A}” registry key and overwrite the value data in the following value names:
    FaviconURL (“”)
    FaviconURLFallback (“”)
    TopResultURL (“”)
    URL (“”)
  4. Exit the editor.

Mozilla Firefox

  1. Tap Win+E.
  2. Open the “%AppData%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\{Unique Mozilla user ID}” folder.
  3. Open the prefs.js file in a text editor (Notepad).
  4. Replace the URL in the user_pref("browser.startup.homepage", "") string with a home page URL you want to see.
  5. Restart your browser.

Google Chrome

  1. Tap Win+E.
  2. Open the “%LocalAppData%\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default” folder.
  3. Delete Preferences, Secure Preferences, and Web Data files.
  4. Empty your Recycle Bin.
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