Does anyone know how to remove Default-search.net from the PC? Recently My Chrome browser is controlled by this weird site and every time I start Chrome, the URL opens automatically in a new tab:
No matter how many times I try to remove it from my search engine and reset my homepage, the URL keeps coming back. My Norton found nothing suspicious and I’m running out of ideas. Is there any way to remove this thing permanently from Chrome? I don’t trust this site but don’t know which security product is able to get rid of this virus? Please help.
What is Default-search.net?
Default-search.net developed by Aztec Media Inc is classified as a browser hijacker/ potentially unwanted program. It can be bundled with other free applications and installed on your PC when you download and install other free software without knowledge. Once inside, it may make changes on the default homepage, default search engines, new tab and other settings of many popular web browsers including Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, etc. If your computer is affected by this threat, your browser homepage will be changed to Default-search.net (as the image below showed).
From the image above, we can see that the website looks like Google, Bing and other famous search providers. But there are also differences between them. Similar to other browser hijackers, this site is used to boost advertising revenue, as in the use of blackhat SEO, to inflate a site’s page ranking in search results. It displays advertisements in the homepage and also causes browser redirection issues. Under the search box, there is often an advertisement asking if you want to download some product to scan your PC for errors or viruses or with other attractive content. If you do a search using its search service, many sponsored ads related to what you searched for will be displayed in the search results. For the sake of your computer we suggest you not click on those links from unknown vendors, otherwise some useless or even malicious programs may be downloaded and installed on your machine. In addition, the titles like “Images”, “Videos”, “Shopping”, “News” and “Games” in the navigation bar at the bottom of the page will redirect you to other websites.
Usually, certain unwanted programs like Settings Manager, Assets Manager and Linkey that are developed by Aztec Media Inc or other potentially unwanted programs may be installed on your PC. You might see a pop-up from Settings Manager application appears in the bottom right of the screen informing you of blocking a new browser add-on or extension.
Due to those unexpected apps and browser hijacking issues, your computer performance may slow down and your browsing experience will be affected. Moreover, the browser hijacker collects your certain non-personally identifiable information, including your IP address, browser type and version, internet service provider (ISP), cookie information, and the webpage that you visit using cookies. This may result in privacy issues or Identity Theft problems. Please be attentive when surfing the Internet and be cautious of information disclosure.
Note: To protect your computer from Default-search.net browser hijacker and make sure that your computer is free of virus, we strongly suggest that you run a free virus scanner now to perform a scan of the system. If any threats are found, delete them immediately.
How to remove Default-search.net from your PC completely?
The following steps show you how to delete the browser hijacker completely and reset the browser settings.
Step1: Remove Default-search.net and other threats by using SpyHunter
SpyHunter is able to detect and remove potentially unwanted programs like adware and browsers hijackers and other malicious cyber infections. To make sure that there are no other viruses on your machine, we suggest you perform a scan of the system with SpyHunter. It can scan the PC and clear all the threats on your PC completely.
Click the icon below to download SpyHunter.
Once you download spyhunter-installer.exe, run it and follow the setup wizard to complete the installation. In the final step of the installation process, click on Finish button. SpyHunter will run automatically soon.
Once started, SpyHunter begins to scan your system files, registry, driver, etc. This may take a few minutes to complete. Then Default-search.net and other threats will be detected and their basic information and components will also be displayed in the results.
Once the scanning is completed, all the infections on your PC will be listed in the scan results. Make sure that they are selected and then click on Fix Threats button.
Note: SpyHunter can help you free scan the threats on the PC, but you need to purchase its full version to fully clear the infections.
Step2: Uninstall Default-search.net related programs and browser add-ons
As the browser hijacker is usually bundled with other applications like Settings Manager, Assets Manager and Linkey, you need to go to the Windows Control Panel and uninstall those unwanted programs completely.
Click on Start button -> Settings -> System -> Apps & Features. All the installed programs will be displayed on the right pane. Scroll down to find the programs that are associated with the browser hijacker. Uninstall them by selecting them and then clicking on the Uninstall button. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the software removal.
Press Windows key + X key on the keyboard -> Select Programs and Features on the Power User Menu.
In the Programs and Features screen, find the programs related to the browser hijacker and click on Uninstall button to uninstall them.
Click on Start button -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features (View by: Large Icons) or Uninstall a program under Programs (View by: Category). When the Programs and Features window appears, select the programs developed by Aztec Media Inc or other potentially unwanted programs, then click on Uninstall button to remove them.
Click on Start button -> Control Panel -> Add/Remove Programs. When all the installed programs are displayed in the screen, scroll down and find the programs related to Default-search.net and click Remove button to uninstall them.
Note: Some browser toolbars or add-ons which are added to your PC by the potentially unwanted programs may not be showed in the Windows Control Panel. You need to check the browser extensions and remove them.
Click on Tools -> Manage Add-ons.
Click on Toolbars and Extensions and see if there are unfamiliar add-ons, such as Default-Search, Linkey or Settings Manager, on the right pane. If any is found, you need to select it then click on Disable or Remove button.
Click on Tools on the menu bar or Firefox menu on the top right corner of the browser > Add-ons -> Extensions.
Find the add-ons like Default-Search, Linkey or Settings Manager and remove them by clicking on the Remove button.
Click on the Chrome menu button on the top right corner of the browser -> More Tools -> Extensions.
Find and remove extensions such as Default-Search, Linkey or Settings Manager or other suspicious ones by clicking on the trashcan icon.
Step3: Remove Default-search.net from browser homepage and search engines
The browser hijacker is able to alter the default homepage and search engine. Even if relevant programs have been removed, you need to repair the browser settings yourself.
Click on the Tools or the IE menu icon -> Select Internet Options.
In the Internet Options window, click the General tab -> have a look at the Home page field -> delete Default-search.net if it is found there -> type the address of the website that you’d like to set as the default homepage ->Click OK to save the changes.
Click on Tools on the menu bar or the IE menu icon -> select Manage add-ons.
Click on Search Providers under Add-on Types in the Manage Add-ons window -> Find the search engine related to the browser hijacker -> select it and click Remove button -> click Close button. To set a preferred search engine such as Google, select it -> click Set as default to set it as the default search provider.
Click on Tools or the Firefox menu -> select Options.
In the Options page, select the General on the left side -> Startup -> set When Firefox starts: to Show my home page -> delete Default-search.net from the Home Page field if the homepage was set to it -> enter the address of the website that you’d like to set as homepage or choose to use a blank page as the homepage.
Click on Tools or the Firefox menu -> select Options.
Click on Search on the left side -> go to Default Search Engines on the right pane -> replace Default-search.net with the one you’d like to set as the default search engine.
To delete the unwanted search engine, under One-click search engines section, select Default-search.net or other search engine are strange to you -> click on Remove button. Close the page and the changes will be saved.
Click on Chrome menu button -> select Settings.
Go to On startup section -> select Open a specific page or set of pages ->click the Set pages -> if the unwanted site appears in the startup page, delete it by clicking on the “X” button -> Type in the address of your preferred page -> click on OK to save the changes.
Scroll down to Appearance -> Open Homepage button -> click on Change link -> Delete Default-search.net if it is set as the homepage by clicking on the “X” button -> Enter the URL you prefer in the box -> Click OK to save the changes.
Click on Chrome menu button -> select Settings.
Go to the Search section -> click on the arrow button and a list of search providers will be displayed -> select the preferred search engine such as Google to replace the unwanted one.
To delete Default-search.net from Chrome search engine, click on Manage search engines… link -> Find the unwanted search engine and remove it by clicking on the “X” icon -> Click on OK button to save the changes.
[toggle Title=”Step4: Restore the browser settings to defaults (Optional)”]
If Default-search.net keep coming back after you reset the homepage and search engine by following the steps above, you may consider restoring the browser settings to the original settings.
Click on Tools -> select Internet Options.
Select Advanced tab -> click on Reset button.
In the Reset Internet Explorer Settings dialog box, click on Reset.
When Internet Explorer finishes applying default settings, click on Close, and then click OK.
Click on Help on the menu bar ->click on Troubleshooting Information.
Click on Fresh Firefox… button to restore Firefox browser settings.
Click on Refresh Firefox button in the pop-up window to confirm it.
Click on the Chrome menu icon in the upper right corner of the browser -> click on Settings.
Type reset in the search box in the chrome://settings/ page and quickly locate to and click the reset browser settings.
Click on Reset button when the box asking for your confirmation pops up.
How to prevent browser hijackers like Default-search.net?
Since browser hijackers are usually distributed via free downloads from the Internet, spam emails or drive-by downloads, you need to be very cautious when surfing the Internet, especially downloading and installing free applications. Here’re several suggestions that help avoid installing such unwanted programs.
- Never visit malicious websites. If you visit a website that has been compromised, please exit immediately. Otherwise, some malicious applications may be installed on your PC and your browser settings may be changed.
- Be careful if you download freeware from the Internet. Browser hijackers and other additional items may be bundled with those free applications and installed on the computer without your knowledge. Always choose the Custom/Advanced install and read end user license agreement (EULA) documents carefully when installing programs.
- Keep your Windows and software, especially the browsers, updated. This prevents the potentially unwanted programs from exploiting the vulnerability on your system to harm your PC.
- Download and install an advanced and comprehensive antivirus program, like SpyHunter anti-malware, to protect your computer from various cyber infections and block malicious cyber attacks.
Note: Follow the instructions in this post and Default-search.net should be removed from your computer. If you are an advanced computer user, you can also try modifying the Windows registry to completely get rid of the traces of the browser hijacker. But this procedure is quite risky and complicated, we advise you to download and install a powerful anti-malware program to remove Default-search.net completely and protect the system effectively.