Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

You will need to start taking the basic steps for removing malware from your machine. Even if it wasn't intended as malware, it is acting like it.

I am so frustrated! I have accidentally downloaded something that has hijacked my search engine in Google Chrome. I tried getting help elsewhere and followed their instructions. I checked to see what search engines were listed in my settings, options and it's not listed there. I checked my extensions and it's not listed there. I copied this from my address line. I checked my installed programs and it's not listed there either. I'm at a loss. I have a little HP mini-laptop running Windows XP. Here's what pops up in my address line and hijacks my searches (and the URL listed is something that contains "funmoods.com" as it's domain name).

In this excerpt from Answercast #49, I look at a search engine that seems to be hijacked by funmoods. Looks like time for some malware cleaning.

Hijacked search engine

If something is hijacking your searches:

  • And it isn't present as an extension;

  • And it isn't present as a search option in your browser;

  • And it isn't available in add/remove programs;

Then it is my strong belief that what you have would be better classified as "malware." You've got an infection on your machine that's doing this.

Remove malware

My strong recommendation is that you run up-to-date anti-virus scans, up-to-date anti-spyware scans, and up-to-date scans using a tool called Malwarebytes. It's a free tool from Malwarebytes.org.

That is the way that I typically recommend anybody begin when they suspect that their machine has been infected with some form of malware.

  • And something that hijacks your search engines and does not give you an opportunity to remove it or bypass it...

  • Clearly, in my mind, qualifies as malware.

My guess is that if your anti-spyware solution doesn't knock it out, there's a very good chance that Malwarebytes.org's will.

End of Answercast #49 Back to - Audio Segment

Article C5770 - September 3, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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7 Comments
Bob
September 4, 2012 9:07 AM

I see similar things in the products I use, though not as aggressive. It sometimes boils down to toolbars.
I know for a fact that if I open an empty tab in my browser, I will get the sponsored search engine page from one of my toolbars as the 'empty' tab. I just open the bookmark for my favorite search engine over the top of it. If this is also 'hijacked' then I would it was definately malware.

Suzie
September 4, 2012 9:12 AM

I went to Firefox and immediately got inbox.com and my computer was a mess. Then I lost my aol browser and tried to reload at softronic and immediately it starting downloading babylon and that finished off my computer. All I could get was babylon and aol was finished. I have malware byes anti malware (paid for). I have avg 12 free and superantispyware free edition. How do these thing's keep getting control. I didn't actually download any of them. My computer is less than 13 month's old and I think I might have to throw it away.

connie
September 4, 2012 10:58 AM

@Suzie,
When malware has you that badly... it's time to reformat. That's a lot cheaper than buying a new computer!

Here's an article from Leo on reformatting and reinstalling:
How do I reformat and reinstall Windows?

RJ
September 4, 2012 11:23 AM

I had that problem, I had to run malware bytes and Norton in safe mode. I also reinstalled firefox and chrome to fix it

Roger Stone
September 4, 2012 1:46 PM

I had same problem - spent about $100 dollars on
every kind of removal purchases to no avail. Even
Norton security did not recognize it. Had to completely dump and reload my "C" drive. Also
using different search engine other than IE. At
present using Maxthon engine in Win 7 & Norton
security. Run Malware & CCleaner regularly and keep all drives up to date - No Problems now!!!!

Peter B
September 4, 2012 3:04 PM

Firstly follows Leo's advice. If that doesn't work, then it could be worth downloading HiJack This from the internet, which lists out (almost?) all of the potential places where something like this could hide. The best option (for others but not you) is to run and store a report from this program when things are well - then if / when you have a problem, a comparison between the old and new reports could point you at the problem. There are forums where you can post the output and get advice from experts. Do note that this program does have the power to completely wreck your Windows setup (by updating / deleting whatever entries you tell it to), so do be very careful (and certain) before you make changes. On the other hand, if you are almost at the re-install from scratch / restore latest backup stage, then it doesn't matter so much. It is safe to run in 'scan and report' mode - there are no doubt tutorials on the internet.

Steve Thompson
September 5, 2012 8:29 AM

An anti-virus and Malwarebytes may not resolve the issue. I have found that often, a Google redirect may be related to a rootkit. If after running a full scan with your anti-virus and a full scan with Malwarebytes, your searches are still being redirected, get a rootkit removal software (there are several good free ones) and run that. I bet that it will find an infection, and removal of that will correct the problem. Also, you should check that you have not become the victim of a proxy hijack (check your browser's tools, Internet options, connections, LAN settings), and remove the proxy server if one is found there.

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