A browser hijacker is a malicious extension or add-on for internet apps that primarily aims to modify web browser settings. It replaces the current default search engine, home page, and new tab page into a different URL. Instead of the usual homepage and search tool, a browser hijacker will assign a malicious web link as its default settings. For you to further understand, we will discuss details about Searches Central Tab by Search Smart as clear example.
About Searches Central Tab
Searches Central Tab is an application that hijacks web browsers and selects Hp.hsearchescentral.com as the default setting. This new web URL provides all the search results. Unfortunately, it is only limited, possibly inaccurate, and unreliable. Similarly, it can present internet users with questionable contents or unpleasant subjects coming from dubious website sources.
Developers designed Searches Central Tab to generate intrusive ads in various types such as pop-ups, banners, or push notifications. Ads by Searches Central Tab usually promote imitations, or fake software downloads. It will show persistently convincing online users to click on ads. Searches Central Tab also injects browser redirects, which aims to connect web users with dubious sites. Pop-ups and redirects from this dodgy websites may include scams, phishing sites, adult-oriented pages, or any suspicious websites imposing risks to internet users.
Risk to privacy and security
Searches Central Tab is a Potentially Unwanted program (PUP). It is very common for PUP’s to track browsing habits of online users. This operation of Searches Central Tab towards the browser could pose threat to the safety of computers and users. Moreover, Searches Central Tab also has the ability to locate personal details about internet users. Such data may include contact numbers, location, user name, passwords, and even credit card and bank account details. Nevertheless, it does not end there; Searches Central Tab developers can negotiate with other parties involving cyber criminals to sell the data to generate revenue. To avoid this kind of problem, uninstalling Searches Central Tab as earlier as possible is a good option.
Infiltration of Searches Central Tab
Since Searches Central Tab is an unwanted application that can penetrate into computers without consent of online users. In short, this malicious software can enter into the operating system in a very secretive way. PUP’s like Searches Central Tab are usually an extra program or optional install coming from a certain bundled application downloaded from the internet. Developers market their malicious software by bundling it with other programs or freeware. Unfortunately, nearly none of these installers discloses that there is some other app to include on the installation process. In that way, web users might be clueless that unwanted software is entering their computer.
Searches Central Tab Removal Procedure
Below is a systematic instruction that is very useful in getting rid of the potentially unwanted program (PUP) from compromised computer.
In order to totally eliminate the threat, it is vital to follow the process in exact manner.
Stage 1: Delete Browser Extension
Most adware and unwanted programs are using a program called browser extension to be able to take over the settings of internet applications. Therefore, we highly recommend to check and remove the extension that is closely related to Searches Central Tab.
Remove Searches Central Tab Extension from Google Chrome
1. Open Google Chrome browser.
2. Type chrome://extensions/ in the address bar and press Enter on keyboard.
3. Find Searches Central Tab by Search Smart or relevant entry and remove it from Google Chrome.
Uninstall Searches Central Tab Extension from Firefox
1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser.
2. Type about:addons in the address bar and press Enter on keyboard.
3. Choose Extensions on sidebar menu.
4. Look for object that is pertaining to Searches Central Tab by Search Smart and remove it from the browser.
Delete Searches Central Tab Extension from Safari
1. Run Safari browser application.
2. Click on Safari Settings icon located on upper right corner of the window.
3. Choose Preferences from the drop-down list.
4. On Extension window, select Extensions tab.
5. Select Searches Central Tab by Search Smart or relevant entry and remove it from Safari.
6. Lastly, go to Safari Settings once again and select Downloads from the drop down list.
7. If Searchescentraltab.safariextz is present, click on Clear button to remove the unwanted extension.
Remove Searches Central Tab Add-ons from Internet Explorer
1. Open Internet Explorer program.
2. Go to top Menu and click Tools. Then, select Manage Add-ons from the drop-down list.
3. Look for and Remove or Disable entries of Searches Central Tab from Toolbars and Extension and Search Providers section.
4. Close the window and restart Internet Explorer.
If Searches Central Tab is still present on the IE browser, another option is to remove the adware from Windows Control Panel.
5. Press Windows Key + R and then, type appwiz.cpl command.
6. Program and Features window will open. Arrange the list in chronological manner with recently installed applications on top. To do this, click on ‘Installed On‘ column.
7. Select Searches Central Tab by Search Smart or recently installed unwanted entry. Then, click on Uninstall to remove it from Windows system.
Stage 2: Scan and Delete Adware with AdwCleaner
In addition to the procedure, we suggest scanning the computer with AdwCleaner tool. Possibly, there are some traces of Searches Central Tab on the browser that was not deleted during the preceding steps. This tool will scan the computer and check for presence of malicious applications.
1. Follow the link below to download the tool called AdwCleaner.
Click here to download AdwCleaner (this will open a new window)
2. When the download has completed, please close all running programs on the computer especially browsers affected by Searches Central Tab.
3. Browse the location of the downloaded file and double-click on adwcleaner_Ver.exe to start running the tool. Then, click on Scan button.
4. AdwCleaner searches the computer for malicious programs, extensions, plug-ins, adware, and any items that may be associated to Searches Central Tab.
5. Clean or Remove all suspicious and harmful items identified after the thorough scan.
6. After the cleanup procedure, rebooting the computer is required to finalize the removal of detected threats.
Stage 3: Scan the Computer with Sophos Virus Removal Tool
Lastly, we will scan the computer with a multi-function security program. This will inspect the computer for possible presence of virus, malware, rootkit, adware as well as unwanted homepage like Searches Central Tab.
1. Download Sophos Virus Removal Tool from the link below. Save the file on your computer where you can easily access it.
Sophos Virus Removal Tool Download Link (this will open a new window)
2. Once the download completes, browse the location of the file. Double-click to run the program and begin the install process. If Windows prompts for User Account Control, please click Yes to proceed.
3. On first windows of installation wizard, click Next to continue. Then, it will display the program’s License Agreement. You need to Accept the terms in order to proceed.
4. On succeeding windows, click Next or Continue to carry on with the installation. After completing the installation process, Launch Sophos Virus Removal Tool.
5. Internet connection is required when running this scanner in order to download important updates. Make sure that everything is up-to-date to effectively remove malicious program like Searches Central Tab.
6. Click the button to carry out the Scan. This will check the system for presence of malicious objects, malware, and viruses. The tool reveals items that were found linked to Searches Central Tab and other suspicious entities. Be sure to remove all identified threats.
Option: Alternative Method to Clean Up Internet Browser from Searches Central Tab
Not all adware and PUP’s are the same. Some cannot be removed by deleting relevant extensions and codes. On this instances, resetting the browser to default configuration is the only best solution. If Searches Central Tab is still bothering you after completing all the steps above, please execute the procedures below to reset the settings of affected browser program.
Use Chrome Clean Up Tool to Delete Searches Central Tab
1. Open Google Chrome application.
2. Type this strings in the address box: chrome://settings/ and then, press Enter on keyboard.
3. Scroll down and expand Advanced settings area.
4. Scroll to the bottom of the page until you see Reset and Cleanup section.
5. Click on Clean Up Computer. On next page, please click FIND to proceed.
This feature of Google Chrome aims to find harmful software and remove it instantly. If unable to delete Searches Central Tab, the other option is to Reset Google Chrome settings to its original defaults. Just go back to previous page (Clean Up Computer) and reset the settings. See more details on this page.
Reset Mozilla Firefox to Default
If Mozilla Firefox is affected by Searches Central Tab and procedures above were not helpful, we suggest that you carry out these steps. This process can fix the issue by restoring Firefox browser to default factory state. Most browser data will be affected but not bookmarks, browsing history, passwords, and internet cookies. Extensions and other installed plug-ins maybe deleted by this function. Therefore, if you wish to remove specific extension only, please see manual add-on removal from this link.
1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and type the following in the address bar: about:support
2. Browser will be directed to a page of Troubleshooting Information. You will notice a section on upper-right corner of the screen stating ‘Give Firefox a Tune Up‘. Click the Refresh Firefox button.
3. Confirmation window will pop-up, click Refresh Firefox to continue.
4. The reset process will automatically close the browser and proceed with the restoration. Next, it will display a list of restored data. Searches Central Tab should be gone by now. Click Finish to close the current window and open a fresh window of Mozilla Firefox.
Reset Safari Browser to Normal Settings
1. Open Safari browser.
2. Click on the Safari Settings icon located on upper right corner of the browser window.
3. Select Reset Safari from the drop-down list.
4. Pop-up window will appear. You may select all boxes for total reset or follow the options below if you only want to remove Searches Central Tab from Safari browser.
5. Please restart Safari browser for changes to take effect.