What is Mega! Search?
Mega! Search is often called a browser hijacker because it takes control of the web browser and does things you may not want to do, such as changing your current search engine, or setting a particular web page as the default home page. Many people just call it a virus or malware. Security professionals generally call it a "PUP" or potentially unwanted program. Users who are victims to it tend to have less polite names for them.
Mega! Search comes bundled as part of various other applications and add-ons. In some cases, the "typical" installation already includes the add-on and the only way to turn it off is to use the "custom" installation, which many users won't do.
Mega! Search Details
- Browser Hijacker Name: Mega! Search
- Risk Level: Medium
- Date Discovered: 18/09/2016
- File Length: Unknown
- Subtype: Browser Hijackers
- Category: Browser Hijackers
Mega! Search Aliases
Mega! Search is also known by these other aliases:
What are browser hijackers?
A browser hacker is a malicious program that changes web browser settings without the user's permission and redirects the user to websites they did not want to visit. Often referred to as browser redirection viruses because they redirect the browser to other, usually malicious, websites, a browser hacker is used to hack the browser.
A browser hijacker like Mega! Search can change the browser's default search engine or home page, slow down the loading of web pages, install multiple toolbars in the browser without the user's permission, and generate multiple contextual warnings for ads.
The purpose of a browser hijacker is to help cybercriminals generate fraudulent advertising revenue. For example, a browser redirects the victim's home page to the hijacker's search page, then the hijacker redirects the victim's search requests to links that the hijacker wants to show to the victim instead of legitimizing search engine results. When the user clicks on the search results, the hijacker is paid. The cybercriminal may also sell information about victims' browsing habits to third parties for marketing purposes.
A browser hijacker may contain spyware that allows the attacker to obtain the user's bank details or other sensitive information. Browser hijacker malware can also install ransom software, malware that encrypts data on the victim's system and holds it hostage until the victim pays a sum of money to the kidnappers to unlock them.
How did Mega! Search get on my Computer?
There are usually two ways Mega! Search can enter into your computer. In the first case, you will be tempted to install them via malicious links exchanged by email, instant messaging or some websites.
In the second method, they are provided with real software that is otherwise perfectly functional and usable, but if you install it on your computer, you also install the browser pirate with it. It affects both Chrome, Firefox and the IE Edge browser.
Symptoms of Mega! Search?
Here are some typical signs that you have Mega! Search on your system:
- The search engine of your browser will be modified without your consent.
- The homepage of your web browser has mysteriously changed without your consent.
- The web pages you usually visit are not displayed correctly.
- New toolbars, extensions or plugins suddenly fill your browser.
How to remove Mega! Search?
Some antivirus software warns users of the presence of Mega! Search browser hijackers, but some new hijackers may not be detected or the security software may not be able to eliminate the intruder. In these cases, users will need to reinstall their browser to regain control of the user interface.
In extreme cases, the hijacker reinstalls himself in the browser, and users may need to delete the content of their computer, install a new operating system and the latest version of the browser, and restore their personal files from a backup.
Method 1: Remove suspicious and unnecessary toolbars and extensions. They can be reinstalled, so it may be wise to delete everything. Then close your browser and restart your computer.
Once your computer has been restarted, make sure that what you deleted is still gone. If so, change your browser settings (default search engine, home page, etc.) to ensure that what you have deleted has always disappeared. - and everything will be back to normal. If you are still being redirected or if an extension is not uninstalled, you must go further.
Method 2: Clear your DNS cache. On Windows, you must open the command prompt and type the following:
- Press "enter" and clear the DNS cache. You will then see "Windows IP Configuration successfully cleared the DNS resolver cache".
- If you clear it, the DNS redirections in your network configuration will be restored.
Method 3: Browse your Add/Remove Programs section and delete applications connected to the browser hacker. If you do not see something, make sure you scan it before you delete it, preferably on an uninfected device.
Restart the computer and check that the problem is solved.
Method 4: Check your proxy settings again. Some browser hackers may even modify the Internet server you use to connect to the Web. Simply removing the malware or the malware itself does not change anything, so it is an important step in restoring your computer.
- To access your proxy settings, go first to the Control Panel, then to Network and Internet, then to Internet Options.
- In the Internet Options menu, go to the Connections tab. Press the LAN Settings button.
- Make sure that the automatic detection settings are enabled and that the other two options "Use automatic configuration script" and "Use proxy server for your LAN" are not empty.
Browser hijacking is common and, in many cases, users are unaware that their browser is infected with some malware.
It is therefore important to always read carefully the steps of the installation process and check the unexpected boxes that can be checked by default. In addition, never open URLs or attachments in emails you do not trust.
Caution should also be exercised with browser extensions, as many browser extensions are generally outdated and are therefore misused by hackers for fraudulent activities. Hackers themselves design browser extensions to infect them later with malicious scripts.
Every time you surf the web and are prohibited from visiting a website, and Google's secure browsing list appears with a warning message, it is best not to ignore it or visit the site anyway.
The good news is that browser hacking doesn't have to happen to you now that you know what it is. Remember these methods to avoid it, and you will not fall in love with fraudulent scammers!