If your browser’s homepage and search engine mysteriously change to Yahoo!, your computer is likely infected with a browser hijacker. Although resetting your browser might seem to fix the problem, here’s how to do the job correctly.
What is a browser hijacker virus?
A browser hijacker is probably one of the least aggressive and least destructive types of malware, but that doesn’t mean you should allow it to exist on your computer. They are designed to make changes to the infected computer’s browser settings so that the malware distributor’s beneficial advertisement or page is displayed instead of your chosen one.
Since people who spread this type of virus somehow benefit from the change of search engine or homepage, it is unlikely that a hijacker will cause the blocking or the inactivity of your computer. However, this can cause performance issues and may also indicate that your computer is infected with other malware.
In this case, the virus is probably the “search.yahoo.com redirect virus”. When you open your browser, this virus redirects you to Yahoo homepage through an intermediary website. If you click on any of the links on the Yahoo home page, all revenue from those clicks will go to the intermediary website owner.
It should be noted that this is not Yahoo’s fault, and search.yahoo.com is a real page used by millions of people daily. Yahoo simply treats the intermediary site as a referring site, without knowing that you have been redirected through it by nefarious means.
Yahoo Redirect Virus Removal
First, try to figure out how the malware entered your computer. Browser hijackers often spread by being bundled with other software. It could be a free app you installed or a browser extension you added.
Sometimes the PUA (Potentially Unwanted App) is highlighted during the installation process. You may be asked if you also want to install a supposedly beneficial tool alongside the app you are installing, or even asked if you want to let the app change your search engine or your home page. In other cases, the hijacker may be completely hidden and you have no option to refuse its installation.
If you recently added new software, consider uninstalling it from your computer. At the very least, search online for “name of software/extension” + “malware” and see if anyone else has experienced the same issues. This will allow you to narrow down your list of extensions or software to remove.
The next thing to do is a full antivirus scan using reputable and reliable antivirus software. Browser hijackers aren’t particularly sophisticated viruses and shouldn’t be too hard to find and remove for a good antivirus scanner.
A quick scan will often find browser hijackers, but we still suggest performing a full or full scan. Since browser hijackers are sometimes a sign that your computer has other infections, it’s a good idea to let your anti-virus software do a thorough check of your system.
If you don’t already have one installed, our roundup of the best antivirus software in 2022 will help you find some.
Reset your browser
The last step is to reset your browser settings. It is sometimes said that this is the only thing you need to do to fix the problem of your homepage and search engine switching to Yahoo, but this really only addresses the symptom and not the cause. Once you have removed the virus, find the instructions for your browser below.
- To reset Chrome, open the browser and click the menu button.
- In Settings, expand the Advanced section and click “Reset and clean up”.
- To be thorough, click “Clean up computer” and then click the “Search” button. Follow the instructions if harmful software is detected.
- Back in the Reset and cleanup section, click on “Restore settings to their original defaults”.
Be aware that this will disable all of your extensions, delete cookies and temporary site data, and reset things like Chrome Shortcuts. It will not delete saved bookmarks, history or passwords.
RELATED: How to Reset Chrome Settings to Default
Safari used to have a Reset Safari button in Settings, but now requires you to take several steps to achieve a similar result.
- Open Safari, then open the preferences by clicking on “Safari > Preferences”.
- Select “Advanced“ then check the box next to “Show Develop menu in menu bar”.
- Select the “Develop” tab and click on “Empty caches”.
- Click “History” on the top taskbar and clear the search history. This step is not essential for this problem, but it is still a good idea to do it.
- Go back to Safari Preferences and click “Privacy > Manage Website Data“ then click “Delete All”.
- Click on “Extensions“ and select any extensions you are suspicious of to disable them.
- Finally, restart Safari to verify that all your changes have been applied.
- To reset Firefox, open the browser and click the menu button in the upper right corner.
- Select “Help“ in the menu, then click “More troubleshooting information”.
- On the Troubleshooting Information screen, click “Refresh Firefox“ button.
- Click on “Refresh Firefox“ again on the pop-up alert.
Firefox extensions and customizations will be removed. Essential information such as saved bookmarks and passwords will not be reset.
- Resetting Edge is very simple. Click the menu button in the upper right corner and select “Settings”.
- In the settings sidebar menu, click “Reset settings”.
- Click “Restore settings to default” then click “Reset”.
As with other browser resets, extensions and settings will be reset to default, but bookmarks and passwords will remain.