What is Hao123.com?
The Hao123.com website was created by Baidu (one of the largest web services companies in China). This is a legitimate website, which enhances Internet users’ browsing experience by providing easy access to trending sites, quick Internet search access, etc.
While this site is not malicious, many computer users refer to it as the Hao123.com virus. These associations are made since the site is promoted using ‘Hao123 client’, a program provided as free software. This software modifies Internet browser settings and sets Hao123.com as the user’s default search engine and homepage.
Hao123 client is promoted via free download websites using ‘download clients’, which offer installation of additional promoted software to users downloading freeware. When installing free software downloaded from the Internet, users are advised to inspect each installation step and select the ‘Custom’ or ‘Advanced’ options, rather than ‘Quick’ or ‘Typical’.
After choosing advanced installation, ensure that you opt-out of installation of additional browser toolbars or add-ons and disallow any suggested changes to your Internet browser settings.
Threat Summary: Name br.hao123.com or en.hao123.com virus Threat Type Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab Symptoms Manipulated Internet browser(s) settings (homepage, default Internet search engine, new tab settings). User’s are forced to visit hijacker’s website and search the Internet using their search engines. Distribution methods Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers. Damage Internet browsing tracking (potential privacy issues), displaying of unwanted ads, redirects to shady websites. Malware Removal (Windows)
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The Hao123.com website is not malicious or related to virus or malware infections, however, Hao123 client, with its deceptive means of promotion, is categorized as adware. Commonly, browser redirects to Hao123.com are caused by reckless free software installation.
This browser hijacker is similar to other browser settings-changing adware such as istart123.com, v9.com, omiga-plus.com, and default-search.net To avoid installation of this adware, express caution when downloading free software since, today, most freeware download websites employ deceptive ‘download clients’, which trick computer users into installing advertised browser plug-ins together with the chosen free software.
Advertised browser extensions rarely add any real value for the user, and moreover, often cause browser redirects and generate intrusive ads. When downloading free programs, closely inspect each step and decline installation of any promoted browser plug-ins.
When installing downloaded freeware, select the ‘Advanced’ or ‘Custom’ installation options – this will reveal any bundled adware listed for installation and allow you to decline it. If you feel that your Internet browser settings were modified without your consent, use the removal guide provided to eliminate these issues.
Website promoting installation of hao123.com browser hijacker:
Deceptive free software installer used in Hao123.com browser hijacker distribution:
- What is Hao123.com?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Hao123-Client application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Hao123.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove Hao123.com browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove Hao123.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove Hao123.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Hao123.com redirect removal:
Windows 11 users:
Right-click on the Start icon, select Apps and Features. In the opened window search for the application you want to uninstall, after locating it, click on the three vertical dots and select Uninstall.
Windows 10 users:
Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose Programs and Features.
Windows 7 users:
Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.
macOS (OSX) users:
Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.
In the uninstall programs window: look for “Hao123-Client“, select this entry and click “Uninstall” or “Remove“.
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted program that causes browser redirects to Hao123.com website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Hao123.com homepage and default Internet search engine removal from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove browser hijackers:
Remove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:
Remove Hao123.com related Internet Explorer add-ons:
Click the “gears” icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select “Manage Add-ons”. Look for any recently-installed suspicious browser extensions, select these entries and click “Remove”.
Change your homepage:
Click the “gear” icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select “Internet Options”, in the opened window remove hxxp://hao123.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you launch Internet Explorer.
Change your default search engine:
Click the “gear” icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select “Manage Add-ons”. In the opened window, select “Search Providers”, set “Google”, “Bing”, or any other preferred search engine as your default, then remove “hao123“.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the br.hao123.com or en.hao123.com virus, reset your Internet Explorer settings to default.
Windows XP users: Click Start, click Run, in the opened window type inetcpl.cpl In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.
Windows Vista and Windows 7 users: Click the Windows logo, in the start search box type inetcpl.cpl and click enter. In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.
Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.
In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.
Click the Reset button.
Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:
Remove Hao123.com related Google Chrome extensions:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select “Tools” and click on “Extensions”. Locate any recently-installed suspicious add-ons, select these entries and click the trash can icon.
Change your homepage:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select “Settings”. In the “On startup” section, click “set pages”, hover your mouse over hxxp://hao123.com and click the x symbol. Now, you can add your preferred website as your homepage.
Change your default search engine:
To change your default search engine in Google Chrome: Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select “Settings,” in the “Search” section, click “Manage Search Engines…”, remove “hao123” and add or select your preferred Internet search engine.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the br.hao123.com or en.hao123.com virus, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.
After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious plugins from Mozilla Firefox:
Remove hao123.com related Mozilla Firefox add-ons:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select “Add-ons”. Click on “Extensions”, in the opened window remove any recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.
Change your homepage:
To reset your homepage click on the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window) then select “Options,” in the opened window remove hxxp://hao123.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open every time you start Mozilla Firefox.
Change default search engine:
In the URL address bar, type about:config and press Enter.Click “I’ll be careful, I promise!”.In the search filter at the top, type: “hao123“Right-click on the found preferences and select “Reset” to restore default values.
Computer users who have problems with br.hao123.com or en.hao123.com virus removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.
Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, in the opened menu, click Help.
Select Troubleshooting Information.
In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.
Remove malicious extensions from Safari:
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click Safari menu, then select Preferences…
In the preferences window select the Extensions tab. Look for any recently installed suspicious extensions and uninstall them.
In the preferences window select General tab and make sure that your homepage is set to a preferred URL, if its altered by a browser hijacker – change it.
In the preferences window select Search tab and make sure that your preferred Internet search engine is selected.
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data…
In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.
Remove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:
Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select “Extensions“. Locate any recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.
Change your homepage and new tab settings:
Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select “Settings”. In the “On startup” section look for the name of the browser hijacker and click “Disable“.
Change your default Internet search engine:
To change your default search engine in Microsoft Edge: Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select “Privacy and services“, scroll to bottom of the page and select “Address bar“. In the “Search engines used in address bar” section look for the name of the unwanted Internet search engine, when located click the “Disable” button near it. Alternatively you can click on “Manage search engines“, in the opened menu look for unwanted Internet search engine. Click on the puzzle icon near it and select “Disable“.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the br.hao123.com or en.hao123.com virus, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.
In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.
Select Restore settings to their default values. In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Microsoft Edge settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
- If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.
A browser hijacker is a type of adware infection that modifies Internet browser settings by assigning the homepage and default Internet search engine settings to some other (unwanted) website URL. Commonly, this type of adware infiltrates operating systems through free software downloads. If your download is managed by a download client, ensure that you decline offers to install advertised toolbars or applications that seek to change your homepage and default Internet search engine settings.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the purpose of forcing users to visit hao123.com website?
Cyber criminals (e.g., developers of fake search engines and browser hijackers) generate revenue through redirects to sites like hao123.com.
Is visiting hao123.com a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes. Websites classed as fake search engines (e.g., hao123.com, etc.) typically collect sensitive information. The data can then be sold to third-parties.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
The most widely used distribution techniques include: bundled installers, online scams, freeware and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, spam browser notifications, and intrusive ads.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove browser hijackers?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan computers and eliminate installed browser-hijacking applications. It is pertinent to mention that manual removal (performed without security software) might be ineffective. In cases where multiple browser hijackers are present, after one is removed – the others may simply reinstall it. What is more, browser-hijacking software may be capable of restricting access to removal-related settings. Therefore, it is paramount to eliminate browser hijackers thoroughly and all at once.