Last updated on September 15th, 2014
Hao123.com is a browser hijacker that changes the default homepage and search settings to "http://www.hao123" in popular Web browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, without the user's permission. In fact, Hao123 hijacker modifies the browser settings in order to perform browsing redirects into advertisements and earn money from their publishers.
Hao123 hijacker is designed to modify your browser settings and may install additional plugins (toolbars, extensions or add-ons) in your Web browser in order to promote other links or products. Browser hijackers like this, may redirect the user's computer into malicious websites or may install malicious programs in order to compromise the user's computer to security risks.
Hao123 hijacker comes in many languages according your location. e.g.:"en.hao123.com", br.hao.123.com", "tw.hao.123.com", ar.hao.123.com", "sa.hao.123.com", "id.hao.123.com", "th.hao.123.com", "jp.hao.123.com", "ar.hao.123.com", "ae.hao.123.com" or "vn.hao.123.com".
Technically "hao123.com" is not a virus and is categorized as a malware program ("Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP)" that may contain and install malicious programs on your computer, like adware, toolbars or viruses. If a computer is infected with "hao123.com" hijacker, then more pop-up ads, banners and sponsored links are displayed on the victim's computer screen or inside the Internet browser and in some cases the computer speed may be slowed down due to malicious programs running on the background.
Hao123.com hijacker program was probably installed without the user's notice because it is commonly bundled inside other freeware software which are downloaded -and installed- from known internet sites like "download.com (CNET)", "Softonic.com", etc. For that reason, you must always pay attention at the installations options for any program you install on your computer, because most software installers contain additional software that you never wanted to install. In simple words, DO NOT INSTALL ANY IRRELEVANT SOFTWARE that comes with the software installer of the program that you want to install. More specifically, when you install a program on your computer:
- DO NOT PRESS the "Next" button too fast at the installation screens.
- READ & ACCEPT CAREFULLY the Terms and Agreements.
- ALWAYS SELECT: "Custom" installation.
- DECLINE to install any offered additional software that you don't want to install.
- UNCHECK any option that says that your homepage and search settings will be modified.
How to remove 'Hao123.com' from your computer:
Step 1. Uninstall malicious software from your Control Panel.
1. To do this, go to:
- Windows 7 & Vista: Start > Control Panel.
- Windows XP: Start > Settings > Control Panel
- Windows 8 & 8.1:
2. Double click to open:
- Add or Remove Programs if you have Windows XP
- Programs and Features (or "Uninstall a Program") if you have Windows 8, 7 or Vista.
3. When the program list is displayed on your screen:
3a. Sort the the programs displayed by Installation date (Installed On) and then find and Remove (Uninstall) any unknown program that was lately installed on your system.
3b. Also remove any of these malicious applications:
Step 2: Remove Hao123.com from your Internet Browser Shortcut(s).
1. Right-click on your Internet browser icon and choose "Properties".
Notice*: You must perform the same operation for all Internet browser shortcuts, including those in your Programs list and taskbar.
2. On the "Shortcut" tab, look in the "Target" field and delete the Hao123 value (e.g.: "http://en.hao123..com/…") written after "iexplore.exe" (for IE shortcut) or "firefox.exe" (for Firefox Shortcut), or "chrome.exe" (for chrome shortcut) and choose "OK" *
* Press "Continue" when asked to "Provide administrator permission to change these settings".
3. Continue to the next step.
Step 3: Remove Hao123.com with "AdwCleaner".
1. Download and save "AdwCleaner" utility to your desktop.
2. Close all open programs and Double Click to open "AdwCleaner" from your desktop.
3. After accepting the "License Agreement", press the "Scan" button.
4. When the scan is completed, press "Clean" to remove all the unwanted malicious entries.
4. Press "OK" at "AdwCleaner – Information" and press "OK" again to restart your computer.
5. When your computer restarts, close "AdwCleaner" information (readme) window and continue to the next step.
Step 4 – Reset Internet Browser Settings.
To ensure that "hao123.com" infection is completely removed from your Internet browser, reset your Internet Browser Settings to default.
How to remove Hao123.com from Internet Explorer
1. From Internet Explorer main menu, click: "Tools " and choose "Internet Options".
2. Click the "Advanced" tab.
3. Choose "Reset".
4. Check (to enable) the "Delete personal settings" box and choose "Reset".
5. After the resetting action is completed, press "Close" and then choose "OK" to exit Internet Explorer options.
6. Close all windows and restart Internet Explorer.
How to remove Hao123.com infection from Chrome
2. Look at the end of "Settings" options and press the "Show advanced settings" link.
3. Scroll all the page down and press the "Reset Browser Settings" button.
4. Press the "Reset" button again.
5. Restart Google Chrome.
How to remove Hao123.com from Firefox.
1. From Firefox menu, go to "Help" > "Troubleshooting Information".
2. In "Troubleshooting Information" window, press "Reset Firefox" button to reset Firefox to its default state.
3. Press "Reset Firefox" again.
4. After the resetting job is completed, Firefox restarts.
Step 5. Remove Hao123.com infection with Junkware Removal Tool.
1. Download and run JRT – Junkware Removal Tool.
2. Press any key to start scanning your computer with "JRT – Junkware Removal Tool".
3. Be patient until JRT scans and cleans your system.
4. Close JRT log file and and then reboot your computer.
Step 6. Remove Hao123 infection with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free.
Download and install one of the most reliable FREE anti malware programs today to clean your computer from remaining malicious threats. If you want to stay constantly protected from malware threats, existing and future ones, we recommend that you install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium:
Quick download & Installation instructions:
- After you click the above link, press at the "Start My Free 14-Trial" option to start your download.
- To install the FREE version of this amazing product, uncheck the "Enable free Trial of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium" option at the last installation screen.
Scan & Clean your computer with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
1. Run "Malwarebytes Anti-Malware" and allow the program to update to its latest version and malicious database if needed.
2. When the update process is completed, press the "Scan Now" button to start scanning your system for malware and unwanted programs.
3. Now wait until Malwarebytes Anti-Malware finishes scanning your computer for malware.
4. When the scan has completed, press the "Quarantine All" button to remove all threats found.
5. Wait until Malwarebytes Anti-Malware removes all infections from your system and then restart your computer (if required from the program) to completely remove all active threats.
6. After the system restart, run Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware again to verify that no other threats remain in your system.
Advice: To ensure that your computer is clean and safe, perform a Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware full scan in Windows "Safe mode". Detailed instructions on how to do that you can find here.
Step 7. Clean unwanted files and entries.
Use "CCleaner" program and proceed to clean your system from temporary internet files and invalid registry entries.*
*If you don't know how to install and use "CCleaner", read these instructions.