About:Blank is the default URL that shows in your web browser address window when your browser is showing a blank page. There's nothing wrong with that in itself. However, some malicios programs have been known to display About:Blank in the address window, hence the term About:Blank Hijacking.
How To Remove About:Blank Homepage Hijackers
This web page was set up to help computer users remove About:Blank Homepage Hijackers from their systems. About:Blank Hijackers are not viruses by strict definition, but they are currently the most insidious browser hijackers on the Internet. They can stealth install onto your PC and can evade the detection algorithms of most anti-spyware programs.
The About:Blank Hijacker installs a Browser Helper Object in Internet Explorer. This BHO consumes excessive system resources and slows down your internet connection. An infected computer will display a false directory webpage whenever the browser is opened, showing about:blank in its title and address window. The directory will include a search prompt or page heading with the text 'Quick Web Search', 'Search for...', 'Search The Web:' or similar. It won't permit you to change the browser's default homepage or if you can it will change it back later. It may also hijack your search settings to route your search queries through its paid listings. It may add new websites to your IE favorites, install an adware toolbar and hit you with loads of popup ads.
An example showing about:blank in the title and address window, and 'Quick Web Search' fake search engine.
The publishers and affiliates of About:Blank Hijackers earn income from the paid advertisements displayed on the infected PC. Whenever you click the links on its directory and search results pages you're earning money for them. Browser hijackers often pilfer paid search listings from syndicated search engines or display advertising from affiliate networks. This means reputable businesses are getting their paid advertisements displayed by browser hijackers without their knowledge and earning income for the makers and affiliates of those hijackers.
About:Blank Hijackers use various means to avoid detection and removal:
- It can restore itself after its file directory is deleted.
- It can restore its registry settings after they have been deleted.
- It is difficult to remove from memory.
- Uses random file names to avoid detection by anti-spyware.
- It starts up whenever the operating system is started.
- If it's removed from the auto-start settings, it can restore itself there.
- Multiple DLLs that replace each other if one is deleted by the user or an anti-spyware program.
- It can change its executable code to avoid detection by anti-spyware.
- It may store executable code in the temporary internet files.
The most notorious and problematic of the About:Blank Hijackers is variant of a program known as CoolWWWSearch and HomeOldSP. This problem can also be caused by many other adware and spyware programs, and the virus-like computer worms and trojans. An example is the widely known "I Love You" worm which may set the browser homepage to about:blank, but displays a blank page instead of a "fake" search engine portal. Worms are self-replicating programs similar to viruses that replace files on your PC with their own and just like viruses may be highly distructive. Most anti-virus programs should be able to remove the "I Love You" worm.
About:Blank Removal Procedure
To permanently remove CoolWWWSearch and other About:Blank Hijackers it's important to thoroughly clean your system of all spyware, including any hidden installer components that may be able restore the pest later on:
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will remove a wide range of hard-to-remove spyware, adware, browser hijackers, worms and trojans that can cause the about:blank problem. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware's database is updated on a regular basis to remove the latest hijacker variants. It is a reputable program, safe to use and removes about:blank problems free.
- First close all your browser windows and clear your internet temporary files by selecting Start > Run, type 'cleanmgr' and click OK. For Win7 type 'cleanmgr' into Start > Search programs and files.
- Then scan your system with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and remove all the infections it finds.
- Reboot your PC.
- Immediately scan your system a second time with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and remove any remaining infections.
- Also scan your system with Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool, just in case Malwarebytes has missed anything.
After following the above steps the hijacker should be completely removed, your system will operate normally and you should have full control to set the browser homepage to the address of any website (click Tools > Internet Options).
P.S. There is a trojan
that can block access to anti-spyware sites and prevent anti-spyware programs from running. If you're unable install or run Malwarebytes Anti-Malware try running Malwarebytes Chameleon which comes bundled with the product. If you require personal assistance please email us or call for personal assistance on +1-888-655-3453 (Toll free in USA/Canada).