Whenever PC security researchers hear the words ‘Free Smileys’ or ‘Toolbars’ they cringe, and with good reason. These kinds of supposedly helpful applications are among the most common ways in which criminals distribute malware and infect computer systems. Taking advantage of inexperienced computer users and their apparent desire for Smileys and other emoticons for Facebook, MSN and instant messaging applications, it is not particularly difficult for criminals to convince computer users to download and install malware by simply slapping a ‘Free Smileys’ label on it. The Search.sweetim.com website is a search engine associated with the SweetIM free Smileys pack. After a computer user installs SweetIM Smileys, a toolbar for their web browser will be installed. This toolbar supposedly gives direct access to a SweetIM search engine and allows easy access to Smileys contained in this application. However, what it really does is hijack your web browser.
There are many kinds of browser hijackers. As their name implies, these are threats designed to take over the infected computer’s web browser and then force it to visit a particular website repeatedly. Some browser hijackers are limited to a particular web browser while others fundamentally change how the infected computer system connects to the Internet. Fortunately, the browser hijacker linked to redirects to the Search.sweetim.com seems to be limited to a toolbar. Basically, Search.sweetim.com will replace the PC user’s browser’s default search engine with Search.sweetim.com. Removing this toolbar may prove to be difficult to remove through normal means.
How Can You Detect Malware Related to Search.sweetim.com?