Threat Database Potentially Unwanted Programs Animated BG Browser Extension

Animated BG Browser Extension

The Animated BG extension initially appears to offer animated browser wallpapers, but upon closer examination by cybersecurity researchers, it has been identified as a rogue extension. Specifically, this software has been categorized as a browser hijacker.

A browser hijacker is a type of intrusive program that makes unauthorized modifications to a user's Web browser settings, often with the primary goal of promoting certain websites or search engines. In the case of the Animated BG, it carries out alterations to the browser settings with the specific objective of redirecting users to, which is a fake search engine.

Installing Browser Hijackers Like the Animated BG could Cause Increased Privacy Risks

Browser-hijacking software operates by manipulating key browser settings, such as the homepage, default search engine and new tab pages. These changes are made to promote specific websites designated by the hijacker. As a result, whenever a user opens a new browser tab or window or enters a search query into the URL bar, they are redirected to the endorsed website, which is often not the user's intended destination.

The Animated BG follows this modus operandi by making similar modifications to users' browsers. It redirects users to the website, which serves as a fake search engine. Typically, these illegitimate search engines do not provide genuine search results but instead redirect users to legitimate Internet search sites. In the case of Animated BG, the redirect led to the Bing search engine. However, it's worth noting that the destination of such redirects can vary based on factors like user geolocation.

Browser hijackers often employ persistence mechanisms to ensure that their alterations to browser settings remain in place, making their removal more challenging for users. These mechanisms are designed to thwart attempts to revert browsers to their original configurations or to uninstall the hijacking software.

Additionally, software falling into the browser hijacker category typically includes data-tracking capabilities, a feature that also may apply to the Animated BG browser extension. The types of information of interest that could be collected include URLs visited, Web pages viewed, search queries entered, Internet cookies, login credentials (usernames and passwords), personally identifiable details, financial data, etc. The collected information can then be monetized by selling it to third parties, potentially leading to privacy and security concerns for affected users.

Browser Hijackers may Obfuscate Their Installation via Various Shady Practices

Browser hijackers often employ various shady practices to obfuscate their installation, making it challenging for users to detect and remove them. These tactics are designed to deceive users and increase the hijacker's persistence on the affected system. Here are some common methods used by browser hijackers to obfuscate their installation:

  • Bundling with Freeware: Browser hijackers are frequently bundled with free software downloads. When users download and install legitimate-looking software, they may unknowingly agree to install the bundled browser hijacker as well. The bundled installation is often buried in the software's terms and conditions, and users may overlook it if they don't read it carefully.
  •  Misleading Installation Prompts: During the installation process, browser hijackers may present misleading prompts that encourage users to accept changes to their browser settings. These prompts may use deceptive language or design to make users believe they are agreeing to something else.
  •  Pre-Selected Options: Some installers pre-select options that install additional software, including browser hijackers. Users who rush through the installation process without carefully reviewing each step may inadvertently accept these pre-selected options.
  •  Fake Software Updates: Browser hijackers may disguise themselves as software updates or security patches. Users who believe they are installing necessary updates for their software may unknowingly install the hijacker instead.

To protect against browser hijackers, users should exercise caution when downloading and installing software, particularly from unverified sources. It's crucial to read installation prompts carefully, uncheck any pre-selected options for additional software, and keep security software up to date. Additionally, maintaining a backup of important data and regularly scanning for unwanted software can help users detect and remove browser hijackers before they cause significant issues.


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