Currency Conversion Extension
Through an examination of the Currency Conversion Extension, researchers were able to discern characteristic attributes frequently linked with a type of dubious application known as browser hijackers. These particular applications assert control over users' Web browsers by making alterations to numerous important settings. A prevailing pattern among browser hijackers involves the endorsement of fake search engines.
The Currency Conversion Extension Operates as an Intrusive Browser Hijackers
The Currency Conversion Extension is presented as a seemingly legitimate tool designed to facilitate currency conversion within a newly opened browser tab. However, upon a closer look, it becomes quite clear that this application is equipped with the intrusive functions of a browser hijacker. Specifically, the app manipulates crucial browser settings, including but not limited to the default search engine, new tab page, and homepage. Unlike the typical browser hijackers, however, Currency Conversion Extension causes redirects to the legitimate Bing search engine.
The promotion of a legitimate search engine like Bing by a browser hijacker might initially appear less suspicious because of the recognized familiarity and trustworthiness associated with the search engine. However, even though the search engine itself may be genuine, the act of tampering with browser settings without obtaining users' consent or awareness remains an action that can be considered undesirable and has the potential for harmful consequences.
The ramifications of browser hijackers extend beyond mere inconvenience. They also could expose users to an influx of unwanted advertisements, intrusive pop-ups, and potentially unsafe websites, thereby escalating the susceptibility to malware infections and undermining user privacy through unauthorized data tracking. Furthermore, it should be noted that the exact destination that users are taken to could be determined based on factors such as their IP addresses or geolocation.
Browser Hijackers Often Mask Their Installation from Users' Attention
Browser hijackers are dubious software programs designed to manipulate users' web browser settings and divert their internet traffic to unwanted websites. These hijackers often employ shady distribution practices to deceive users and mask their installation, making it challenging for users to notice and prevent their infiltration. Here are some common techniques browser hijackers use to achieve this:
- Bundling with Freeware or Shareware: Browser hijackers are frequently bundled with seemingly legitimate free software or applications that users willingly download and install. These bundled installations might not clearly disclose the presence of the hijacker, or the disclosure might be buried within lengthy terms of service agreements that users tend to overlook.
- Misleading Installation Wizards: Some browser hijackers use deceptive installation wizards that trick users into agreeing to install the software. They often present the hijacker as a necessary component for the main software users are installing, and users might unknowingly consent to its installation.
- Pre-Selected Options: During the installation process, browser hijackers might present their installation as an "opt-out" feature rather than an "opt-in" one. By pre-selecting checkboxes or options that allow the installation of the hijacker, they manipulate users into inadvertently installing it.
- Fake Software Updates: Browser hijackers might mimic legitimate software update prompts to trick users into downloading and installing unsafe software. Unsuspecting users who think they're updating a legitimate program might unknowingly install the hijacker.
- Social Engineering: Browser hijackers might use psychological manipulation to trick users. They might present fake error messages, security alerts, or urgent warnings that prompt users to take actions that result in the installation of the hijacker.
- Disguised Ads: Some hijackers use misleading or disguised advertisements that resemble legitimate system messages. Users who click on these ads might unknowingly trigger the installation of the hijacker.
- Unreliable Browser Extensions: Browser extensions also can serve as a means for distributing hijackers. Users might be encouraged to install seemingly useful extensions that are, in fact, designed to hijack their browsers.
To protect against these tactics, users should be cautious while downloading and installing software, especially from untrusted sources. Reading through installation dialogs carefully, regularly updating software, and using reliable security software can help mitigate the risks associated with browser hijackers and other types of malware.