EssentialDesktop Description

EssentialDesktop is an adware application that is being spread to users in the Apple ecosystem. The application relies on questionable distribution techniques designed to hide the fact that it is going to be installed on the user's computer or device. In fact, EssentialDesktop has been observed as being delivered through fake Adobe Flash Player updates. That is why the application also has been classified as a PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program).

Adware applications have a clear goal - to generate monetary gains for their creators by running an intrusive advertising campaign. Most will begin to do so immediately after their installation finishes. The delivered advertisements can take various shapes and forms - pop-ups, banners, coupons, surveys, in-text hyperlinks, etc. While adware is not considered a direct threat to the system, the generated advertisements could represent a security risk. Users who engage with them can be taken to questionable or outright unsafe third-party websites. 

Apart from its adware functionality, EssentialDesktop also acts as a browser hijacker. It will establish control over certain browser settings to begin promoting a sponsored address. Affected users will notice that their homepage, new tab page, and the default search engine have been changed and are now opening a strange new page. Most search engines promoted in this manner are fake, as they lack the ability to produce results on their own. Instead, they may cause a chain of redirects that reach a legitimate search engine such as Yahoo, Bing, or Google for the results presented to the user ultimately. 

Another massive red flag associated with PUPs is that usually, they can monitor the browsing activities of the user. It is quite common for the browsing history, search history, clicked URLs, etc. to be collected and then exfiltrated to remote servers. 

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