Threat Database Potentially Unwanted Programs PoConvert Browser Extension

PoConvert Browser Extension

Infosec experts have come across a browser extension called PoConvert. This extension is promoted to users as a useful tool designed to simplify the process of converting image and video file formats. However, upon conducting a thorough analysis of this seemingly innocuous extension, researchers have uncovered a concerning truth: PoConvert is, in fact, a browser hijacker.

A browser hijacker is a type of rogue software that covertly alters the settings of a user's Web browser without their consent or knowledge, typically with the aim of redirecting their online activities to undesired websites or search engines. In the case of PoConvert, its intrusive intent becomes evident as it actively modifies various browser settings to promote the use of the search engine, which is regarded as illegitimate and untrustworthy.

PoConvert Takes Over Fundamental Browser Settings

PoConvert's impact on the user's Web browser is quite extensive, as it alters several critical settings, encompassing the default search engine, homepage and new tab pages. Consequently, whenever a user attempts to perform a Web search by entering a query into the browser's URL bar or opening new browser tabs, they are subjected to unwelcome redirects, forcefully leading them to the website.

In the realm of browser hijacking, it is common for fake search engines like to be incapable of delivering genuine search results. Instead, they typically redirect users to legitimate internet search engines. For example, it has been confirmed that is redirecting users to the Bing search engine. It's crucial to note that the destination of such redirects may vary based on factors like the user's geographic location, leading to different outcomes.

It is essential to highlight that browser-hijacking software, including PoConvert, often employs persistence mechanisms to ensure its continued presence and impede its removal. These mechanisms can be intricate and challenging for users to overcome, making the applications more difficult for manual removal.

Additionally, browser hijackers are notorious for their data-tracking capabilities, a feature that may also be present in PoConvert. This implies that the software may actively collect a wide array of user data, such as visited URLs, viewed webpages, search queries, internet cookies, login credentials, personally identifiable information, and even financial data. The aggregation of such sensitive data can potentially serve malicious purposes, including monetization through sales to third-party entities.

Browser Hijackers Often Hide Their Installation via Shady Distribution Tactics

Browser hijackers frequently employ shady distribution tactics to hide their installation and infiltrate users' systems without their consent or awareness. These tactics are designed to deceive users and make it challenging to detect and remove unwanted software. Here's an explanation of how browser hijackers often hide their installation:

  • Bundling with Legitimate Software: Browser hijackers are commonly bundled with seemingly legitimate software downloads. When users download and install a trusted application, the browser hijacker is included as an additional component, often in a way that is not clearly disclosed during the installation process. Users may inadvertently accept the installation of the hijacker by not carefully reviewing all installation options.
  • Misleading Install Wizards: Browser hijackers may employ misleading installation wizards that confuse users. They often use tactics such as presenting confusing wording, pre-selected checkboxes, or deceptive "next" buttons that lead to the installation of the hijacker. Users who rush through installations are more likely to fall victim to these tactics.
  • Fake Software Updates: Some browser hijackers disguise themselves as software updates or security patches. Users may receive pop-up notifications or prompts that urge them to update their software or browser. These fake updates can lead to the installation of the hijacker instead of genuine updates.
  • Deceptive Ads and Pop-ups: Fraudulent advertisements and pop-ups may promote seemingly useful software or services. Clicking on these ads can trigger the installation of the browser hijacker, as users are lured into believing they are acquiring a beneficial tool or service.
  • Freeware and Shareware: Browser hijackers may be distributed through free software or shareware platforms. Users who download free software may unknowingly accept the installation of additional, unwanted programs, including browser hijackers, if they do not closely inspect the installation process.
  • Phishing Emails and Tampered Links: Phishing emails may contain links or attachments that lead to the installation of browser hijackers. Users who access these links or download attachments can inadvertently introduce the hijacker into their systems.
  • File-Sharing Networks: Browser hijackers can be distributed through Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing networks. Users who download files from these networks may inadvertently acquire browser hijackers alongside desired content, as these platforms often lack robust security measures.
  • Social Engineering: Browser hijackers often employ social engineering tactics, such as creating fake security warnings or error messages. Users may be coerced into taking actions that result in the installation of the hijacker, believing they are addressing a security issue.
  • Disguised Browser Extensions: Some browser hijackers take the form of browser extensions or add-ons. Users may install these extensions believing they will enhance their browsing experience, only to discover their intrusive and unwanted behavior later.

In summary, browser hijackers employ a variety of misleading and deceptive tactics to evade detection during installation. Users can keep themselves protected by being cautious when downloading software, reading installation prompts carefully, avoiding suspicious pop-ups and ads, and regularly updating their security software to help detect and remove unwanted browser hijackers.


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