Recycling Tree Browser Extension
After a comprehensive examination of the Recycling Tree browser extension, researchers confirmed that it engages in the modification of specific web browser settings with the intention of promoting a fake search engine known as search.recyclingtree.net. This particular behavior classifies the application as a browser hijacker. Browser hijackers are unwanted software that alters browser settings without the user's consent to promote certain websites or search engines. One significant characteristic of Recycling Tree and similar browser hijackers is that users often add these applications to their browsers unintentionally.
The Recycling Tree Browser Hijacker May Monitor Users' Browsing Activities
Recycling Tree achieves the promotion of search.recyclingtree.net by making modifications to various Web browser settings, such as the default search engine, new tab page and homepage. Consequently, whenever users initiate a search using their browser's search bar or enter a URL in the address bar, they get redirected to search.recyclingtree.net, which then redirects them to bing.com.
It is crucial to underline that bing.com is a legitimate search engine. However, this does not imply that search.recyclingtree.net is a trustworthy search engine in itself. Fake search engines are known to have the capacity to manipulate search results and display modified or biased content to users. Such manipulations can lead users to visit untrustworthy websites, potentially exposing them to scams, deceptive schemes, or unsafe online content.
Another significant aspect to note about Recycling Tree and similar apps of this nature is their potential to collect a wide range of user data, raising concerns about privacy and security. Browser hijackers may gather various data points, such as browsing history, search queries, website visits, IP addresses, geolocation information, and system details.
Furthermore, browser hijackers can track users' online activities and monitor their interactions with websites, enabling them to obtain personal information and potentially share it with third-party entities. Consequently, there is a substantial risk of privacy infringement and data exposure when dealing with browser hijackers like Recycling Tree.
Browser Hijackers and PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) Rely on Deceptive Distribution Tactics
Browser hijackers and PUPs employ deceptive distribution tactics to install themselves stealthily on users' devices. These tactics aim to trick users into unintentionally installing unwanted software. Some common deceptive distribution tactics used by browser hijackers and PUPs include:
- Software Bundling: Browser hijackers and PUPs are often bundled with legitimate software downloads. Users may download and install a desired application, unaware that it includes additional unwanted software.
- Misleading Download Buttons: Some websites use misleading download buttons that trick users into clicking on them, leading to the unintended installation of browser hijackers or PUPs.
- Fake Software Updates: Cybercriminals create fake software update notifications that claim to provide essential updates for popular applications. Users who fall for these scams end up downloading and installing unwanted software instead of legitimate updates.
- Drive-by Downloads: Browser hijackers and PUPs can be delivered through drive-by downloads, where malicious scripts automatically download and install unwanted software when a user visits a compromised website.
- Malvertising: Malicious advertisements, known as malvertising, may appear on legitimate websites. Clicking on these advertisements can lead to the inadvertent download and installation of browser hijackers or PUPs.
- Phishing Emails: Adware and PUPs may be distributed through phishing emails that carry unsafe links or attachments. Clicking on these links or opening attachments can result in the installation of unwanted software.
- Social Engineering: Some browser hijackers and PUPs use social engineering techniques, such as fake surveys or contests, to lure users into downloading and installing unwanted software.
To protect against browser hijackers and PUPs, users should be watchful when downloading and installing software and browser extensions. It is essential to read user reviews and the terms and conditions carefully during installation to avoid unintentionally adding PUPs. Additionally, keeping the anti-malware software up-to-date can help detect and remove browser hijackers and PUPs, enhancing online security and safeguarding against deceptive distribution tactics.