Threat Scorecard

Threat Level: 50 % (Medium)
Infected Computers: 5
First Seen: February 14, 2023
Last Seen: May 3, 2023
OS(es) Affected: Windows is the URL of a fake search engine that is promoted by software classified as browser hijackers. Such intrusive applications modify the browsers of the users, causing them to be redirected to websites such as Both fake search engines and browser hijackers often collect sensitive user data.

Consequences of Having a Browser Hijacker Active on Your Device

Browser hijacking software works by forcibly redirecting a browser's default search engine, new tab/window URL and homepage to a different website. When the browser hijacker promoting is installed, all Web searches and new tabs or windows opened in the browser will automatically redirect to this website. To ensure its persistence, the software typically employs various techniques to prevent the user from restoring their browser's original settings.

While most fake search engines are unable to provide accurate search results, they will often redirect the user to popular and legitimate search engines, such as Yahoo, Bing or Google. However, is an exception, as it can display search results, albeit unreliable ones. Additionally, it also may display unrelated sponsored content, which could be misleading or deceptive.

Fake search engines and browser hijacking software also may collect and store personal information from the user's browsing activities, such as URLs visited, Web pages viewed, search queries, bookmarks, IP addresses, usernames/passwords and even financial information. This collected data can then be shared with or sold to third-party entities.

How to Prevent PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) from Being Installed?

Preventing the installation of Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) on a user's device requires a combination of caution and preventive measures. To reduce the risk of PUPs being installed, users should be mindful of where they are downloading software from, pay attention to software license agreements and utilize anti-malware software.

When downloading software, it is crucial to only download from reputable sources, as PUPs are often bundled with free software downloads from less trustworthy websites. Before installing any software, users should carefully read the license agreement to understand what will be installed, including any additional or bundled software.

During the installation process, users should opt for custom installation and carefully deselect any boxes that offer to install additional or bundled software. Keeping software and operating systems up-to-date also can help prevent PUPs and other malware from exploiting vulnerabilities in outdated software.

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