Threat Database Rogue Websites

Threat Scorecard

Ranking: 2,286
Threat Level: 50 % (Medium)
Infected Computers: 233
First Seen: July 23, 2023
Last Seen: September 30, 2023
OS(es) Affected: Windows has been identified as a fake search engine by cybersecurity researchers. While investigating deceptive webpages, the experts came across this site. It is important to note that has been observed being promoted by the infamous Apps browser hijacker.

While this association with the Apps browser hijacker was evident, it is entirely possible that may not be limited to just this one browser-hijacking software. There is a possibility that other browser-hijacking software may also endorse and redirect users to this fake search engine.

Browser Hijackers and Fake Search Engines Often Cause Privacy Risks

Browser hijackers utilize various techniques to promote specific sites and manipulate users' browsing experiences. One common method is by assigning the promoted addresses as the default homepage, default search engine, and new tab page of the users' web browsers. The Apps browser hijacker is an example of such software, which, when installed, results in new browser tabs opening and search queries typed into the URL bar leading to unwanted redirects to questionable destinations.

In this particular case, a redirect chain has been observed taking place. It starts with, then redirects to, and finally lands users on the legitimate Bing search engine. Fake search engines typically lack the capability to provide genuine search results, so they resort to redirecting users to legitimate Internet search engines. In some instances, illegitimate sites may generate search results, but they are often inaccurate, filled with sponsored, irrelevant, deceptive, and potentially unsafe content. may be involved in different redirection chains or redirect users elsewhere.

Furthermore, browser-hijacking software like the Apps extension often employs persistence-ensuring techniques to prevent users from easily recovering their browsers to their preferred settings. In the case of the Apps extension, it exploits the 'Managed by your organization' feature in Google Chrome for this purpose.

In addition to altering browsing settings, fake search engines and browser hijackers often engage in intrusive data collection, compromising users' privacy. They spy on users' browsing activity and gather information such as searched queries, visited URLs, viewed webpages, IP addresses, Internet cookies, usernames, passwords, personally identifiable details, finance-related data and more. The data collected from users can then be sent or sold to third parties, potentially exposing users to additional privacy risks and security concerns.

Users Rarely Install PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) and Browser Hijackers Knowingly

PUPs and browser hijackers often resort to shady tactics to surreptitiously infiltrate users' devices without their knowledge or explicit consent. These tactics are designed to exploit vulnerabilities in users' browsing habits, allowing the unwanted software to gain unauthorized access. Some of the shady tactics exploited by PUPs and browser hijackers include:

  • Software Bundling: PUPs and browser hijackers are commonly bundled with legitimate software downloads. When users install the desired software, the bundled PUP or browser hijacker is installed alongside it without the user's awareness. The inclusion of these unwanted programs is often hidden in the software's installation process through pre-selected checkboxes or deceptive installation wizards.
  •  Deceptive Websites and Pop-ups: PUPs and browser hijackers may use deceptive websites and pop-ups to mislead users into clicking on misleading ads or download buttons. These pop-ups often claim to offer updates, security patches, or other desirable software but instead trigger the installation of unwanted programs.
  •  Fake Software Updates: Some PUPs and browser hijackers may mimic legitimate software update notifications. Users may be tricked into clicking on these fake update prompts, resulting in the installation of malicious software.
  •  Social Engineering: Cybercriminals behind PUPs and browser hijackers may use social engineering techniques, such as fake surveys, enticing offers, or alarming messages, to manipulate users into installing the unwanted software.
  •  Malvertising: PUPs and browser hijackers can be distributed through malicious advertisements (malvertisements) on websites. Users may unwittingly trigger the installation of these unwanted programs by clicking on these deceptive ads.
  •  File-sharing Networks: PUPs and browser hijackers may be distributed through peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing networks. Users who download files from these networks may unknowingly acquire bundled unwanted programs.
  •  Phishing Emails and Malicious Links: PUPs and browser hijackers can be delivered through phishing emails containing malicious links or attachments. Clicking on these links can lead to the installation of unwanted software.

To protect themselves from these shady tactics, users should be cautious when downloading software from untrusted sources and always opt for custom installation settings to review bundled offers carefully. Regularly updating software, using reputable anti-malware software, and practicing safe browsing habits are essential measures to prevent the silent installation of PUPs and browser hijackers on their devices. Additionally, being vigilant about clicking on unfamiliar links or pop-ups and avoiding suspicious websites can further safeguard against these unwanted programs.

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