Search-UIX Browser Extension
Search-UIX is a browser extension that falls into the category of rogue software, and it functions as a browser hijacker. Browser hijackers are unwanted software that typically alters the settings of a user's web browser without their consent or knowledge. The primary goal of such software is to promote certain websites, often fake search engines, by redirecting users to them against their will.
While there exists an illegitimate Internet search website that shares the name 'searchuix.com,' this is not the search engine that Search-UIX promotes or endorses. Analysis of Search-UIX has confirmed that it generates redirects to a different website, specifically 'thesearchfeeds.com.' This means that when users have the Search-UIX extension installed, it can manipulate their Web browser settings to direct them to thesearchfeeds.com and potentially other similar websites forcibly.
The Search-UIX Browser Hijacker May Cause Serious Privacy Concerns
Search-UIX designates thesearchfeeds.com as the browser's homepage, default search engine, and new tab pages. Consequently, when users perform Web searches through the browser's URL bar or open a new tab or window, they experience automatic redirects to the promoted website.
As previously mentioned, it's worth noting that there is a fake search engine named searchuix.com that shares a similar name with Search-UIX. It's possible that this browser extension could generate redirects to that page as well.
Typically, illegitimate search engines are incapable of providing genuine search results, so they often redirect users to legitimate Internet search websites. In the case of thesearchfeeds.com, it causes redirects to Google. However, it's important to understand that the destination of such redirects can vary based on factors like the user's geolocation.
Browser-hijacking software commonly employs techniques to ensure its persistence, making it challenging to remove. This may include restricting access to settings related to removal or reversing user-made changes, making the removal process more complex.
Furthermore, software falling into this category often includes data-tracking functionalities, which also may apply to Search-UIX. This means that it can collect various types of user data, including visited URLs, viewed Web pages, search queries, Internet cookies, usernames, passwords, personally identifiable information and even financial data. The misappropriated information can be sold to third parties or exploited for profit in various ways, raising significant privacy and security concerns for users.
PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) and Browser Hijackers Often Attempt to Mask Their Installations
PUPs and browser hijackers often employ various tactics to mask their installations and deceive users into unknowingly allowing them onto their systems. Here are some common methods they use to evade detection:
- Bundling with Legitimate Software: PUPs and browser hijackers are often bundled with legitimate software downloads. Users may be offered a seemingly harmless program or utility, but the installer also includes the unwanted software as an optional or hidden component. Many users overlook or quickly click through the installation prompts, inadvertently accepting the additional software.
- Misleading Installation Prompts: During the installation process, PUPs and browser hijackers may present misleading or confusing prompts. They use deceptive wording, pre-selected checkboxes, or "Next" buttons that imply consent to install the unwanted program. Users who don't carefully read every step may unintentionally agree to the installation.
- Fake Updates and Downloads: Some PUPs and browser hijackers masquerade as legitimate software updates or downloads. They imitate the appearance of trusted sources, such as security programs updates, Adobe Flash updates, or browser extensions, to deceive users into clicking on them.
- Social Engineering: These programs often employ psychological manipulation to trick users. They might present pop-up messages claiming that the user's system is infected with viruses or that their software is outdated. This creates a sense of urgency and fear that encourages users to click and install the offered solution.
- Use of Legitimate-Sounding Names: PUPs and Browser Hijackers often adopt names that sound trustworthy or official, mimicking well-known brands or legitimate software titles. This can make users less suspicious of their installations.
In summary, PUPs and browser hijackers utilize a combination of deceptive practices, including bundling, misleading installation prompts, social engineering, and disguising themselves as legitimate software or updates, to evade detection and infiltrate users' systems. Users should be extra cautious when downloading and installing software, carefully read installation prompts, and use reputable anti-malware tools to help detect and remove these unwanted programs.