Threat Database Rogue Websites

Threat Scorecard

Ranking: 19,097
Threat Level: 50 % (Medium)
Infected Computers: 1
First Seen: July 24, 2023
Last Seen: July 30, 2023
OS(es) Affected: Windows is identified as an illegitimate search engine. Dubious websites of this nature are commonly promoted by browser hijackers and other intrusive PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs). These unreliable software programs target users' browsers and make unauthorized modifications to the browser settings. As a result, users are forcefully redirected to websites that the hijackers endorse, often leading to dubious or malicious destinations.

Browser Hijackers and Shady Search Engines Like may Cause Serious Privacy Issues

Browser hijackers manipulate several of the browser's default settings, such as search engines, homepage, and new tab, to redirect users to specific promoted website addresses. When a browser hijacker, like the one promoting, is installed, any attempt to open new browser tabs or windows or perform search queries through the URL bar would lead to automatic redirects to the said site.

In the case of fake search engines, they typically lack the ability to provide genuine search results. As a workaround, they often redirect users to legitimate Internet search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo. However, deviates from this norm as it does try to generate search results. Unfortunately, the results it presents are inaccurate, filled with irrelevant content, sponsored links, and potentially untrustworthy or even unsafe content. Moreover, is known to engage in the promotion of browser notification spam, causing intrusive and unwanted notifications to appear on users' browsers.

One of the concerning aspects of browser hijackers is their use of persistence-ensuring techniques. These techniques are intended to prevent users from easily restoring their browsers to their default settings. For example, the software may block access to removal-related settings or undo any changes made by the user to revert to the original browser configuration.

Another serious issue associated with browser-hijacking software and illegitimate search engines is the collection of sensitive user data. They may gather a wide range of information, including users' search queries, visited URLs, viewed Web pages, IP addresses, Internet cookies, usernames, passwords, personally identifiable details, financial data and more. This harvested information could be monetized through its sale to third-party entities, further exacerbating the privacy and security risks for the affected users.

PUPs and Browser Hijackers are Rarely Installed Knowingly

PUPs and browser hijackers often resort to shady distribution tactics to infiltrate users' systems without their knowledge or consent. These tactics aim to deceive users and exploit vulnerabilities in software and browsing practices. Here are some of the shady distribution tactics employed by PUPs and browser hijackers:

  • Software Bundling: PUPs and browser hijackers are frequently bundled with legitimate software downloads or freeware/shareware applications. When users install the desired software, the PUP or browser hijacker is installed alongside it, often hidden within the installation process. Users may unknowingly agree to install the additional software without realizing it.
  •  Misleading Download Buttons: Some websites use deceptive download buttons or advertisements that mimic the appearance of legitimate download links. When users click on these misleading buttons, they unknowingly download PUPs or browser hijackers instead of the intended content.
  •  Malvertising: PUPs and browser hijackers may be distributed through unsafe advertisements (malvertising). These advertisements can appear on legitimate websites and lead users to malicious landing pages that prompt them to download the unwanted software.
  •  Fake Software Updates: PUPs and browser hijackers may be disguised as fake software updates or security patches. Users who click on these fake update prompts inadvertently download and install the unwanted programs.
  •  Browser Extension Installations: Some PUPs are distributed as browser extensions or add-ons. They may be promoted as useful tools, but once installed, they start exhibiting intrusive behavior and hijacking the browser settings.
  •  Drive-by Downloads: PUPs and browser hijackers can be distributed through drive-by downloads, where users visit compromised or unsafe websites that automatically initiate downloads without user interaction.
  •  Phishing Emails and Social Engineering: PUPs and browser hijackers may be distributed through phishing emails that trick users into clicking unsafe links or downloading infected attachments. Social engineering techniques are used to manipulate users into taking actions that lead to PUP installations.
  •  Pirated Software and Cracks: Downloading pirated software or using cracked versions of legitimate software exposes users to the risk of PUP and browser hijacker infections.

To protect against PUPs and browser hijackers, users should be cautious while downloading software from unfamiliar sources, avoid clicking on suspicious links or ads, keep their software and browser up-to-date, use reputable antivirus and anti-malware software, and regularly review installed browser extensions and add-ons. Additionally, practicing safe browsing habits and being vigilant against social engineering tactics can help users avoid falling victim to these shady distribution tactics.

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