'Sport background pictures new tab' Browser Extension
Infosec researchers have uncovered a browser extension called 'Sport background pictures new tab.' This particular extension offers users randomized sports-themed wallpapers to display in their browser.
However, further examination has revealed that this seemingly innocuous software is, in fact, a browser hijacker. The 'Sport background pictures new tab' extension manipulates essential browser settings to promote the illegitimate search engine feed.topappsparadise.com. It achieves this by redirecting users to this unauthorized search engine, while potentially compromising their browsing experience and exposing them to unreliable search results.
The 'Sport background pictures new tab' Browser Extension could Cause Significant Privacy Issues
The 'Sport background pictures new tab' extension has been observed making unauthorized modifications to the browser's settings. Specifically, it designates feed.topappsparadise.com as the default homepage, search engine, and new tab page of the user's browser. As a result, whenever a new tab is opened, or a search query is started via the URL bar, the browser redirects to the feed.topappsparadise.com website. It is essential to highlight that browser-hijacking software often employs persistence mechanisms to make the removal challenging and hinder users from restoring their browsers to their original settings.
In the case of feed.topappsparadise.com, a fake search engine, it typically does not provide legitimate search results on its own. Instead, it redirects users to other legitimate search engines. Researchers have confirmed two distinct redirect routes - one taking users to nearbyme.io and another to the genuine Yahoo search engine. Nearbyme.io, although appearing as an internet search site, is deceptive in nature. Its search results are likely to be inaccurate and may contain deceptive or harmful content. It is worth noting that the exact redirection behavior of feed.topappsparadise.com may vary depending on factors, such as the user's geolocation or other dynamic factors.
Furthermore, the 'Sport background pictures new tab' extension likely possesses data-tracking capabilities. This functionality enables the collection of various types of targeted data, including visited URLs, viewed Web pages, search queries, internet cookies, usernames/passwords, personally identifiable information, financial data and more. The collected data can then be monetized through its sale to third-party entities.
Browser Hijackers and PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) Often Rely on Shady Distribution Tactics
Browser hijackers and PUPs often employ shady distribution tactics to infiltrate systems. Here are some common tactics utilized by these unsafe software:
- Software bundling: Browser hijackers and PUPs are frequently distributed through software bundling. They are bundled with legitimate software downloads, often freeware or shareware applications. Users may unknowingly install the bundled software along with the desired program without carefully reviewing the installation process.
- Deceptive download sources: Shady download sources, such as unofficial or suspicious websites, peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, or torrent platforms, often host browser hijackers and PUPs. Users who download software or files from these sources may inadvertently install additional unwanted programs.
- Misleading advertisements: Malicious advertisements, commonly known as malvertising, can lead users to download and install browser hijackers or PUPs. These deceptive ads may appear on legitimate websites, mimicking legitimate content or enticing users with false promises, such as software updates or security alerts.
- Fake software updates: Browser hijackers and PUPs may disguise themselves as legitimate software updates or security patches. Users who fall for these deceptive notifications and download the fake updates may unknowingly install the unwanted programs on their systems.
- Social engineering techniques: Phishing emails, pop-up messages, or fake system alerts can trick users into believing that their devices are infected or require immediate attention. These deceptive tactics may prompt users to download and install browser hijackers or PUPs under the guise of security measures or system optimizations.
To protect against browser hijackers and PUPs, it is crucial to practice safe browsing habits, such as downloading software from official sources, being cautious with email attachments and advertisements, and regularly updating software and browsers. Additionally, installing reputable security software, enabling browser security features, and regularly scanning systems for potential threats can help identify and remove unwanted programs.