SwitcherGuard Description

SwitcherGuard is another dubious application leveraged against Mac users. It is classified as a PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program) due to the deceptive tactics involved in its distribution. For example, infosec researchers have noticed that SwitcherGuard is spreading itself by hiding inside a fake installer for Adobe Flash Player.

The core functionalities of the app combine the characteristics of adware and a browser hijacker. As such, SwitcherGuard's primary goal is to generate monetary gains for its creators by running an intrusive advertising campaign on the devices it is present on while also promoting a sponsored link by taking control over the user's Web browser. The advertisements delivered by the should be regarded as highly suspicious. Quite often, after clicking on them, users are taken to questionable third-party websites where they can be exposed to online scams, phishing pages and more.

As for the browser hijacker, it will modify the homepage, new tab page, and the default search engine. The affected settings will be set to open a sponsored address, usually that of a fake search engine. Fake engines cannot produce results on their own. That is why they either redirect any conducted search to a legitimate engine or initiate a redirect chain that could lead to more dubious search engines.

However, most PUPs have another troubling aspect - they try to monitor the user's browsing activities. Information such as all visited sites, clicked links, searches, etc., might be collected, packaged, and uploaded to a remote server. The operators of the PUP can then decide on how exactly to monetize the harvested data.