Threat Scorecard

Threat Level: 50 % (Medium)
Infected Computers: 3
First Seen: January 25, 2019
Last Seen: October 24, 2022
OS(es) Affected: Windows

TopSearchMaps may describe itself as a useful application that will make browsing the net far more efficient but, in reality, the application's main functionality is that of a browser hijacker. These dubious applications are designed to generate artificial traffic towards a promoted address specifically.

To achieve its goal, TopSearchMaps will assume control over the user's Web browsers. More specifically, the browser hijacker will target the browser's homepage, new tab page and the default search engine. All three settings could be set to open the promoted page, which in the vast majority of cases, belongs to a fake search engine.

Fake engines do not possess the ability to deliver search results. Instead, they take the user's search queries and redirect them to other engines. The redirects may lead to a legitimate engine, such as Yahoo, Bing or Google. However, it is entirely possible that a redirect chain going through several dubious engines ( may be started. In the second option, users could be presented with dubious search results riddled with sponsored ad links.

Users should be careful when installing applications from unproven sources. Various PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs), such as TopSearchMaps could be added to that application's installation settings stealthily, in a scheme known as bundling. Another popular underhanded distribution method is using fake software installers that pretend to be for a legitimate software product.


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