Travel Tab Browser Extension
Cybersecurity experts came across the Travel Tab browser extension during an investigation of suspicious websites. Initially marketed as a convenient tool for accessing travel and hotel-related news, further analysis has revealed that Travel Tab is, in fact, a browser hijacker.
A browser hijacker is a type of rogue software that alters the settings of a user's Web browser without their consent, often redirecting them to undesirable websites or search engines. In the case of Travel Tab, it makes unauthorized modifications to users' Web browsers, leading them to the fake search engine traveldailydiscounts.com.
Browser Hijackers Like Travel Tab may Cause Serious Privacy Concerns
Browser hijackers are unwanted programs that manipulate various browser settings, including the homepage, default search engine and new tab pages, by assigning them to specific websites they want to promote.
For instance, when Travel Tab hijacks a browser, it changes these settings to direct users to traveldailydiscounts.com. Consequently, whenever a user opens a new browser tab or enters a search query in the URL bar, they are redirected to the traveldailydiscounts.com website.
Fake search engines, often employed by browser hijackers, typically cannot provide genuine search results. Instead, they reroute users to legitimate internet search engines. In the case of traveldailydiscounts.com, it would redirect users either to Bing or Google, though the actual destination may vary based on factors like the user's IP address.
To make matters more challenging for users, browser-hijacking software frequently employs techniques that ensure its persistence on the system. This persistence not only complicates its removal but also hinders users from restoring their browsers to their original settings.
Moreover, it's likely that Travel Tab possesses data-tracking capabilities, allowing it to collect various types of information. This may include browsing and search engine histories, Internet cookies, personally identifiable information, financial data and more. This harvested data can then be shared with or sold to third parties without the user's consent.
Be Aware of the Shady Tactics Utilized in the Distribution of Browser Hijackers
The distribution of browser hijackers often involves a range of shady tactics designed to deceive and manipulate users into unwittingly installing these unsafe programs. Here are some of the shady tactics commonly used in the distribution of browser hijackers:
- Software Bundling: Browser hijackers are frequently bundled with legitimate software downloads. When users install a desired program, they may not realize that the installer also includes a browser hijacker. These bundled programs often bury the hijacker's installation options in fine print or pre-selected checkboxes, making it easy for users to overlook them.
- Deceptive Websites: Shady websites, especially those hosting pirated or cracked software, adult content, or free downloads, often promote browser hijackers. Users may be lured to these sites with promises of free or premium content, but in reality, they end up downloading unwanted browser-hijacking software.
- Fake Updates: Some unsafe websites display fake update notifications that mimic legitimate software updates, such as browser updates or Adobe Flash Player updates. Users who click on these notifications may unknowingly download browser hijackers instead of genuine updates.
- Clickbait and Malvertisements: Online advertisements and pop-ups can be used to trick users into clicking on misleading content, leading to the installation of browser hijackers. Malvertisements,or tampered advertisements can redirect users to websites that host hijacking software installers.
- Phishing Emails: Cybercriminals may send phishing emails with attachments or links that claim to be essential updates or security patches. Clicking on these links or downloading the attachments can result in browser hijacker installations.
- Social Engineering: Some browser hijackers use social engineering techniques to convince users to install them voluntarily. They may pose as legitimate browser extensions or security tools and claim to improve the user's browsing experience or protect against threats.
- Rogue Browser Extensions: Some browser hijackers disguise themselves as seemingly harmless browser extensions available in official extension stores. Users may trust these extensions, believing they are safe, only to discover their harmful intent later.
To protect against browser hijackers and other malware, users should exercise caution when downloading software, avoid visiting suspicious websites, keep their browsers and operating systems up to date, and use reputable anti-malware software.