1337x.to is a browser hijacker that promotes shady search engines on its start page

1337x.to browser hijacker

1337x.to browser hijacker

1337x.to is a search engine that can stealthily infiltrate PCs and compromise the settings of Google Chrome or any other web browser. Our security experts assign this website to the group of browser hijackers and potentially unwanted programs (PUP). Such classification is easy to ground: the 1337x.to virus is capable of infiltrating PCs via freeware, changing web browser’s settings without authorization, enabling third-party tracking cookies, and initiating multiple advertising campaigns[1]. Since this plug-in-based web domain can lead to more serious problems like malware infiltration of privacy issues, 1337x.to removal is the first thing that should be done right after the browser’s hijack.

NAME 1337x.to
RELATED DOMAINS 1337x.to, 1337x.st, x1337x.ws, x1337x.eu, x1337x.se, 1337x.is, and 1337x.gd
CATEGORY PUP, browser hijacker
DISTRIBUTION Typically it is spreading on the Internet as a “useful” plug-in attached to free applications like download websites, video streaming websites, various converters and similar
PREVENTION Advanced or Custom installation options are required when installing freeware. Besides, a professional anti-malware could help to block malware.
SYMPTOMS The 1337x.to browser hijacker alters web browsers’ settings (start page, search provider, new tab window, toolbars, etc.). Moreover, it may initiate web browser’s redirects to affiliate domains, generate intrusive advertisements, diminsh web browser’s speed, and similar.
 REMOVAL We recommend removing such and similar programs automatically using tools like SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes. Another way to get rid of browser viruses is to eliminate malware manually. You can find a help guide at the end of this post. 
OPTIMIZATIO 1337x.to removal may not be sufficient to restore the system to the previous state. In order to eliminate the changes that this PUP might have left, run a scan with a Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego fix tool.

If accessed, the 1337x.to domain may not seem suspicious. It’s a website that offers Peer-to-Peer file-sharing functions and is called a “torrent” search among netizens. Its start page looks modern and appealing, full of content, though minimalistic. 1337x.to hijacker contains a search engine that fosters to “search for torrents,” as well as a bunch of quick access links to games, music, apps, anime, documentaries, and even link to adult content. Although it may seem convenient at first, do not trust this domain as it may be involved in various shady activities, such as:

  • Distribution of other PUPs or even malware;
  • Collection of personally non-identifiable information;
  • Browser’s redirects to affiliated websites;
  • Presentation of individualized ads that contain irrelevant content;

1337x.to and its’ family members, including 1337x.to, 1337x.st, x1337x.ws, x1337x.eu, x1337x.se, 1337x.is, and 1337x.gd fall for the category of browser hijackers. Even though to can be easily accessed by typing its URL into the address bar, people in cybersecurity forums keep reporting that they found their web browser’s start page and search engine replaced by 1337x.to hijacker without their permission. Stealthy installation via freeware is the reason why this dubious torrent website can appear on the system.

Once a freeware bundle is installed on the system, additional programs, such as plug-ins and add ons, are extracted and injected into the web browser’s settings by default. Consequently, regular Google’s start page and a search engine is modified, as well as other preferential web browser’s settings. Such activity is annoying, but that’s not the worst part. People reported that 1337x.to generates intrusive pop-up ads regularly. Sometimes, these ads force the web browser to freeze. Udenvirus.dk[2] team has tested 1337x.to ads and revealed that most of them offer to visit casino, pornographic websites, or affiliated torrent sites. Be very careful because visiting such websites can lead you to malware installation or virus infection.

Also, this PUP may cause redirects to third-party websites to increase their visitors’ rate and generate financial profit. Therefore, 1337x.to domain may be the reason why you receive altered search results, many hyperlinks within random texts, shady looking advertisements, and other misleading content.

1337x.to virus
1337x.to generates altered search results and may expose people to potentially dangerous content

1337x.to virus
1337x.to generates altered search results and may expose people to potentially dangerous content

Section +18 is yet another concerning factor. The quick link bar provided on the start page of the 1337x.to down below the search bar contains a link to adult content. Clicking the link does not require age verification, and the user gets exposed to the download of porno movies[3]. It’s not a secret that visiting adult content websites is the perfect medium for getting a PC’s system infected with malware and viruses.

Last but not least issue to discuss is related to privacy violation. Most PUPs employ tracking cookies to collect as much information about peoples’ browsing activities as possible. 1337x.to the virus may also try to accumulate information like:

  • URLs visited
  • Click
  • IP address
  • Approximate geolocation

Nevertheless, the website allows people to register by entering the user name, password, email address, country, and other sensitive information. Even though you are an active torrent user and opt for such service, we do not recommend trusting 1337x.to as it may be related to third parties and try to misuse information provided for various purposes. Therefore, if you noticed your web browser’s changes initiated by this hijacker, do not wait for too long and perform 1337x.to removal with SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or another antivirus tool.

Hijackers spread as plug-ins disguised under basic freeware installation technique

The first sign proving that a browser hijacker has infected the system is the replacement of a web browser’s start page and search engine. Other side effects, such as browser’s slowdowns, crashes, intrusive advertising, or redirects manifest later during web browsing sessions. Commercial content may also chase you while browsing the web; therefore, you may get exposed to unwanted websites or accidentally download malware to the system.

If you wonder how such and similar infections manage to get inside the system, keep in mind that free programs downloaded from untrusted (or sometimes trusted) download websites are used for the distribution of add-ons, plug-ins, and similar malware. Even though experts are trying to raise peoples’ consciousness about software bundling, there still a strong tendency among internet users to download freeware without checking their reputation and reliability. Besides, people fail to single out the Advanced installation option, which enables potential victims to monitor and opt out of additional components.

Nevertheless, not only software bundles may inject PUPs on the system. Unwanted programs can also land on the system after visiting illegal websites and having contact with advertising content. One of the trickiest ways to spread PUPs is fake system scanners, which emerge on the web browser’s screen in the form of a pop-up saying that a virus has attacked the system. After running a scan with a supposed-to-be antivirus, the user is informed about infection and offered a free antivirus tool. This way, people may get tricked into downloading PUPs, as well as spyware, Trojan, or another virus.

1337x.to malware
1337x.to is classidied as PUP due to suspicious advertising activities and suspicious installation technique

1337x.to malware
1337x.to is classidied as PUP due to suspicious advertising activities and suspicious installation technique

A guide on how to remove 1337x.to browser hijacker

Even though this intrude may not exhibit malicious activity at first, 1337x.to removal is not the thing that you should postpone. There is a high chance that this dubious domain may expose you to irrelevant or even potentially dangerous websites, as well as try to take advantage of you by gathering clicks and visits.

It is possible to remove 1337x.to virus manually. There’s a full elimination guide provided at the very bottom of this article. If you opt for this removal technique, make sure to perform each step carefully and do not forget to restore the web browser’s settings. Otherwise, 1337x.to removal may fail.

We highly recommend initiating a full system’s optimization after a deal with a PUP. Unwanted programs are capable of starting various changes and leave unpleasant side effects, causing slowdown and similar issues. Thus, remove 1337x.to and then fix its damage with a program like Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego.

You may remove virus damage with a help of Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego. SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and Malwarebytes are recommended to detect potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.