– questionable search engine that manages to alter settings and preferences to interfere with online traffic – potentially unwanted program that monitors and collects browsing-related information. This is the site that resembles a proper search engine but is not a legitimate page since the material shown on the page itself and after the search, attempts are related to tons of different advertising services and commercial content creators. In general, these PUPs are designed to spread around and inject ads in various forms to useful sites that get views and visits from users. Pay-per-click revenue[1] is the purpose of PUPs and developers try to distribute these tools as widely as possible. 

Even though the term virus is not used to describe this hijacker, there is a huge possibility to get exposed to malicious content or even install malware on the device. It is because the material that ad-supported sites deliver to your screen is not controlled by the search engine creators. You can end up on adult sites, online gambling services, or gaming sites where commercial pop-ups are not only intrusive and annoying but also malicious and triggering virus downloads. 

Type Browser hijacker
Category Potentially unwanted program
Symptoms The system starts running slow and homepage, new tab, default search engine settings get altered and pre-set to this domain. Additional extensions and applications appear added without your permission or even knowledge, all the search attempts lead to commercial sites and pages filled with ads and redirects triggering pop-ups
Distribution Freeware installations include applications that get pre-bundled in advance and can affect the performance of the machine significantly by installing these PUPs without users’ knowledge. Deceptive sites also lead to infiltration of such browser-based cyber threats
Elimination removal process should include anti-malware tools and full system scans, so even possibly dangerous files can get deleted
Damage Your browsing history, preferences, and other data get tracked by the hijacker itself and third-party commercial content creators. Advertisers may use those details in advertising campaigns and other suspicious activities
Repair For the proper system cleaning, you should clean virus damage too. When you run Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego or a similar PC repair tool, you can ensure that affected files and corrupted programs get fixed and recovered may seem harmless because it only delivers commercial content and shows unwanted redirects constantly but the page triggers various installations of files that can be considered malicious or get detected[2] as supposedly dangerous. You should consider this PUP as a useless search hijacker and get rid of it and other applications that possibly get added behind your back. hijacker can affect any device from mobile phone or iPad to computer because it can be delivered via the shady online website or with the help of insecure downloads and freeware bundling techniques. It manages to change settings of Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, or Internet Explorer, so most of the internet users can get affected by such fake search engines. 

This rogue site sets the homepage, new tab, new window URLs to its own and controls the traffic by showing its site with each reboot and browser launch. Users are forced to use this engine instead of their default one, so useful search results get injected with sponsored content, and at least the first 5 results on the list are sites that provide nothing for you. When these processes happen and repeat daily, users stop using their devices normally since the needed material is not accessed anyway.

Additionally to these changes in settings and preferences, triggers:

  • pop-ups ads;
  • redirects that open new windows and tabs;
  • additional browser content installed like extensions toolbars;
  • programs added without your permission or knowledge.

When is installed it redirects your browser to various engines that show search results and promotional material. Ad-supported sites work as tools for collecting and generating views and page visits. This is how all the sponsored content creators can make a profit from visitors. PUP developers designed thousand of such engines and adware-type sites to ensure that visitors are clicking on their ads. hijack is the potentially unwanted program that can gather various information about you while you visit affiliated and possibly dangerous pages. hijack is the potentially unwanted program that can gather various information about you while you visit affiliated and possibly dangerous pages.

Unfortunately, advertisements that delivers on the screen and push notifications that occur out of nowhere can track those details about you for other purposes, not only advertising campaigns. Location details, preferences for searching online, and even habits of clicking on ads or social media activity are useful for various third-parties.[3] 

This third-party involvement is the reason for you to remove because companies may use those personal details for secondary campaigns, targeted attacks, or sell emails, locations, and other information for hackers online. The more time adware or hijacker has on the machine the more data it can obtain and the more damage is done. 

However, when the site is not the initial threat and the one responsible for all the intrusive behavior, you may face the difficulty of the removal process. Since the startup preferences and registry entries get altered by the PUP, you may not find the program yourself or remove only a part of the content that PUP has installed.

The best option, in this case, will be an automatic system scan using security tools or anti-malware programs. This is how all associated files and the intruder itself can be terminated. When you launch the system scan and get in results you need to follow the suggested steps and delete the intruder easily. Then run Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego or different optimizers and fix the damage that was caused by the hijacker.

PUPs make changes to browsers and overwhelm users with ads

When you get to a page that shows questionable content you get exposed to various material without even noticing and can trigger installations of PUPs or even serious malware. This all happens when you get redirected to commercial sites or when you visit the page on purpose. The Internet is not a safe place, especially when you don’t tend to pay close attention to particular details. 

This habit should be especially important when it comes to installations of software and content that is downloaded on the machine. When you rely on the particular program, you should think twice about the source you get it from too because any promotional site can be filled with useless commercial content and include additional scripts that trigger malware drop or redirect to malicious sites. 

If you download the program from the official source, developers’ page, or legitimate App store, you should be safe. When it comes to other sources always go for Advanced or Custom installation options to reveal the function of un-checking suspicious apps from the list on the installation wizard. Reading the Privacy section or EULA can also help to determine if the site is trustworthy or not.

Get rid of the shady PUP with proper anti-malware tools

You need to remove as soon as possible because anything related to this or another PUP can trigger functions that affect your machine and interferes with the speed of the PC and other programs. The best cleaning is achieved when you run the proper anti-malware tool or a security program.

AV detection based programs work the best for removal because any PUP itself that runs in the background and applications that get added behind your back can get indicated and removed. The full system scan should check all the parts of the machine and indicate various programs or files that interfere with the performance in various ways.

Remember to tackle virus damage too because any changes left or applications, toolbars, apps can still run those intrusive processes and deliver pop-up ads, redirects, other malicious material.

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.