Fastest Searches Redirect Removal — How To Restore Your Browser
THREAT REMOVAL

Fastest Searches Redirect Removal — How To Restore Your Browser

The article will help you to remove Fastest Searches fully. Follow the browser hijacker removal instructions given at the end of the article.

The Fastest Searches redirect is a browser extension that can be used for hijacker purposes. Interaction with it can hijack personal data belonging to the victims. Our in-depth article explores some of the dangers associated with its presence on infected hosts.

Threat Summary

NameFastest Searches
TypeBrowser Hijacker, PUP
Short DescriptionThe hijacker redirect can alter the homepage, search engine and new tab on every browser application you have installed.
SymptomsThe homepage, new tab and search engine of all your browsers will be switched to Fastest Searches. You will be redirected and could see sponsored content.
Distribution MethodFreeware Installations, Bundled Packages
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by Fastest Searches

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User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss Fastest Searches.

Fastest Searches – Distribution Methods

The Fastest Searches redirect is a typical representative of the browser hijacker malware type. It is delivered using several main methods that are launched at the same time to maximize the number of infected hosts.

A main tactic is the use of email SPAM messages that are coordinated in large attack campaigns. The criminals use social engineering techniques in order to coerce the victim users into interacting with a malware element. Depending on the current customization the hijacker files may be attached directly or hyperlinked in the messages.

The criminals can construct fake download sites that use the same design templates and other web elements. Advanced strains even utilize similar sounding domain names.

These sites along with the email messages are used to spread infected payload carriers that contain the Fastest Searches redirect code. There are two main types that are typically distributed against the targets:

  • Infected Documents — The criminals can embed the redirect code into files of different types: rich text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, databases and etc. As soon as they are opened by the users a notification prompt will be spawned that requests permissions to enable the built-in macros (scripts). When this is done the virus infection sequence will follow.
  • Application Installers — The Fastest Searches redirect can be delivered directly via software installers. In the most typical case the hackers will download the legitimate file from the official vendor site and embed the code. Typically popular applications are chosen such as any productivity software, creativity suites or system utilities.

Usually hijackers like this one are spread on the relevant plugin repositories. The hackers can use fake developer credentials and user reviews in order to confuse the target users into installing the malicious extension. They are often accompanied by elaborate descriptions, in some cases even videos.

Fastest Searches – Detailed Description

The virus infections utilize the typical infection behavior patterns that are considered standard for these type of viruses. The browser hijacker code will start to manipulate the affected web browser and modify the default settings: default home page, new tabs page and search engine. The next time the users open their applications they will be shown the hacker-controlled page.

Depending on the exact configuration of the associated threats the Fastest Searches redirect various can be used to coordinate different system changes. This may include changes to the Windows Registry — modifications to the user-installed applications can render certain functions and services non-working. When these changes are made to the operating system then overall computer performance may suffer. As a result of the made changes the browser hijacker may be installed as a persistent threat. This means that it will create entries for itself in the Windows Registry and certain configuration files that will render it difficult to remove using manual methods.

Another component that can be launched by the malicious code is the information retrieval one. In combination with a network module it can harvest strings that are classified into two main types:

  • Campaign Metrics — This category includes all kinds of information that can be used to optimize the hacker attacks. It is primarily made up of details about the installed hardware components and certain values related to the regional settings set by the users.
  • Personal Information — The obtained information can be used to directly reveal the identity of the victims. This can include their name, address, location, interests and passwords.provide

Some browser hijackers are also capable of launching a stealth protection module that can bypass certain scans from security software.

Hybrid hijacker strains can include a Trojan component that connects to a hacker-controlled server to report the made infections. It can also be used to spy on the victims in real time, allow the hackers to take over control of the infected machines at any time and deploy additional threats.

Once the Fastest Searches redirect has been installed onto the victim computers it will also add an icon next to the search main bar of the affected web browsers to signal its presence. The web site will install tracking elements such as cookies, beacons and scripts onto the victimm’s browser which will track their site interactions.

We remind our readers that any interaction with the shown search engine may lead to misleading or even bad results. While it may be powered by a legitimate Internet service such as Google or Yahoo, the hackers may have customized it to show sponsored links and possibly sites that lead to virus instances. A large part of them can also integrate scripts such as in-line hyperlinks, redirects, pop-ups and banners.

In the last few years browser redirects can also carry cryptocurrency miner code. It uses the victim machine’s available hardware resources in order to generate large income profits for the hacker operators.

Many of the contemporary browser redirect strains add links to popular Internet services such as social media. If they enter in their account credentials the obtained data can be transferred to the hacker operators.

Fastest Searches – Privacy Policy

During our analysis we have not been able to access the privacy policy documents. This gives us the assumption that it may be privacy-invasive by harvesting a lot of personal information without alerting the users. The lack of information regarding the company that is behind it adds to the premise that the infection must be removed as soon as possible.

An example privacy policy can list the following data that is being automatically collected from the web browsers:

  • Social Media Accounts & Usage — Whenever a social media service is accessed through the relevant browser hijacker the user data can be accessed by the service as well.
  • Email Data — If the Fastest Searches redirect links the users to an affiliate email service all of the inbox contents can be made accessible to them.
  • Other Sites Interactions — The tracking cookies can give the operators an overview of the victim’s usage of all web sites, not just the ones that they directly control.
  • Sensitive Data — This includes metrics associated with the victims themselves — data that can be directly expose their identity such as their name, address, telephone number and etc.

Martin Beltov

Martin graduated with a degree in Publishing from Sofia University. As a cyber security enthusiast he enjoys writing about the latest threats and mechanisms of intrusion.

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