FreeManualsIndex Redirect Removal — How To Restore Your Browser

FreeManualsIndex Redirect Removal — How To Restore Your Browser

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

The FreeManualsIndex redirect is a recently discovered browser plugin 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

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 FreeManualsIndex. You will be redirected and could see sponsored content.
Distribution MethodFreeware Installations, Bundled Packages
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by FreeManualsIndex


Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss FreeManualsIndex.

FreeManualsIndex – Distribution Methods

The FreeManualsIndex redirect is being distributed using the most popular methods. The majority of the hijacker infections are caused by the redirect browser extensions which is being pushed to the victims via the official site belonging to the malware code. The criminals have created versions of it that are compatible with the most popular web browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Opera and Google Chrome.

The criminals can also spread the hijacker strains on the various extension repositories by using fake developer credentials and user reviews. The redirect code is usually advertised as an useful addition to the browsers by promising to add new features or enhance already existing ones.

The other method that is used to spread the threat is the use of email SPAM messages. They are disguised as messages that have been sent by legitimate companies and Internet services. They can directly attach the strains to the messages or hyperlink them in the body contents.

FreeManualsIndex redirect files can be spread via payload installers. They are spread through email message, as well as counterfeit download sites. They are made by using templates that resemble well-known sites, as well as their domain names. In the last few years the hackers can use file sharing networks such as BitTorrent to spread virus files, including the FreeManualsIndex redirect payloads.

The browser hijacker code can be embedded in application installers. This is done by taking the legitimate files from the official vendors. The criminals typically target popular software such as system utilites, creativity suites and productivity apps. The other method is the use of document payloads. It uses a similar tactic that modifies file types such as presentations, text files, spreadsheets and databases with the virus code. Once they are opened by the victims a notification prompt is spawned which asks the users to enable the built-in scripts (macros). If this is done the infection follows.

Various web scripts can be used to redirect the victims to the active infection. The list includes all kinds of banners, pop-ups, text links and etc.

FreeManualsIndex – Detailed Description

As soon as the FreeManualsIndex redirect code is installed on the target computers it will start to execute the built-in commands. It follows the typical behavior patterns by first changing the default settings of the affected web browsers: the homep age, search engine and new tabs page. he next time the users open up their applications, they will be greeted by the hacker-controlled page.

Upon installation of the extension onto the browsers it will ask for the following permissions:

  • Read and change all your data on the websites you visit.
  • Replace the page you see when opening a new tab.
  • Manage your apps, extensions and themes.
  • Manage your downloads.

Depending on the exact configuration the infections can start various modules. One of them is the data harvesting component that can be used to institute variou information extracting actions. It can be used to directly identify of the victim users — their names, address, telephone number, interests, location and passwords. Other data include information that is used to optimize the attack campaigns. It is typically made up of values that signal certain settings from the operating system and a report on the installed hardware components.

The other component that is used by the victims is the use of a hacker-controlled server connection. This creates a secure link to the hackers and may be used to report the infected hosts and allow the criminals to spy on the victims in real time. It can also be used to take over control of the machines at any given time.

This is a fairy modular browser hijacker that can be used to execute various actions depending on the hacker’s configuration. It is very possible that clone sites can be made — they hackers only need to change the site’s name and domain names.

Another dangerous use of the FreeManualsIndex redirect is the manipulation of the host system. This can include the deployment of the additional malware to the target hosts. The main infection engine of the FreeManualsIndex redirect can perform various Windows Registry changes. When the modify entries belonging to the operating system overall system performance may degrade. In the case of user-installed applications certain functions may be modified.

A persistent installation to the infected system may be performed. It changes the boot options into running the dangerous engine every time the computer boots. It can also disable access to the boot recovery menu which renders most manual recovery methods useless.

This particular threat is disguised as an index for free manuals. The service follows the typical template used by search engines. It is made up of several components. The top element is the current time followed by a small logo image of the site. Below it the criminals have placed the main search engine. It uses a Google-powered engine. WARNING! We remind our readers that any interaction with search engine can lead to the navigation to other hacker-controlled sites or virus strains.

The hackers have added links to other sites in order to make the site appear as a legitimate service. They are categorized into several types:

  • Manuals Search
  • Browser Manuals
  • Recently Viewed
  • Do it Yourself
  • Measurement Converter

The bottom menu bar lists links to the privacy policy and terms of use documents.

FreeManualsIndex – Privacy Policy

The FreeManualsIndex redirect and its associated website is operated by MindSpark which is a well-known creator of similar software. They are known for creating hundreds of services that are linked between themselves. Their privacy policy and terms of use reveals that it pervasively tracks the users identity and creates a database containing a profile of each victim. The use of various web tracking technologies captures additional information such as the following:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Email address
  • Number of your page views
  • What links you clicked
  • Telephone number
  • Your login times

As stated in the Privacy Policy, Mindspark allows third-parties, including their authorized service providers, FreeManualsIndex affiliates, advertising companies, and ad networks, to display advertisements or place ad tags or beacons on or via their Services. Thus, these companies could also obtain information about you and your online behavior. In case you do not want your private space to be invaded in this or any similar way, you should remove the unwanted software.


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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