The article will help you to remove PlayThunder Offers fully. Follow the browser hijacker removal instructions given at the end of the article.
The PlayThunder Offers 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.
|Type||Browser Hijacker, PUP|
|Short Description||The hijacker redirect can alter the homepage, search engine and new tab on every browser application you have installed.|
|Symptoms||The homepage, new tab and search engine of all your browsers will be switched to PlayThunder Offers. You will be redirected and could see sponsored content.|
|Distribution Method||Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages|
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|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss PlayThunder Offers.|
PlayThunder Offers – Distribution Methods
The PlayThunder Offers redirect is caused mainly by a hijacker installation. So far it seems that it follows the typical distribution strategy whihc relies heavily on several main methods. One of them is the use of email SPAM messages that are created in bulk and send out social engineering infused messages. The hacker operators attempt to create fake copies of legitimate notifications sent by well-known Internet services. They can range from password reset to contract related messages and account controls. In all instances the hackers will attempt to coerce the users into downloading and running a file that will contain the virus infection. This can also be done via interaction with an infected payload. Two of the most popular types are the following:
- Infected Installers — The criminals can embed the PlayThunder Offers code into popular applications — the original installers are taken from the official vendor sites and modified to include the custom code. Typically popular software is chosen as the host application: system utilities, creativity suites, productivity and etc.
- Documents — A similar technique is used with documents of different types: rich text documents, presentations, databases and etc. Once they are opened by the victims a notification prompt will be spawned which asks the users to enable the built-in scripts. When this is done the virus infection will follow
Another method for spreading the PlayThunder Offers redirect is the spread of instances of the hijacker code on the extension repositories of the most widely used browsers. The hackers use fake credentials and user reviews in combination with an elaborate description that aims to coerce the victims into installing the relevant code.
The criminals can also create fake download sites that use the same templates as many famous Internet portals. The hackers behind it can also utilize similar sounding domain names.
PlayThunder Offers – Detailed Description
Once the PlayThunder Offers redirect is installed on the target machines it will start to execute the built-in behavior patterns. They can differ according to each target or the individual attack campaigns. However the captured strains seem to include the basic type of infection strategy like other similar threats.
It first launches a local data gathering component which starts to collect sensitive information about the victims and their machines. There are two main types that are classified by the security researchers:
- Private Data — The engine can be programmed to hijack information that is related to the victims, revealing their identity. This can include their name, address, telephone number, location, interests, passwords and etc.
- Campaign Metrics — Another set of data that is being gathered by the dangerous code is acquired at the same time and used by the criminals to optimize the attacks. The bulk of the gathered data consists of operating system values and a report of the installed hardware components.
The security analysis reveals that the PlayThunder Offers redirect has been found to use a white list that infects only certain systems based on their geographic location. Its algorithm is configured to reconfigure the victim browsers by changing the default settings: home page, new tabs page and search engine. As the infections happen from the web browser itself the malware engine also retrieves all potentially useful information from them: cookies, bookmarks, history, settings, passwords and etc.
The malware engine PlayThunder Offers redirect can also use the harvested information with a component called stealth protection. It scans the infected host for the presence of services and applications that can interfere with the correct execution. Examples include anti-virus programs, virtual machine hosts or sandbox environments. They can be bypassed or entirely removed by the engine.
Following the engine’s installation it can proceed with the changing of strings of the Windows Registry. When modifications are done to entries belonging to the operating system overall performance may suffer. When the changed strings reflect user-installed software or services some functions may be rendered non-working.
The associated virus engine can be configured to institute itself as a persistent threat by automatically starting itself every time the computer boots. Access to the recovery menu can be disabled which renders many manual removal methods non-working.
Threats like this one can be used to create a connection with a hacker-controlled server. This can lead to a Trojan-like instance that can take over control of the victim machines, spy on the users and also be used to deliver additional viruses to the infected hosts.
The site itself is modeled after a template engine that is popular with game publishers. It appears to feature content that may be pulled from other sites operated by the same developers or affiliate/partner ones. In order to present itself as a legitimate service it includes an email subscription form along with all required elements. The site has several main sections:
- Navigation Top Bar — The top menu bar allows the users to navigate to different parts of the site. As it is designed to appear as online gaming site it currently gives access to different categories of content.
- Featured Content — This part of the site gives further information on the individual games.
Other web elements can be added to the site dynamically.
- Personally-Identiifable Information — This data can be used to directly reveal the person’s identity by collecting their name, email address and other sensitive information.
- Anonymous Metrics — They are collected automatically by the tracking cookies and web beacons and consist of data about the user’s Internet Service Provider (ISP), operating system, web browser and etc.
- Usage Information — The tracking cookies are used to spy on the interactions with the site.
- Social Media Data — If any connections, login attempts or other services connected with social media networks are made the site operators may accesss the transferred data.
- Guide 1: How to Remove PlayThunder Offers from Windows.
- Guide 2: Get rid of PlayThunder Offers from Mac OS X.
- Guide 3: Remove PlayThunder Offers from Google Chrome.
- Guide 4: Erase PlayThunder Offers from Mozilla Firefox.
- Guide 5: Uninstall PlayThunder Offers from Microsoft Edge.
- Guide 6: Remove PlayThunder Offers from Safari.
- Guide 7: Eliminate PlayThunder Offers from Internet Explorer.
How to Remove PlayThunder Offers from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove PlayThunder Offers
Step 2: Uninstall PlayThunder Offers and related software from Windows
Here is a method in few easy steps that should be able to uninstall most programs. No matter if you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program are left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, errors with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it.
Step 3: Clean any registries, created by PlayThunder Offers on your computer.
The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:
You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by PlayThunder Offers there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Get rid of PlayThunder Offers from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall PlayThunder Offers and remove related files and objects
1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
- Go to Finder.
- In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
- Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
- If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.
In case you cannot remove PlayThunder Offers via Step 1 above:
In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.
Step 2: Scan for and remove PlayThunder Offers files from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as PlayThunder Offers, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. SpyHunter for Mac offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
Remove PlayThunder Offers from Google Chrome.
Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu
Step 2: Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"
Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Erase PlayThunder Offers from Mozilla Firefox.
Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window
Step 2: Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.
Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Uninstall PlayThunder Offers from Microsoft Edge.
Step 1: Start Edge browser.
Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.
Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".
Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.
Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.
Remove PlayThunder Offers from Safari.
Step 1: Start the Safari app.
Step 2: After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.
Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".
Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.
Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.
Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.
A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the PlayThunder Offers will be removed.
Eliminate PlayThunder Offers from Internet Explorer.
Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.
Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'
Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.
Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.
Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.