a9t9.com/copyfish is the URL address for one of the famous browser hijackers known simply as “Copyfish”. The main website looks like a legitimate software service. The a9t9.com/copyfish hijacker poses as a extension helper for a OCR application. This is a special type of tool that extracts text from popular image and document formats. Victims of the counterfeit browser hijacker can find their computers infected with different malware and other dangers. They are made for the most popular web browsers: Mozilla Firefox , Google Chrome and others. The a9t9.com/copyfish is used as a malicious service to send out spam messages to targets worldwide.
|Type||Browser Hijacker, PUP|
|Short Description||Every browser application which is on your computer could get affected. The hijacker can redirect you, change important settings and install additional malware.|
|Symptoms||Modified web browser settings, unexpected behavior and performance issues. .|
|Distribution Method||Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages, Redirects, Hacker-controlled Repositories|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by a9t9.com/copyfish |
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|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss a9t9.com/copyfish.|
a9t9.com/copyfish – Distribution Ways
The a9t9.com/copyfish browser hijacker is distributed mainly via the app stores of the most popular web browsers. A majority of the Copyfish infections were made through the Chrome Web Store and the Firefox Add-ons site. The hackers showcase images and text that make the plugin appear as a legitimate and useful tool. An example description taken from the Google Chrome extension reads the following:
Copy, paste and translate text from any image, video or PDF.
Do you need to extract text from images, videos or PDF? If yes, then the Copyfish free OCR software is for you.
Common reasons to extract text from images are to google it, store it, email it or translate it. Until now, your only option was to retype the text. Copyfish is sooooo much faster and more fun.
“Images” come in many forms: photographs, charts, diagrams, screenshots, PDF documents, comics, error messages, memes, Flash – and Youtube movies.
The hackers may also opt to use special download portals. They are made to look like real s,,oftware sites and usually contain links to popular free or trial versions of famous applications. They are in fact modified binaries (bundled installers) that install different malware and viruses if executed. Depending on the configuration the malicious a9t9.com/copyfish browser hijacker can be installed directly without notice or through a notification prompt. The users may be able to protect themselves from infection by looking out for a Custom or Advanced tab in the installers. They might contain the option to deselect the installation of the dangerous add-on.
The a9t9.com/copyfish browser hijacker can also be distributed using hacker-controlled ad networks and redirects. They are usually placed on various networks that the criminals control, but can also infiltrate legitimate and popular sites. Victims can attain an infection by interacting with banners and pop-ups under the hackers control. Note that many of the popular web browsers can lead to a malware infection Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Opera and Safari.
a9t9.com/copyfish – More Information
The company behind the a9t9.com/copyfish site is a legitimate software development vendor called a9t9 SOftware. Recently they reported that computer hackers have been able to abuse their services and have taken control of the Google Chrome browser extension used by their product. The company is based in Germany listed at the following address:
a9t9 Software GmbH
Walldorf, 69190, Europe (Germany)
Copyfish is one of their products advertised as a competitor to popular OCR (optical character recognition) services — special software that extracts text from images and documents. It is widely used in office environments where such files are used on a daily basis.
The company posted a blog post notice (July 30 2017) detailing how the attack occured. The first alert that something went wrong was received on Friday (28 July) when an a9t9 Software team member received an email message that appears to have been sent by Google. It was a Chrome Web Store notification that requested the company to update their extension or else it would be removed from the software repository. This lead to a password prompt where the developer entered the account credentials. Later it was discovered that this is a phishing site that had just overtaken the main developer account of the company. This is also the source of the malicious browser extensions. The criminals behind the attack were able to push an update (version 2.8.5) to the Chrome Web Store which contains malicious code.
a9t9.com/copyfish – Data Collection and Tracking
The primary goal of the dangerous a9t9.com/copyfish browser hijacker is to launch malicious ads and initiate spam attacks against hacker-provided targets. The malicious code can also spam the victim computers with endless banners, pop-ups and other related messages.
As the Google Chrome extensions can modify the the behavior of the application itself it can be used to make the usual changes done by browser hijackers in general:
- Browser Settings Modification — Browser hijackers like Copyfish can modify essential settings on the victim web browsers. Typically the intent is to redirect the victim to a hacker-controlled page or service that can inflict further damage to them. The most popular values are modiifed to reflect the hacker–provided address: default home page, search engine and tabs page. Advanced threats can also change security settings and reroute the traffic through hacker-provided gateways.
- Information Harvesting — The browser extension can harvest all data stored in the web browser. This includes all form data, stored cookies, history, preferences, passwords, account credentials and bookmarks. The collected data can be used to perform identity theft and financial crimes.
- Deliver Additional Malware — Malicious extensions are usually a popular method for spreading additional viruses of all types to the infected computers.
The a9t9.com/copyfish browser hijacker might be further updated with other features as the legitimate software developers have lost control to the Chrome Web Store instance. After the incident has been reported to Google, it has been removed from the software repository. However this does not eliminate the possibility of having the malware code posted in other extensions available on the platform as well as other hacker-controlled sites.
Note! This incident that computer users should not trust extensions even if they appear as being posted by a legitimate company. The hacked Google Chrome browser extensions is merely a detected instance, at any time criminals can take over control other plugins using this or another tactic.
Remove a9t9.com/copyfish Completely
To remove a9t9.com/copyfish manually from your computer, follow the step-by-step removal instructions provided below. In case the manual removal does not get rid of the hijacker redirect and its files completely, you should search for and remove any leftovers with an advanced anti-malware tool. Such a program can keep your computer safe in the future.