THREAT REMOVAL

Remove FreeLocalWeather Browser Hijacker

The article will aid you to remove FreeLocalWeather completely. Follow the browser hijacker removal instructions provided at the bottom of this article.

FreeLocalWeather is a browser hijacker redirect developed by the MindSpark. Its website will redirect you to its search engine or another malicious site. While using its services, you can find yourself on pages with lots of adverts and sponsored content that go through this hijacker. The hijacker will change the start page, new tab, and search settings for the browser applications you have on your computer machine.

Threat Summary

Name FreeLocalWeather hijacker
Type Browser Hijacker, PUP
Short Description Each browser application on your computer could get affected. The hijacker can redirect you and will display lots of advertisements.
Symptoms Browser settings which are altered are the homepage, search engine and the new tab.
Distribution Method Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

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Malware Removal Tool

User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss FreeLocalWeather hijacker.

FreeLocalWeather Hijacker – Methods of Distribution

The FreeLocalWeather hijacker is a typical infection that is caused by the installation of the redirect code. Like other common threats the criminals behind it will utilize several different methods of infection in order to increase the number of affected victims.

The most widely used mechanism is to upload dangerous browser extensions to the relevant repositories of the most popular web browsers. They are often accompanied by a description promising enhancements or the inclusion of new features. They are often uploaded with fake developer credentials and user reviews.

An alternative strategy would be to use email messages that are sent in bulk and contain social engineering scams. They are designed to appear as being sent by a legitimate service or Internet site that the recipients might use. In their body contents the users are coerced into downloading the extension by clicking on the built-links. They can also be directly embedded as file attachments.

The hackers can boost the infections by setting up malicious hacker pages that advertise the browser hijacker. They can pose as well-known Internet services, portals or review pages. When the users open them up the built-in contents will contain advertisements and various other tactics that will manipulate the users into installing them.

An alternative method is the spread of the malware files via file-sharing networks such as BitTorrent. They are often used to spread both contents like free audio books and open-source programs to pirate content like movies and software. This makes them very suitable for distributing hijacker payloads, two well-known example are the following:

  • Malicious Software Installers — The hackers can embed scripts into setup files that will install the threat when they are interacted with. The criminals will take the real installers of popular software and modify them with the necessary code. As soon as they are engaged the virus will be deployed to the machines.
  • Infected Documents — All popular document types can be used as payload carriers of the FreeLocalWeather hijacker: rich text documents, presentations, databases and spreadsheets. Whenever they are opened a prompt will appear asking the users to enable the built-in scripts. If this is done the scripts will download the hijacker code from a remote server and execute it on the local machine.

During our analysis we have found that most of the methods also deliver additional payloads, in most cases they are other hijackers. They are usually chosen by a sponsorship — every installed payload will lead to income generation for the operators.

FreeLocalWeather Hijacker – In-Depth Description

Once installed the FreeLocalWeather hijacker will follow the classic behavior tactics of changing the default settings in order to redirect the victims to a predefined hacker-controlled page. The attributes that are modified include the following: home page, search engine and new tabs page. This is done for every installed compatible browser on the local machine. The next time the users open up their application windows they will be shown the page.

During the installation of the threat system changes can occur. Depending on the exact configuration they can be different as every single infection can proceed according to the deployed configuration options. Such actions include modifications to the Windows Registry. If they are done to the operating system then serious performance issues will be perceived by the users. Changes to specific applications or services may make certain functions unusable or altogether make them unable to launch.

A related mechanism is the set up of the FreeLocalWeather hijacker as a persistent threat which is done by changing Windows values, configuration files and boot options. This may block access to the recovery boot menu and other areas which are commonly used within manual restore guides. In such cases the victims will need to use a quality anti-spyware solution, refer to our removal instructions.

Infections like the FreeLocalWeather hijacker may also deliver other threats such as ransomware and Trojans. This is done as the redirect installation code can be coupled with a stealth bypass module. It will scan the local system for any security software that can block the hijacker installation: anti-virus and firewall engines. Some of the samples can also detect if they are running within a debug environment or a virtual machine. If such are detected the engine will shut down itself in order to avoid detection.

The FreeLocalWeather hijacker will display a web site that uses a familiar-looking template and customized search engine forms. The design elements and content may confuse them into thinking that they have accessed a legitimate and trustworthy services.

The site design features several main elements:

  • Top Menu Bar — It includes a search engine box and links to several weather-related services.
  • Main Search Engine — This is the main interactive element of the site and it is placed in the center of the page. Below them are placed various social networks and services.
  • Bottom Menu Bar — It contains links to documents such as the privacy policy and the end-user license agreement.

Warning! If the victim users interact with any of the sites or the search engines it is very possible that all entered information, including account credentials will be automatically forwarded to the operators.

Additional dangers include the installation of tracking cookies or a stand-alone data harvesting module. This is a common mechanism in advanced malware strains where they can be used to extract parameters used to assign each device an individual ID. They are made by creating a report of all installed components, operating system variables and user settings. The other type of hijacked data is the one that can expose the identity of the victims. It is compiled of strings that include the user’s name, address, interests and any stored account credentials. They can search both the operating system contents and any third-party applications.

Browser hijackers like this one are also capable of being used as payload delivery devices for other malware, some of the most common examples are the following:

  • Ransomware — These are file-encrypting viruses that target sensitive user daa which is processed by a strong cipher. As soon as they are deployed onto the victim systems a built-in list of target file type extensions will be used to determine what data is to be affected.
  • Trojan Horses — They will place a local client service which will establish a secure connection to a hacker-controlled server. It allows the hacker operators to take over control of the affected systems, hijack files and also install other threats.
  • Cryptocurrency Miners — They can be embedded in scripts or small programs and will be run as soon as their deployment is complete. Their main task is to carry out complex mathematical calculations by taking advantage of the available system resources. As soon as a task is completed and reported the operators will receive income in cryptocurrency form. It will automatically be transferred over to their wallets.
  • a

Alternative names under which it is known include the following:

Adware.AdLoadCRT.Win32.544
MyWebSearch.J (v)
PUA.Mindsparki.Gen
PUP.Optional.MindSpark
PUP/Win32.MyWebSearch.R185901
Riskware.Win32.Agent.ebojcs
W32.HfsAdware.1166
Win32:PUP-gen [PUP]

FreeLocalWeather Hijacker – Privacy Policy

The FreeLocalWeather 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, FreeLocalWeather 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.

Remove FreeLocalWeather Browser Hijacker

To remove FreeLocalWeather 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.

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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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Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

How to Remove FreeLocalWeather hijacker from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove FreeLocalWeather hijacker

OFFER

Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your PC with SpyHunter

Keep in mind, that SpyHunter’s scanner is only for malware detection. If SpyHunter detects malware on your PC, you will need to purchase SpyHunter's malware removal tool to remove the malware threats. Read our SpyHunter 5 review. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria

1. Hold Windows key() + R


2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.


3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
Tip: Make sure to reverse those changes by unticking Safe Boot after that, because your system will always boot in Safe Boot from now on.


4. When prompted, click on "Restart" to go into Safe Mode.


5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.


Step 2: Uninstall FreeLocalWeather hijacker 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. To do that:


1. Hold the Windows Logo Button and "R" on your keyboard. A Pop-up window will appear.


2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.


3. This will open a window with all the programs installed on the PC. Select the program that you want to remove, and press "Uninstall"
Follow the instructions above and you will successfully uninstall most programs.


Step 3: Clean any registries, created by FreeLocalWeather hijacker on your computer.

The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by FreeLocalWeather hijacker there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.


2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.


3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
Tip: To find a virus-created value, you can right-click on it and click "Modify" to see which file it is set to run. If this is the virus file location, remove the value.

IMPORTANT!
Before starting "Step 4", please boot back into Normal mode, in case you are currently in Safe Mode.
This will enable you to install and use SpyHunter 5 successfully.

Step 4: Scan for FreeLocalWeather hijacker with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

1. Click on the "Download" button to proceed to SpyHunter's download page.


It is recommended to run a scan before purchasing the full version of the software to make sure that the current version of the malware can be detected by SpyHunter. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria.


2. After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.

SpyHunter5-update-2018


3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.

SpyHunter5-Free-Scan-2018


4. After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any files of the associated threat and found them, you can try to get them removed automatically and permanently by clicking on the 'Next' button.

SpyHunter-5-Free-Scan-Next-2018

If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

Get rid of FreeLocalWeather hijacker from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall FreeLocalWeather hijacker and remove related files and objects

OFFER
Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your Mac with SpyHunter for Mac
Keep in mind, that SpyHunter for Mac needs to purchased to remove the malware threats. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter’s EULA and Privacy Policy


1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:


2. Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:


3. In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to FreeLocalWeather hijacker:

Tip: To quit a process completely, choose the “Force Quit” option.


4. Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.


5. In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to FreeLocalWeather hijacker. If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.


6: Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference. Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to FreeLocalWeather hijacker. Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.


7: Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:

  • 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 FreeLocalWeather hijacker 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:

Disclaimer! If you are about to tamper with Library files on Mac, be sure to know the name of the virus file, because if you delete the wrong file, it may cause irreversible damage to your MacOS. Continue on your own responsibility!

1: Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:

2: Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:

3: Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as FreeLocalWeather hijacker. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.

You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:

→ ~/Library/LaunchAgents
/Library/LaunchDaemons

Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.


Step 2: Scan for and remove FreeLocalWeather hijacker files from your Mac

When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as FreeLocalWeather hijacker, 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.


Click the button below below to download SpyHunter for Mac and scan for FreeLocalWeather hijacker:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Remove FreeLocalWeather hijacker 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.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Erase FreeLocalWeather hijacker 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.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Uninstall FreeLocalWeather hijacker 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.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Remove FreeLocalWeather hijacker 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".

stf-safari preferences


Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.

stf-safari-extensions


Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.


Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.

stf-safari uninstall

A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the FreeLocalWeather hijacker will be removed.


How to Reset Safari
IMPORTANT: Before resetting Safari make sure you back up all your saved passwords within the browser in case you forget them.

Start Safari and then click on the gear leaver icon.

Click the Reset Safari button and you will reset the browser.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Eliminate FreeLocalWeather hijacker 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.


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