Remove FreeShoppingTool Browser Hijacker

Remove FreeShoppingTool Browser Hijacker

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

FreeShoppingTool 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

TypeBrowser Hijacker, PUP
Short DescriptionEach browser application on your computer could get affected. The hijacker can redirect you and will display lots of advertisements.
SymptomsBrowser settings which are altered are the homepage, search engine and the new tab.
Distribution MethodFreeware Installations, Bundled Packages
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by FreeShoppingTool


Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss FreeShoppingTool.

FreeShoppingTool Hijacker – Methods of Distribution

The FreeShoppingTool browser hijacker can be installed using various ways. The security reports indicate that most infections are caused through interactions with the fake download sites. There are multiple domains and design layouts used to persuade users into downloading and installing it.

To further increase the number of infected users the hackers behind the targeted attacks can utilize SPAM email messages that may appear as being sent by a legitimate service or site. In most cases the FreeShoppingTool browser hijacker setup files can be linked, a download site placed or directly attached to the messages.

A very popular way of spreading malware is the use of infected software installers. They are prepared by taking the legitimate installers of famous end-user software and adding the virus code into them. Examples include system utilities, creativity suites and productivity apps.

The FreeShoppingTool browser hijacker can also be downloaded via the relevant browser extension repositories. The developers are uploading them to the various repositories using fake accounts or customer user reviews. Typically when the installation is executed this will trigger a built-in behavior pattern will be started. It will redirect the users to a specific hacker-controlled page and modify the settings of the client browsers. Examples include the default home page, search engine and new tabs page.

File-sharing networks are a popular place where virus files can be found. BitTorrent is one of the most commonly used applications which is both used to share pirate and legitimate content.

FreeShoppingTool Hijacker – In-Depth Description

The FreeShoppingTool browser hijacker once installed will run the built-in code. Depending on the exact version and criminal instructions a different behavior pattern may be started.

The typical case will start with the data gathering module. It seeks to search for sensitive data that can be exploited by the hackers for various crimes. This is done by automating the strings collection by a special module. The harvested information can be grouped in two main groups:

  • Machine Information — A large part of the collected information is used to generate an unique machine ID. It is usually made up of data such as a report of the installed hardware components, regional settings and user settings.
  • Personal Information — The other group of data that is collected can identify the owners of the machines. The module will scan the local files and data to find out information such as their name, address, phone number, location and interests. Many of them can also acquire any stored account credentials and passwords. Most infections can also access the installed third-party applications: browsers, remote desktop clients and etc.

The collected information can be then be fed to another module called stealth protection. It is used to protect the virus from any security software that can interfere with it. As such it can be used to counter anti-virus engines, virtual machine hosts and debug environments. This information is then reported to the hacker-controlled server. In certain situations this can also trigger a Trojan module. It will automatically set up a secure connection to a specific server in order to communicate the acquired information. Using it the hackers can hijack user files, spy on the victims and also plant other threats to the infected machines. This is a very dangerous case as the use of Trojans can also lead to infection with malware such as the following:

  • Cryptocurrency Miners — They are stand-alone programs or scripts that will take advantage of the available system resources in order to execute complex calculations. When the individual tasks are complete and reported to the specialist servers the criminal operators will receive digital assets in the form of cryptocurrency.
  • Ransomware Viruses — Ransomware infections can be caused by such threats. They will scan the files and search for data with specific extenstions that is to be encrypted. The most common method is the use of a built-in list of target file type extensions.
  • Intrusive Ads — The presentation of intrusive ads, pop-ups and banners can be caused by the FreeShoppingTool browser hijacker.

The usual signs of infections are the manipulation of the browser settings. The users will find that once they launch them the associated FreeShoppingTool browser hijacker will be shown. This is done by changing the default settings that are typically set up by the users — default home page ,new tabs page and search engine. The main goal is to cause a redirect leading to the loading of this page. It contains a multitude of scripts that can track the users by acquiring information about their actions in real-time. A familiar looking design is used in order not to raise any concerns or warnings. If the infection has been able to bypass the installed security software then all kinds of dangerous actions can follow.

The design follows the well-known design elements of using several main elements resembling a legitimate search engine. The top menu bar lists a search engine box along with links to various sites and services, along with popular social networks, that are well-known to the users.

What follows is the main section that displays the main search engine showing a larger search box. Depending on the acquired version and configuration the logo image can be changed to reflect different well-known companies. Underneath it there are placed links to common sites and online services that the users might access. The bottom bar lists the links to service pages such as the privacy policy.

Coming in contact with the FreeShoppingTool browser hijacker may lead to several dangerous instances. One of the most common malicious behavior is the display of various pop-ups, banners and redirects leading to SPAM or dangerous sites. In most case hijackers like this one can also display non-relevant information when the search engine is used. Instead of the best possible results it will return sponsored links and may even lead to virus infections.

WARNING! Accessing any sites and entering personal account credentials through the links or via the search engine results can lead to them being automatically sent to the malicious operators.

FreeShoppingTool Hijacker – Privacy Policy

The FreeShoppingTool 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, FreeShoppingTool 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 FreeShoppingTool Browser Hijacker

To remove FreeShoppingTool 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.


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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