Home > Browser redirect > Remove GiffySocial Browser Hijacker
THREAT REMOVAL

Remove GiffySocial Browser Hijacker

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

GiffySocial 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 GiffySocial 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

Download

Malware Removal Tool

User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss GiffySocial hijacker.

GiffySocial Hijacker – Methods of Distribution

The GiffySocial browser hijacker infection can be acquired through various methods. One of the main ones is the use of SPAM email messages. They are designed to appear as legitimate notifications sent by well-known companies or services. In the body contents links to the hijacker can be sent alongside other web elements. Alternatively the file can directly be attached to the messages.

The criminals can also construct fake web pages which can be duplicates or hacker-created portals that resemble download sites or software presentation sites. Their aim is to coerce the users into thinking that they have accessed a real and saf to use site. To further make the sites belivable the developers can include security certificates, notices and forms that are widely used by companies as well.

A very popular method of spreading such threats is the use of infected payload carriers. There are two popular types that are widely used:

  • Infected Documents — The criminals can embed virus delivery macros in all popular document types: presentations, rich text documents, databases and spreadsheets. Once they are opened by the users a notification prompt will be spawned which will request the execution of these scripts. If this is done the GiffySocial browser hijacker will be installed.
  • Malicious Software Bundles — They are made by taking the legitimate setup files of popular software tools often downloaded by end users: creativity suites, utilities or productivity apps. When they are installed the hijacker will also be deployed to the system.

These files can also be spread through file sharing networks such as BitTorrent. They are used to spread both legitimate and pirate content. Often virus files are masked as counterfeit copies of expensive software or games.

We have detected that the GiffySocial Toolbar hijacker is uploaded to the repositories of the most popular web browsers. They are frequently positioned by adding fake user reviews and developer credentials. Once installed they will execute the built-in code which will lead to the infection. Upon installation the redirect will also request specific permissions. In the case of Google Chrome the prompt asks for privileges for the following:

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

GiffySocial Hijacker – In-Depth Description

The GiffySocial browser hijacker will start with the initial browser changes to the affected browsers. A primary aim is to change the settings in order to redirect the users to a hacker-controlled page. The usual settings that are changed include the default home page, search engine and new tabs page. After this step is complete every time the users open up their browser they will see the specified page.

The page itself is designed to look like any legitimate search engine and is made up of several components. The top menu bar shows a search engine box with links to photo-related services. The main search engine is placed underneath it and shows a larger search engine box with links to some of the most popular Internet services. Below it there are various interactive elements that are dynamically changed according to the collected users. In the bottom menu bar there are links to the various service documents such as the privacy policy.

The fact that the hijacker page can return search results means that it can lead to sites that contain sponsored data, fake software downloads, intrusive ads or even virus infections. In some cases the site will lead to other instances that are powered by the same network. This is done in order to acquire more data by the tracking cookies. The collected information is saved down in databases which can then be sold for profit to interested parties or used in malicious context.

The reason why users are drawn to this page is that the hijacker will impose tracking cookies which are used to collect all kinds of data. The gathered information can be categorized into two main groups:

  • Private User Data — Data that can expose the identity of the victim users is collected during the execution of this module. Information includes the person’s name, address, phone number, location, interests and any stored account credentials.
  • System Information — The data harvesting module can also be used to create a complete profile of all installed hardware components, user settings and certain operating environment variables.

If configured like a virus the GiffySocial browser hijacker may also set itself as a persistent threat. This means that it will create registry entries, boot menu values and other settings that make it to automatically start once the computer is powered on. In some cases this makes it impossible to enter into the recovery boot menus.

Other related measures include the set up of the browser hijacker in a stealth manner. This means that the infection engine will look out for security software such as anti-virus engines, sandbox environments and virtual machine hosts. If any of them are found they can be disabled or completely removed.

A dangerous instance is the deployment of Trojan horse infections. They set up a local client instance which connects to a hacker-controlled server via a secure link. It allows the malicious operators to spy on the users in real time, as well as hijack user data. Using it the hackers can also overtake control of the target machines at any given time.

In some cases the operators behind the GiffySocial browser hijacker can program it to load malicious code such as cryptocurrency miners. A miner instance is a dangerous script which runs complex mathematical tasks and takes advantage of the available system resources. Whenever a task is reported the operators will receive digital cryptocurrency as an award. Another possibility is the deployment of ransomware viruses. They will encrypt target user data with a strong encryption algorithm and according to a built-in list of file type extensions.

GiffySocial Hijacker – Privacy Policy

The GiffySocial 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, GiffySocial 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 GiffySocial Browser Hijacker

To remove GiffySocial 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.

Avatar

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.

More Posts

Follow Me:
Twitter


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer Stop Push Pop-ups

How to Remove GiffySocial hijacker from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove GiffySocial 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 GiffySocial 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 GiffySocial 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 GiffySocial 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 GiffySocial 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 Stop Push Pop-ups

Get rid of GiffySocial hijacker from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall GiffySocial 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 GiffySocial 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 GiffySocial 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 GiffySocial 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 GiffySocial 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 GiffySocial 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 GiffySocial hijacker files from your Mac

When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as GiffySocial 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 GiffySocial hijacker:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer Stop Push Pop-ups


Remove GiffySocial 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 Stop Push Pop-ups


Erase GiffySocial 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 Stop Push Pop-ups


Uninstall GiffySocial 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 Stop Push Pop-ups


Remove GiffySocial 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 GiffySocial 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 Stop Push Pop-ups


Eliminate GiffySocial 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.


Remove Push Notifications caused by GiffySocial hijacker from Your Browsers.


Turn Off Push Notifications from Google Chrome

To disable any Push Notices from Google Chrome browser, please follow the steps below:

Step 1: Go to Settings in Chrome.

settings

Step 2: In Settings, select “Advanced Settings”:

advanced settings

Step 3: Click “Content Settings”:

Content Settings

Step 4: Open “Notifications”:

notifications

Step 5: Click the three dots and choose Block, Edit or Remove options:

Block, Edit or Remove

Remove Push Notifications on Firefox

Step 1: Go to Firefox Options.

options

Step 2: Go to “Settings”, type “notifications” in the search bar and click "Settings":

Settings

Step 3: Click “Remove” on any site you wish notifications gone and click “Save Changes”

remove push notifications firefox

Stop Push Notifications on Opera

Step 1: In Opera, press ALT+P to go to Settings

opera

Step 2: In Setting search, type “Content” to go to Content Settings.

content settings

Step 3: Open Notifications:

notifications

Step 4: Do the same as you did with Google Chrome (explained below):

three dots

Eliminate Push Notifications on Safari

Step 1: Open Safari Preferences.

preferences

Step 2: Choose the domain from where you like push pop-ups gone and change to "Deny" from "Allow".


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *