Remove Redirect Removal

Remove Redirect Removal image

The redirect is a dangerous browser hijacker that is part of a large network of sites and viruses that attempt to hijack sensitive data from the infected users. It can lead to malware infections with other threats and is distributed using many methods. Our complete removal guide shows how victims can restore their browsers easily from it.

Threat Summary
TypeBrowser Hijacker, PUP
Short DescriptionThe redirect is a generic browser hijacker that redirects the victims to a hacker-controlled site.
SymptomsThe built-in code changes the default settings of the affected web browsers and the victims is redirected to a malware page that harvests sensitive user information.
Distribution MethodFreeware Installations, Bundled Packages
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The redirect is delivered through the usual tactics that are typical for this type of computer viruses. The hacker operators usually take advantage of executable file downloads initiated by the targets instead of direct network attacks or exploit kits.

One of the main methods is the creation of malware instances on the browser plugin repositories. The hacker behind it use fake credentials and user reviews in order to coerce the targets into installing it. In many cases these instances promise new features and useful functions or promise to enhance already existing ones. In fact once the infections have been initiated the only noticeable changes (perceived by the users) are going to be the redirect effects.

In other cases the redirect can be distributed through email messages. They use different social engineering tricks in order to make the users install the files. The files may be attached directly to the messages by posing as data of user interest — presentations, archives, documents and etc. In other cases the hackers can devise templates that look like legitimate Internet services and insert malware links masquerading them as password reset forms and other interactive elements.

Recent trends indicate that there are two other popular methods that rely on file downloads:

  • Infected Software Installers — The criminals can take regular installation files and modify their code to include the browser hijacker code. Usually popular applications (both free and trial versions) remain the common choice. In certain cases the infections can be avoided by unchecking certain options during the installation process.
  • Infected Documents — Another popular choice is the use of documents to spread the malware code. The files can be of different types including: rich text documents, presentations and spreadsheets. Once the victims open them a notification prompt which asks them to enable the built-in macros (scripts). If this is done the malware code is downloaded from a hacker-controlled server and the infection follows.

When complex infection patterns are used the browser hijacker can be deployed using other malware as a secondary payload. – Technical Description

The redirect follows the common behavior patterns associated with typical viruses of this type. As soon as it is installed on the victim computers it changed the default home page, search engine and new tabs page to point to a hacker-controlled page. As the infections originate from the browsers the hackers can obtain the stored data in them: form data, history, bookmarks, passwords, preferences and account credentials.

The next time the victims open up their browsers they will face the hacker-made page. It is designed to look in a similar way to popular web services by being composed of several components:

  • Top Menu Bar — It shows a small search engine alongside links to popular Google-powered services.
  • Search Engine — This is the main component that is used to direct the users into interacting with the site. Below it there are links to other populr sites.
  • Bottom Menu Bar — It links to documents such as the Terms of Use and the privacy policy.

The victims should know that any interaction with the site, especially its search engines leads to virus infections and additional malware. In many cases they also provide sponsored links instead of the best possible results. According to the analysis it uses a modified Google search engine that is able to track the user’s preferences and store them in a databases shared with the criminal operators.

One of the main goals of such threats is to extract as many sensitive data as possible. There are two main types of content that can be harvested. The first one is related to anonymous metrics that are used by the criminals to view detailed information about the compromised hosts. The other type of information can directly expose the victim’s identity. It searches for strings and values regarding their name, address, telephone number, preferences and other similar data.

All victims should know that once the infections have taken place the hacker operators automatically start to receive information from the browsers. Example data includes cookies, operating system, geolocation, preferences, IP address and others.

Note that customized versions of the redirect can be used for other purposes as well. If an advanced tactic is used the infections can include a Trojan component. It effectively allows the hackers to spy on the users in real time, as well as take over control of their machines at any given moment.

The criminals can also use the browser hijacker in order to infect the computers with additional threats.

Remove Redirect

To remove manually from your computer, follow the step-by-step removal instructions given below. In case the manual removal does not get rid of the browser hijacker entirely, you should search for and remove any leftover items with an advanced anti-malware tool. Such software helps keep your computer secure 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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