A heavily advertising browser extension on Google Chrome has been reported on Reddit and other web forums. The extension is named ZenMate free VPN, and it is believed to be installed along with other setups. The pop-ups caused by the extension redirect several times to scamming sites and may also lead the user to other dangerous web domains. It is strongly advisable for users to immediately remove this extension, preferably by using an anti-malware scanner, just in case their PC has been infected with malware as a result of having this PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program) on their PC.
|Name||ZenMate and Appnor(.)xyz|
|Type||Browser Extension, PUP|
|Short Description||Google Chrome will have its settings modified. The software may also collect different information from the affected computer.|
|Symptoms||The browser`s default pages may be changed and different types of advertisements may be observed. The DNS address of the user may be changed to collect information. Causes browser redirects.|
|Distribution Method||Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages|
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|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss Zen Mate and Appnor(.)xyz.|
ZenMate – How Did I Install It
The answer to this question is as simple as it is complicated. ZenMate uses the so-called bundling downloads which can be found on various websites that support the free download of various software. Since most users tend not to be choosy where they download their favorite media player, system optimizer or other freeware, they sometimes become “victims” of bundled applications.
To put it simply, the installer script of ZenMate is added to the installer of the free program downloaded from the third-party site. It may only be detected in the form of “Add this program as a free extra” type of bundles if you choose the “Advanced” or “Custom” installation options of your installer, so users should take their time and be wise when installing new apps.
Also, there are similarly named applications to “ZenMate free VPN” directly in the Chome Extensions store, which may make difficult for users to choose which application is a legitimate one:
ZenMate Viewed In Detail
Once the extension is installed it may use different tracking software to collect user information:
- LSOs(Local Shared Objects) and others.
After these are used, the extension may begin to display different types of advertisements:
- Browser Redirects.
- Ad-supported search results.
One of the domains it has been reported to redirect to is known as Appnord(.)xyz. When opened, the domain causes 5 redirects:
→ Redirect 1:
https://www.adworkmedia(.)comistream.php?stream =aH ROcDovLzZxZG Fs LnJIYWxzZWN1 cmVkbG luay5jb20vP3MxPTU1 NTcw.M MyPTQ1 N Dg3NzgOM CO1 NTU3 MA= =
Redirect 5 (Final):
The final redirect (freelotto) leads the user to a fake prize claiming scam:
The scam wants from the user to claim the reward of 3500$ by entering his personal information in a form:
After this, the website may redirect to other pages with the same character. Such web pages are a typical adware campaigns to gather personal or financial information and use it for malicious purposes. They are often administered by shady PUPs like ZenMate free VPN and users are strongly advised to remove them immediately.
The program also appears as such in Google results:
Besides scamming websites, PUPs like ZenMate may also redirect users to URLs that are malicious, which may infect users with malware, like the following notorious ransomware viruses:
In conclusion this application is most likely used to generate money to cyber-criminals using one way or another. One of the methods for that is to make traffic to the domains it causes redirects to. The other may be via scams like the one above which allow them to either drain money using the card`s information or purchase products online with it as well as sell it on the deep web.
Remove ZenMate free VPN Completely and Effectively
To remove this ad-supported application, we strongly advise you to act swiftly. One method of removing it is by following the instructions which are posted below. They include the download of an advanced anti-malware software which will help you identify the multiple registry entries and files created by ZenMate to display you ads using an escalated privilege. Such software will also protect you from unwanted programs like ZenMate free VPN which are usually not detected by conventional antivirus programs.