The article will help you to remove Search.hmytemplates.co fully. Follow the browser hijacker removal instructions given at the end of the article.
The Search.hmytemplates.co redirect is a dangerous browser hijacker that has been uncovered in a recent attack campaign. It can be used to distribute virus payloads and cause various system changes to the infected hosts.
|Type||Browser Hijacker, PUP|
|Short Description||The hijacker redirect can alter the homepage, search engine and new tab on every browser application you have installed.|
|Symptoms||The homepage, new tab and search engine of all your browsers will be switched to Search.hmytemplates.co. You will be redirected and could see sponsored content.|
|Distribution Method||Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by Search.hmytemplates.co |
Malware Removal Tool
|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss Search.hmytemplates.co.|
Search.hmytemplates.co – Distribution Methods
The Search.hmytemplates.co redirect is a typical browser hijacker strain that is being distributed using the most popular methods. In order to increase the infection ratio the hackers can use several techniques at once.
A primary method is the use of SPAM messages that are being sent in bulk and use social engineering tricks that manipulate the targets into interacting with the dangerous element. This is done by using text and graphics from well-known sites, services and products. The messages are designed to look like service emails or notifications about their account activity. The malicious files are either attached directly to them or hyperlinked in the body contents. While the virus files may be deployed directly the email messages can also be used to spread infected payloads. Two of the most popular types are the following:
- Software Installers — The operators behind the Search.hmytemplates.co browser redirect can include the infection code in application installers, usually the most popular software is chosen: system utilities, creativity suites, productivity and office applications and even computer games. The installer packages are downloaded from the official vendors and modified to include the dangerous code.
- Documents — Virus infections can happen when interacting with infected files: text documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Once they are opened a notification prompt appears that asks the victims to enable the built-in macros. If this is done the malicious file will be downloaded and the Search.hmytemplates.co redirect will be installed.
The browser redirect can also be directly advertised on the software plugin repositories using fake developer credentials and user reviews. The redirects are advertised with elaborate descriptions with promises of adding new useful features or changing the application’s behavior in a certain way.
Search.hmytemplates.co redirect strains can also be distributed using web scripts of different types, including all sorts of pop-ups, banners, redirects and in-line code.
Search.hmytemplates.co – Detailed Description
The Search.hmytemplates.co redirect is a typical example of the hijacker class of infections. It comes under the form of a browser plugin that is made compatible with the most popular web browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera and Microsoft Edge. Once the infections are on the target computers the associated engine will start to commit various application changes. Usually the default home page, search engine and new tabs page are changed to reflect the hacker-controlled site. As the virus spreads from the web browsers it can also access all contained information: cookies, history, bookmarks, preferences, passwords and etc. As soon as the users open their browser windows they will see the hacker-controlled site and varous tracking cookies will be instituted on their computers.
The Search.hmytemplates.co hijacker can be programmed into executing various malicious actions. One of the first actions instituted by the engine can be a data harvesting component. It would use predefined strings that scan the system for specific information and the data is then reported back to the operators. The harvested information can be used for campaign optimization purposes by creating a complete profile of the hardware components and certain operating system values. In addition it can be programmed to also expose the victim’s identity by hijacking personal data. Example contents include the victim’s name, address, telephone number, interests, location, passwords and account credentials. This can be fed to a stealth protection module that protects the instance from security software that can interfere with its correct execution. Example software includes the likes of anti-virus products, sandbox environments and virtual machine hosts.
The computer hackers behind the Search.hmytemplates.co hijacker can also bundle ransomware-like behavior by creating a network connection to a hacker-controlled server. It is used to harvest the captured data and also lead to a Trojan-like behavior — the hackers can spy on the victims in real time, as well as overtake control of their machines. This connection can also serve to deploy additional malicious instances as well.
The site itself is designed using a standard template that is made to look like legitimate web sites and services. It is made up of several elements:
- Top Menu Bar — It contains a search bar along with several links to other sites that are operated by the company. It contains a drop-down menu that contains the following entries: Create Custom Templates, Create Business Cards, Create Resumes. They are custom affiliate links that can redirect the users to various sites depending on the site’s current configuration.
- Main Search Engine — This is the main interactive element which looks like a legitimate search engine. We remind our users that all entered queries may lead to dangerous sites and even virus instances.
- Email address
- IP address
- Home address (mailing address)
- Search queries and all data you type in searches
- Search data and specifics of searches
- URLs and clicks
- Browser type
- Your name
- Your geographic location
- Your ISP (Internet Search Provider)
- Communications preferences
- Operating System (and other related data)
We remind our users that browser hjackers like this one have the primary goal of creating a full profile of the victims. The collected data is pooled into databases that are shared between the various hijacker sites.
Remove Search.hmytemplates.co Browser Hijacker
To remove Search.hmytemplates.co 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. We remind our readers that certain hijackers (most likely this one as well) are configured to harvest the information to a database shared with other similar threats.