Computer security experts uncovered a new ongoing attack campaign using the SlikDealer New Tab redirect as primary payload. The browser hijacker modifies essential settings on the most popular web applications and as a result redirects the users to a hacker-controlled page. As a result additional threats can be installed and the extracted private data can be abused.
|Name||SlikDealer New Tab|
|Type||Browser Hijacker, PUP|
|Short Description||Upon installation the malware code modifies the web browser settings to point to a hacker-controlled page.|
|Symptoms||Modified browser settings such as the homepage, default search engine and the new tab page.|
|Distribution Method||Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by SlikDealer New Tab |
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|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss SlikDealer New Tab.|
SlikDealer New Tab – Distribution
The SlikDealer New Tab redirect is a recently confirmed malware that is being distributed using several types of tactics. The hackers use the most popular strategies in order to maximize the infection ratio.
One of the observed attack campaigns uses fake browser plugins that contain the SlikDealer New Tab redirect code. They are also known as browser hijackers and are made compatible with the most popular applications. The instances are spread on the official software extension repositories and utilize counterfeit developer identities and user reviews.
Another mechanism that is employed is the coordination of spam email messages. Depending on the targets and the attack campaign there are several ways of configuring them:
- File Attachments — The malware files can be directly embedded in the messages. The employed social engineering techniques blackmail the users into interacting with the malware component.
- Hyperlinks — They link to off-site hosted versions of the SlikDealer New Tab redirect. In certain cases the files can be placed in archives which require further user interaction.
- Infected Documents — The criminals can bundle the malware code into documents of different types such as rich text documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Once they are opened a notification message appears that sks the victims to execute the built-in macros. If this is done the infection follows.
- Malware Installers — The criminals can embed the dangerous code into setup files downloaded from the official vendors. They are then distributed over email messages and hacker-created pages posing as the legitimate fles.
The SlikDealer New Tab redirect files can also be placed as part of hacker-controlled pages. A variation of this tactic is the use of web scripts — banners, ads and pop-ups.
SlikDealer New Tab – Information
The majority of reported infections seem to follow the standard behavior associated with this type of malware. The virus engine is compatible with the most popular web browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, Google Chrome, Safari and Microsoft Edge. Once the infections have been made the engine changes the following settings in order to redirect the victims to a hacker-controlled page: default home page, search engine. As a result the next time the users open up their browsers they will stumble upon the hacker-made home page.
Upon first visit the page institutes tracking cookies that start to gather sensitive data from the victims and the system itself. Most analysts consider this privacy-intrusive and a serious security risk. There are two main types of data:
- Anonymous Data — The malware engine can create a profile of the compromised system that includes hardware information and operating system configuration. It is used to judge how effective the the campaign is by the operators.
- Personally-Identifiable Information — The malware engine can harvest sensitive information from the target computers. It is programmed to look out for strings of data that can directly expose the identity of the victims.
One of the main goals of the hackers is to institute tracking cookies that generate a profile of the victims. The infections can also be programmed to cause other malware actions to the victim systems. An example is the installation of additional malware. Trojans can spy on the victims and take over control of the machines at any given time. Ransomware can encrypt sensitive files and request a ransomware payment using blackmail tactics.
Another consequence of the infection can attempt to modify the Windows registry and cause a persistent state of execution. This makes it difficult to remove using manual methods. As a result the victims may face severe performance issues or application failure.
The computer users should know that any interaction with the browser hijacker only fuels the hacker-controlled database with more information. When the users interact with the search engine their search queries are sent to the operators. In return they can be fed sponsored and ad pages or redirected to phishing sites. This is especially dangerous as computer users frequently utilize social networks and online banking services. If they are redirected to fake pages the operators can acquire their account credentials. Such abuse can lead to crimes such as identity theft and financial abuse.
Another consequence of the malware installation is the use of affiliate links. They are usually inserted when the users click on any shopping-related links. Every time they buy a product online a small commission goes out to the hacker operators. In a similar way the victims can be redirected to various scam sites.
It lists some of the types of information that is being gathered automatically via the web technologies and the tracking cookies:
- Operating System Details.
- Browser Type and Version.
- All Site Interactions.
- E-commerce sites Activity.
- User Identity Information (Name, Pseudonyms, Preferences, Location).
- Contact Information (Email address, Telephone number and etc.).
We remind our victims that all collected data can be shared with third parties. In cases where the user are redirected to partner sites all collected data pooled into the database can be traded or sold to marketing agencies. Larger site can utilize the gained information in order to send out sponsored ads, personalized content to their emails or even contact the victims over the phone.
One of the consequences of having access to such data is the possibility of creating extremely efficient phishing scams and personalized ransomware messages.
Remove SlikDealer New Tab Redirect
To remove SlikDealer New Tab 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.