The Surf-live.com redirect is a new browser hijacker that is actively being used to infect users worldwide. The malware code retrieves personal data from the victims and can institute additional threats to the compromised hosts.
|Browser Hijacker, PUP
|The Surf-live.com redirect is a typical example of a hijacker that redirects the users to a hacker-controlled site and can cause dangerous system changes to the infected computer.
|The redirect code changes the default home page, search engine and new tabs page to point to the hacker-controlled page.
|Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages
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Surf-live.com – Delivery Techniques
The Surf-live.com redirect infections are primarily caused by using the most popular delivery tactics employed by the hacker controllers. Such malware are usually part of malware browser plugins that are found on the software repositories. The hackers behind the threats utilize fake developer credentials and user reviews in order to infect as many users as possible.
Email messages constitute the other option used by the hackers which is usually made in two distinct forms. The first one relies on malware hyperlinks inserted in the body contents of the messages. They coerce the targets into clicking on them by posing as password reset links, notifications or other messages that are frequently sent by web services. In a lot of cases the hacker developers hijack text and graphics from popular sites in order to manipulate the users into interacting with the malware element. The other tactic uses file attachments that are sent directly to the users.
In a similar way the malware files can be hosted on download sites and file sharing networks such as BitTorrent.
In the past few months we have detected that more and more criminals rely on the use of two additional tactics.
The first one relies on the inclusion of the malware code in software installers. The way they ar is made by takin the legitimate installers from the official vendor sites and bundling them with the dangerous code. The resulting file is then uploaded to download sites or BitTorrent trackers. The Surf-live.com redirect malware can also be bundled within documents as well. They can be of different types (rich text documents, spreadsheets or presentations) and once they are opened a notification prompt is spawned which asks the victims to run the built-in code (macros). This leads to the actual infections.
Surf-live.com – More Details
The Surf-live.com redirect follows the typical behavior tactics that make it compatible with the most popular web browsers: Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Such threats are modeled to harvest sensitive user and system information. This is usually done by introducing a tracking cookie and other web beacons.
Once the users open up their browsers the next time they will notice that the home page, search engine and new tabs page will be changed to reflect the malware page. Such changes are part of the malware’s instructions.
The instituted tracking components relay sensitive information about the infected hosts that is usually classified in two major groups:
- Personally-Identifiable Data — The computer criminals can use the harvested data to directly expose the victims identity. This includes data such as names, addresses, telephone numbers, preferences, account credentials and passwords.
- Anonymous Data — This information consists mainly of data related to the operating system: version information, available hardware components and etc.
Surf-live.com redirect infections can also be used to deploy additional malware as a first stage delivery mechanism — ransomware, Trojans and other advanced computer threats.
All interaction with the malware site leads to a profile building operation. Using the information gathering technology the Surf-live.com redirect code will create a full profile of the user which may include demographic and sensitive data that is pooled into a large database. Such sites are usually created in groups and are part of a whole network operated by a single company. The collected data is then usually sold to marketing agencies and other interested parties for profit. As a result all user searches and interactions will be recorded.
We also warn that browser hijackers are a popular mechanism for spreading malware scripts. The sites may redirect the users to false pages, ads, banners, pop-ups. A popular tactic is to insert affiliate links in e-commerce sites which generates income for the hackers every time the victims purchase something on the Internet.
The documents list that upon the first site visit the user automatically give their consent to share sensitive data with the site. Cookies and other web technology are deployed automatically. The following types of data are collected by the malware:
- Your Name
- Your Email address
- Time and date you access and use the Service
- Approximate geographical location
- Internet Service Provider (ISP)
- IP address
- Preferred language
- Preferred search settings
- Browser type
- Operating system type
- Other Data you provide
How to Remove Surf-live.com Redirect
Below are listed all the steps that will help you to remove Surf-live.com redirect completely from an affected Chrome, Mozilla, Explorer, or Safari browser. The guide includes steps that reveal how to remove the nasty program from the Windows system as well. You can choose whether to follow a manual or an automatic removal. However, you should know that the manual instructions are not always enough to eliminate the infection as some leftovers may remain on the system. As a result, you may still experience redirects to Surf-live.com website while browsing the net. Maximum efficiency can be achieved with the help of an advanced anti-malware tool as it can quickly locate all leftovers.
What Is Surf-live.com?
The Surf-live.com threat is adware or browser redirect virus.
It may slow your computer down significantly and display advertisements. The main idea is for your information to likely get stolen or more ads to appear on your device.
The creators of such unwanted apps work with pay-per-click schemes to get your computer to visit risky or different types of websites that may generate them funds. This is why they do not even care what types of websites show up on the ads. This makes their unwanted software indirectly risky for your OS.
What Are the Symptoms of Surf-live.com?
There are several symptoms to look for when this particular threat and also unwanted apps in general are active:
Symptom #1: Your computer may become slow and have poor performance in general.
Symptom #2: You have toolbars, add-ons or extensions on your web browsers that you don't remember adding.
Symptom #3: You see all types of ads, like ad-supported search results, pop-ups and redirects to randomly appear.
Symptom #4: You see installed apps on your Mac running automatically and you do not remember installing them.
Symptom #5: You see suspicious processes running in your Task Manager.
If you see one or more of those symptoms, then security experts recommend that you check your computer for viruses.
What Types of Unwanted Programs Are There?
According to most malware researchers and cyber-security experts, the threats that can currently affect your device can be rogue antivirus software, adware, browser hijackers, clickers, fake optimizers and any forms of PUPs.
What to Do If I Have a "virus" like Surf-live.com?
With few simple actions. First and foremost, it is imperative that you follow these steps:
Step 1: Find a safe computer and connect it to another network, not the one that your Mac was infected in.
Step 2: Change all of your passwords, starting from your email passwords.
Step 3: Enable two-factor authentication for protection of your important accounts.
Step 4: Call your bank to change your credit card details (secret code, etc.) if you have saved your credit card for online shopping or have done online activities with your card.
Step 5: Make sure to call your ISP (Internet provider or carrier) and ask them to change your IP address.
Step 6: Change your Wi-Fi password.
Step 7: (Optional): Make sure to scan all of the devices connected to your network for viruses and repeat these steps for them if they are affected.
Step 8: Install anti-malware software with real-time protection on every device you have.
Step 9: Try not to download software from sites you know nothing about and stay away from low-reputation websites in general.
If you follow these recommendations, your network and all devices will become significantly more secure against any threats or information invasive software and be virus free and protected in the future too.
How Does Surf-live.com Work?
Once installed, Surf-live.com can collect data using trackers. This data is about your web browsing habits, such as the websites you visit and the search terms you use. It is then used to target you with ads or to sell your information to third parties.
Surf-live.com can also download other malicious software onto your computer, such as viruses and spyware, which can be used to steal your personal information and show risky ads, that may redirect to virus sites or scams.
Is Surf-live.com Malware?
The truth is that PUPs (adware, browser hijackers) are not viruses, but may be just as dangerous since they may show you and redirect you to malware websites and scam pages.
Many security experts classify potentially unwanted programs as malware. This is because of the unwanted effects that PUPs can cause, such as displaying intrusive ads and collecting user data without the user’s knowledge or consent.
About the Surf-live.com Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this Surf-live.com how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific, adware-related problem, and restore your browser and computer system.
How did we conduct the research on Surf-live.com?
Please note that our research is based on independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, thanks to which we receive daily updates on the latest malware, adware, and browser hijacker definitions.
Furthermore, the research behind the Surf-live.com threat is backed with VirusTotal.
To better understand this online threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.