Weknow.ac Redirect Removal — How to Restore Your Browser
THREAT REMOVAL

Weknow.ac Redirect Removal — How to Restore Your Browser

The article will help you to remove Weknow.ac fully. Follow the browser hijacker removal instructions given at the end of the article.

The Weknow.ac redirect is a browser extension that can be used for hijacker purposes. Interaction with it can hijack personal data belonging to the victims. Our in-depth article explores some of the dangers associated with its presence on infected hosts.

Threat Summary

NameWeknow.ac redirect
TypeBrowser Hijacker, PUP
Short DescriptionThe hijacker redirect can alter the homepage, search engine and new tab on every browser application you have installed.
SymptomsThe homepage, new tab and search engine of all your browsers will be switched to Weknow.ac. You will be redirected and could see sponsored content.
Distribution MethodFreeware Installations, Bundled Packages
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by Weknow.ac redirect

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User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss Weknow.ac redirect.

Weknow.ac Redirect – February 2019 Update

The browser hijacker has been found to modify important parameters across all popular web browsers. In the case of Google Chrome it will change the program’s policies which governs how the browser operates. At the moment there is a widespread campaign targeting mainly Mac users and specifically the browsers that are used the most by them — Safari and Google Chrome. The attackers are infecting the victim users mainly via fake Adobe Flash updates. The mechanism is the usual — fake download sites, ad redirects and other type of web content that links to the malicious files.

As one of the most popular browser hijackers in the last few months the WeKnow.Ac will use all popular methods in order to infect as many users as possible. In the case of Safari the hijacker will modify the system preferences in order to block the real-time engines of some anti-malware tools from fixing it automatically.

Weknow.ac – Distribution Methods

Weknow.ac is a browser redirect code that can be installed using different tactics. One of the main methods used by computer hackers is the use of malicious emails. They utilize social engineering tactics that utilize web elements taken from legitimate sites and web services. The users may mistake them for legitimate notifications, password reminders and other materials that can be sent by them. The redirect code can feature code or links that can lead to the Weknow.ac redirect infection.

The Weknow.ac redirect code can also be distributed using infected payload carriers, there are two primary types:

  • Infected Documents — The hackers behind the threat embed malicious scripts in documents of various types: presentations, rich text documents, databases and spreadsheets. Once they are opened by the victims a notification prompt is spawned which asks them to run the built-in scripts (macros). This will trigger the virus infection sequence.
  • Application Installers — The Weknow.ac redirect code can be embedded in application installers using a similar method. They are made by taking the legitimate installers from the official vendor sites with the redirect code. The operators usually target popular choices among end users such as system utilities, creativity suites and productivity tools.

One of the most effective methods rely on the inclusion of the Weknow.ac redirect code in browser hijackers. They are counterfeit browser plugins that are being advertised on official web browser repositories and other download sites. They feature an elaborate description that promises users new functionality addition. The operators may also use fake user reviews and developer credentials.

Infections can also come from the use of file sharing networks like BitTorrent. Many of the reported victim hosts are probably being infected by a file posing as a Adobe Flash Player Update.

Weknow.ac – Detailed Description

The Weknow.ac browser redirect follows the typical behavior patterns associated with this type of malware. One of the first modifications that it does is the browser manipulation — the engine will change the default settings to redirect the users to a hacker-operated site. The values that are changed include the default home page, search engine and new tabs page.

As the infections spread from the browsers themselves the hacker operators can acquire the stored information: cookies, bookmarks, history, passwords and etc.

Following the Weknow.ac infection several malicious behavior patterns can be applied:

  • Information Gathering — A separate and more complex infection engine can be called to hijack additional information. It is configured to extract strings related to the victim’s identity (their name, address, phone number, passwords and etc.) or additional data that can be used to optimize the attack campaigns — regional settings, analytics data, hardware components and etc.
  • Persistent Threat — The browser hijacker can be installed as a persistent threat which makes manual user recovery non-working in some cases. This is related to the fact that the virus engine can edit configuration files and Windows Registry values.
  • Windows Registry Modification — The Weknow.ac browser redirect can reconfigure the Windows Registry which can have consequence on the systems in general. Such actions can render certain application features non-working or cause system performance instability.
  • Trojan Module — Advanced configuration instances of browser redirects can generate a Trojan horse infection. It sets up a secure connection to a hacker-controlled server. It allows the operators to take over control of the infected machines, spy on the users and deploy additional malware.

Opening the Weknow.ac browser redirect displays a customized search engine page. The operators have used a familiar template that is modeled after legitimate web services in order to coerce the users that they are using a safe and trusted site. WARNING! Any interaction with it may lead to infections with viruses or the redirection to sponsored or affiliate sites.

Such sites are frequently created in bulk by the hackers in an automated way, interacting with them (via the search engine box) can lead to cross-site links. The idea behind the sites is to harvest user data as much as possible. The operators use shared databases that assign generic domain names with various combinations in order to attract as much users as possible.

In some cases this site can redirect the users to a potentially malicious software. This is the reason why we recommend that all users are advised to install and use a quality anti-spyware tool to guard themselves from infections.

The template-based site is made up of three components: a top menu bar, a main search engine box and a bottom navigation bar.

Weknow.ac – Privacy Policy

The site does not link the web site service to any company in particular which is a warning sign that it might be malicious in nature. In such cases the operators usually use the data harvesting cookies and web tracking technologies to hijack information from the systems. It’s privacy policy may change over time however the listed information inside will probably will probably include a wide variety of data. At the moment of writing this article the service will collect the following data:

  • Technical Information — Certain technical information regarding your device, and your Use of the Software & Services and other third party software and applications installed on your device (the “Other Software”), including the type, name and version of operating system and Other Software including, without limitation, their interactions with the Software & Services, ISP (Internet Service Provider), location, Internet protocol (IP) address, anonymous user identifiers, device configuration and identifiers (IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers used in IOS), Advertising ID (Identifier for Advertisers used in Android) and the like), version of the Software & Services, and your configuration and settings of the Software & Services.
  • Usage Information — Certain usage related information regarding your use and interaction with your device, including the Software & Services and Other Software, such as when and how you Use the Software & Services and Other Software, how you use your internet browser and internet search related applications, the web pages you visit and the content you see, access and utilize on such web pages; for example, offerings and advertisements that you view, use and access, how you use them and your response to them, how frequently you use them, your search queries and the time and date of your searches.
  • Social Networks — Your interactions on social networks through the Software & Services.
  • Registration Related Information — Information you provide when you register for the Software & Services (if applicable), such as name, home or work addresses, e-mail address, telephone and fax numbers, birth date and gender.
  • Support Related Information — If you communicate with Us via our support section or via email, we may also collect your email address, name and any information voluntarily submitted by you in connection with such support (for example, your name, company name, and particular support query or request).

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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