Sm.de hijacker occupies your browsers’ preferences

Sm.de is a very rapidly spreading browser hijacker. Currently, it is the most active in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Brazil. If you are not familiar with the concept of browser hijackers, these malware parasites have very distinctive features. First of all, once this type of infection has infiltrated into your browser, you will notice new home pages, default search providers and new tab pages. In this case, Sm.de search engine will be set as your main preference.

From the first glance, this German search engine might seem like a legitimate platform. However, it is linked to another browser hijacker: Startfenster.de. If you feel more comfortable reading information in the German language, read this article. It will inform you of all symptoms of Sm.de virus, and will also show the ways you can easily get rid of it.

Sm.de virus

By allowing an unknown search engine to remain as your browsers’ preferences, you are at risk of losing your credentials, personally-identifiable information and might even be exposed to malicious content. Every search query that you initiate thru Sm.de search engine will expose you sponsored content. For instance, you could see ads for websites that offer malicious programs. If you do not want to compromise your computer with more malware, please use a reliable search platform like Google.

Browser hijackers like Sm.de virus can also cause automatic redirection to remote websites. If you enter rogue messages like “Congratulations, you have won” or “Your computer is infected with viruses”, quickly close your browser to avoid further damage. These types of online advertisements are known to distribute malicious software.

An unknown search engine can also pose as a threat to your privacy. For instance, some browser hijackers do not encrypt information. Therefore, users’ data could be stolen. However, this is not the case of Sm.de browser hijacker. It uses appropriate encryption methods, and is verified by a reliable security team. However, we are still not convinced that people should assign Sm.de as their home page, default search provider and new tab page. After all, it can infiltrate into users’ computers without consent.

MySearch infection: an intrusive browser hijacker

Users could be infected with browser hijackers and have no clue about it. If you want to step up your game and be aware of malware parasites that managed break through your defenses, you are ought to pay attention to the most important features of browsing. First of all, hijackers are known to initiate one very evident modification: they replace your default search providers with an unknown search engine. In a case of MySearch.com, you will notice this website as your new tab page and home page.

In the MySearch.com website, it is stated that this search platform is designed and controlled by APN, LLC company. However, due to significant similarities between this and notorious MyWay products, researchers have another theory. It is possible that MySearch virus is actually a creation of Mindspark Interactive, and they are using a different company name to avoid recognition. If this is true, MySearch is created by ill-famous developers that have created a number of potentially unwanted programs (PUPs).

Mysearch.com virus

Currently, the MySearch.com virus is the most active in Brazil, Indonesia, India, Thailand and Vietnam. However, people from other countries might notice that this unknown search engine has occupied their browsers’ preferences. Why does this sudden modification occur? Well, it is because that users unknowingly, or voluntarily download one of the browser extensions that set MySearch as a default search. If this happens, please take a look at the active browser plugins. You are bound to notice a toolbar, related to APN company.

Another annoying symptom of Mysearch.com virus is the unwanted redirection to suspicious websites and online advertisements. While your browser is influenced by a malicious parasite, you will notice that a disturbing amount of adverts are being displayed on your screen. Some of them could be related to free coupons or other online services. Additionally, you could also be exposed to deceptive ads that urge you to download browser add-ons or suspicious desktop programs. Malvertising is a huge issue on the web. Therefore, you should not keep any unknown tools are can introduce you to malware-laden content or phishing scams.

WhiteRose ransomware: symptoms and decryption possibilities

Ransomware viruses are not a new threat in the cyber world. New variants are being released every day, and this specific WhiteRose version has been active since the end of March, 2018. Despite its short-term success, security researchers have already figured out a way to help victims of this infection. You can tell that this variant has invaded your computer from the extension, appended to the locked digital files: .WHITEROSE.

According to security specialists, this is ransomware belongs to the family of InfiniteTear infections and uses Remote Desktop services for distribution. Gathered evidence also reveals that WhiteRose virus targets countries from Europe. Therefore, people from countries like Spain, Germany, Poland and etc might have become victims of this devastating ransomware infection.

WhiteRose ransomware

From the first glance, WhiteRose virus might seem like an ordinary ransomware infection. However, the creators of this cyber threat have a poetic side of them. Victims and researchers are confused over the content of the WhiteRose’s ransom note. It contains sentences like:

“This time, I will plant all the white roses of the garden to bring a different gift for the people of each country. No matter where is my garden and where I am from, no matter if you are a housekeeper or a big company, it does not matter if you are the west of the world or its east, it is important the white roses are endless and infinite”.

This is definitely not a standard text for hackers to include into their ransom demands.

After entering a computer, the WhiteRose virus will create a Perfect.sys file in the C disk. Upon this addition, the ransomware will look for files that are fit to be encrypted. Researchers suggest that the virus is capable of encrypting dozens of different file types.

Therefore, users’ documents, photos, videos and other system files are in huge danger. However, there are some folders that the virus won’t touch, like the trash and Windows folders. In the ransom note of this ransomware, victims will also notice a huge rose, made out of symbols. Luckily, Michael Gillespie has managed to find a way to help the victims of this WhiteRose ransomware. People who have become infected should contact this researcher and ask for help.

XMRig Miner Trojan

You might have heard of a new threat called a crypto-miner. These infections are very easy to distribute; therefore, hackers are becoming more involved in these scams. XMRig Miner Trojan is one of the threats that will utilize your computer resources and generate Monero crypto-currency. These malware threats are more evasive than ever and some people might not even be aware that they are compromised.

Crypto-miners like XMRig are difficult, but not impossible to detect

In order to find out whether you are infected with this infection, you should open your Windows Task Manager. Then, take a look at the utilized CPU resources. If the usage reaches 90% or more, it is very likely that your computer is infected with a crypto-miner. Security researchers have indicated that the XMRig miner is very active in Germany. Therefore, if you would like to read descriptions of this infection in the German-language, click here.

XMRig crypto-miner

XMRig miner can also be used legitimately and people will be able to set certain parameters like the Monero wallet and the password of the user. However, once the crypto-miner is delivered illegally, its parameters are pre-configured, and the command-line display is not visible. This specific XMRig miner has caused a lot of issues for people in Japan, Taiwan, China, India, and the US. The modified code uses computers’ resources without permission and mines crypto-currencies for the hackers.

Security researchers have indicated that XMRig crypto-miner is able to avoid detection because of its stealthy activity. For instance, the miner might be set to use a minimal amount of system power, making it impossible to suspect mining activities. Recently, it has been reported that hackers were exploiting an old vulnerability in Linux servers and pushing cryptocurrency miners. This campaign of XMRig was very successful and managed to make hackers a profit of $74,000 USD.

If you do not want to become compromised by crypto-miners like XMRig Trojan, we hope that you will use the necessary anti-malware tools. In addition to that, there are special ad-blockers which are programmed to block crypto-mining scripts. If you are not careful, your operating system could be secretly utilized by hackers. As a result, you might even have to pay bigger electric bills.

Babylon Toolbar: is it reliable?

We all know how annoying browser hijackers can be. They invade your browser by using deceptive means of distribution, they change your browsers’ settings, add sponsored links in results to search queries and initiate redirection to unknown websites on a daily basis. However, these features should not only cause you a headache, but also fear. Isearch.babylon.com malware parasite is one of the more persistent hijackers around, and it has been targeting users since 2017.

Isearch.babylon.com virus will take control over your browsers and show adult-oriented ads

Currently, this parasite has been detected to be even more persistent than it was before. Therefore, once you notice that your home page, default search provider and new tab page have been modified, we hope that you will do everything in your power to get rid of it once and for all.

Babylon toolbar

In addition to taking control over browsers, Isearch.babylon.com virus also has been determined to show a lot of adult-oriented content. Angry parents have expressed their disgust with such advertising strategies and red-flagged this platform for searching. Furthermore, browser hijackers can cause redirection to a variety of phishing sites, attempting to steal your personally identifiable information. In other cases, you might be introduced to technical support scams that use social engineering to convince people to pay for useless security tools.

Many users ask how Babylon Toolbar infiltrates into their browsers. Well, rogue extensions could be installed voluntarily. Some might believe that the add-on will improve their programs for browsing, but this is not true. This suspicious plugin will only show objectionable advertisements and spy on your online activities. In addition to that, the connection to the Isearch.babylon.com is not secure. Therefore, all of the information you reveal to this website might be stolen during transit. If you want to keep your privacy safe, please try to keep your operating system without any malicious programs.

According to our analysis, the Babylon Toolbar virus is the most active in United States, India, Japan, Brazil and Mexico. Of course, people from other countries might also be infecting. You should pay attention to your browsers’ preferences and make sure that no add-ons or desktop programs would receive permission to change them.

Was Pokki program installed without your permission?

It has been years after Pokki potentially unwanted program was detected by security researchers. The scandal began after people from all over the world started complaining about their brand new computers. Reports suggested that Pokki was pre-installed into computers by manufacturers, and that this was done without permission or consent from users. Of course, if you are buying a brand new laptop from Lenovo or another company, you are expecting it to arrive malware-free. However, if the new product comes with pre-installed malware, we are sure that you would be displeased.

Pokki program is distributed through bundles of programs

Nevertheless, the Pokki program has found new ways for distribution. Security researchers are indicating that the unwanted tool is arriving into devices thru the deceptive strategy of product bundling. If you are not familiar with this tactic, we will briefly explain. Bundling means that one program is capable of offering two or more additional applications. This optional software is usually offered during installation processes, or could be mentioned in the EULA policy.

Pokki unwanted tool

Specialists are stressing out that Pokki is spread in bundles of programs. Sadly, some users do not pick advanced/custom modes for installations and do not notice that more tools are going to be installed into their devices. If you notice that Pokki tool is offered to you as an optional application, please refuse to install it.

Most of the users that reported Pokki potentially unwanted program, claimed that they began receiving objectionable advertisements soon after its arrival. Even though this software is legitimate has even become a partner of Lenovo, security researchers insist that Pokki has some devious features. Displaying objectionable advertisements is common to adware parasites. Therefore, Pokki is fluctuating between being a potentially unwanted program and an adware parasite.

If you wish to avoid programs that are similar to Pokki, please be careful when selecting new tools. Even if the program seems legitimate, this does not mean it won’t affect your computer in a bad way. Please install programs in advanced/custom modes: then, you will be able to refuse to install potentially unwanted applications.

Saturn virus: a ransomware as a service

Ransomware viruses are one of the most disturbing malware infections around. They encrypt users’ files and demand a ransom in exchange for the decryption key. However, RaaS (ransomware as a service) viruses are even more frightening as they allow people with no programming skills to become a part of a cyber crime. This time, we are discussing Saturn ransomware: anyone can distribute it and split the profits with its creators.

The infection was detected at the end of February and instantly received researchers’ attention. Saturn virus encodes data with RSA encryption algorithm and then demands $300 as a ransom. All of the damaged digital files will feature .saturn extension. The instructions hackers wrote can be read in “#DECRYPT_MY_FILES#.txt” and “#DECRYPT_MY_FILES#.html”. In these messages, victims are urged to download TOR browser and access hackers’ website. In this page, you will be introduced with the ransom demands. Apparently, if users do not pay the fee in 7 days, the ransom doubles.

Saturn ransomware virus

Sadly, there is no known method which would guarantee that your files would be restored free-of-charge. The only option is to pay the ransom, but it might not work either. Hackers are not to be trusted: they might not bother to decrypt your data and leave it damaged (even if you paid them the fee).

If you are one of the victims of Saturn crypto-malware, you should remove it from your computer as soon as possible. Use reliable anti-malware tools for this task. While this won’t help you decrypt files, at least your computer will be clean. Keeping a ransomware infection can only create additional problems.

For the future, we hope that you will not download random programs from the Internet. A random pop-up could bring a devious malware parasite into your operating system. In addition to this, malspam is also a very huge problem. It is difficult to solve the issue with malicious email letters as many people still fall for the misleading messages from hackers.

If you receive a suspicious letter, urging you to download a file or follow a link, please do not do it straight away. Pay attention to the email address that the letter was sent from. Hackers are becoming more and more professional and the fake email messages can seem legitimate. However, we hope that you will be cautious and refuse to fall for their tricks so easily. Assuming that the Internet is a dangerous belief; nevertheless, many people still have this belief.

Is Error: 0x8007042C real or fake?

0x8007042C error

All Windows OS users are used to various errors – from simple missing file error to the notorious blue screen of death, we have seen it all. However, you should keep in mind that those errors not always are real and you should keep an eye on it – following instructions provided by fake error report might lead you to terrible consequences.

Unfortunately, things are not that easy when it comes to recognising whether the error message is real or it is just an attempt to scam you. Cyber criminals take advantage of it and make this as confusing as possible.

This leads us to the main question of this post – is  Error: 0x8007042C on Windows operating system legitimate warning message or it is just a scam?

Never trust error messages on web browsers

The answer to the message is above is both yes and no – it all depends on where you noticed the error message. As it is suggested by official [ref name=”Microsoft support page” url=”https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2530126/-0x8007042c-error-message-when-you-try-to-start-windows-firewall”], it is a valid error code that you can get due to some troubles trying to launch a firewall. So if you experience this error while trying to launch a firewall, the message is completely legitimate and you can rely on it.

However, there is other possible case – as described by cyber security researchers at 2-viruses.com, “Error: 0x8007042C” is a tech scam. This tech scam appears while you are browsing the Internet and offers you to call a specific phone number to solve the problem.

As you can see, hackers are exploiting possibilities to use actual error messages codes to trick users and force them to perform some kind of action.

How one should know whether the error code is legitimate or just a scam? Golden rule is to never trust error messages that appears on websites. You should know that websites can’t examine your computer and report about errors found on it, therefore those messages are clearly fake. Moreover, you should avoid any error messages suggesting you to call numbers or install software that is not originally from Microsoft or other well-known and reliable source. Most of the time they are just trying to rip you off by selling some assistance or software that you do not really need.

Advanced Mac Cleaner Review

Advanced Mac Cleaner Review

There are various speculations online whether Advanced Mac Cleaner is legitimate cyber security software for Macs or it is just an unwanted software that tries to scam users and charge them for nothing?

Probably the best way to find it out is to take a look at the feedback from users themselves. For instance, there is a question on official Apple discussions forum about Advanced Mac Cleaner and continuous advertisements suggesting that one should install it:

Adcanced mac cleaner question

As you can see, almost 5000 other users noted that they also have this question, so you can suspect that this software is promoted really intensively.

Majority of users replied that this software is just a scam and you should never even think about getting it. Let’s take a look at why it is so.

Advanced Mac Cleaner can’t keep their promises

This particular piece of software is supposed to speed up your Mac and clean it from trash files that you don’t really need. It sounds realistic – there are more than a few options of various free and paid tools that can do that for you, such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for mac or Adwaremedic for Mac. However, Advanced Mac Cleaner is not in this list of legitimate applications for your Apple device.

As described by cyber security researchers at 2-viruses.com, Advanced Mac Cleaner is categorised as PUP (potentially unwanted program) and “there are tons of negative reviews of this application online and most of them are regarding the way this application is distributed”.

First thing that you are not going to like – the way it is installed on your computer. Most of the time this program is suggested after the warning message that your Mac is infected is displayed. It is a straight forward lie – they just try to convince users that their computers are infected and suggest a “solution” to this problem.

More to that, Advanced Mac Cleaner is not functioning as it should. it will barely remove any trash or speed up your computer. Instead of that, you will be offered a live tech-support which will cost you money. While the program itself is free, they monetise it selling this support feature. The truth is 9 times out of 10 you don’t really need support.

So is it worth installing Advanced Mac Cleaner? Definitely not. It might not damage your computer, but it will definitely try to lure money and display you information that is not correct.

Astromenda.com virus is an annoying browser hijacker

There are thousands of browser hijackers to avoid. However, there are several developers, responsible for the majority of the most successful hijackware parasites. For instance, developers of Astromenda.com virus have created numerous other hijackers which have also managed to gain some success around the Web. In the case of Astromenda.com infection, it is the most popular in United States and Brazil.

You should be well-aware of browser hijackers and their irritating habits. First of all, these infections are secretly installed into operating systems. After that, browsers’ preferences are modified, and this change includes home pages, default search providers and new tab pages. All of the positions are going to be occupied by infections like Astromenda.com hijacker.

Astromenda.com virus

Also, browser hijackers can frequently have elements of spyware infections. These intrusive parasites will aim to collect information about its users and use it for more personalized marketing strategies. However, since this gathered information might be shared with unreliable parties, your computer screen could be filled with malicious or deceptive promotional content. If you click on such disturbing material, your computer might be compromised by malware. Astromenda.com virus is also very dangerous as the website does not use SSL protocol. By not encrypting information, a website risks users’ information. It could be stolen during transit.

Therefore, using a website that can allow hackers to reach your personal data is not recommended. In addition to this, Astromenda.com hijacker could be requiring to have access to your Google or Facebook accounts. Make sure to not synchronize your accounts for your own safety. Furthermore, you should notice an increased number of online advertisements. It is clear that an unknown search engine will trigger some promotional content, but the amount can become very inconvenient. We suggest you to remove this infection as soon as possible. Since the parasite is also very active in Brazil, make sure to check out the removal options in a more appropriate language.