New malware takes over your browser to display fake search results

Scammers usually launch online attacks to steal your personal information or steal your money. But not all scams are that simple. Criminals use sneaky tactics to direct traffic to advertisements or fake websites where they get a share of the profits.

It can be challenging to spot, but a telltale sign is when you start seeing strange search results or your homepage has inexplicably turned into something you didn’t choose.

Read on for the latest malware to watch out for and what to do about it.

Here’s the backstory

While browser hijacking malware is nothing new, new variants have recently raised concerns. Cybersecurity firm Red Canary has been tracking the ChromeLoader malware since early February and noticed an increase in activity.

When the malware invades your computer, it takes over your Internet browser by changing settings and redirecting traffic to advertising websites. In a blog postexplains Red Canary that ChromeLoader injects itself into a device through illegal video games or movies.

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Pirated software is not only illegal, but also comes with many security vulnerabilities. Even some of the most powerful antivirus apps can’t detect all malware, and they can remain inactive on your computer for a few months.

But what makes ChromeLoader more dangerous than other browser hijackers is that it uses Microsoft’s PowerShell to inject a malicious extension. In theory, hackers can use the technique to steal usernames, passwords or other data stored in your browser.

What can you do about it?

If you see strange search results, web pages that automatically redirect you elsewhere, or your default search engine has changed, you may have a browser hijacker. Since ChromeLoader is now known by most online security companies, you should update your antivirus app and run a scan.

Here are some other tips for staying safe:

Never download files from unofficial platforms. Torrents are illegal in the US, be it music, movies or video games. Plus, there’s often no way to see what else is bundled into the software. Make sure your computer’s operating system and internet browsers are updated with the latest versions. You can counter many malware threats and infections by performing a simple update. Pay close attention to URLs in online search results. Check for minor changes in letters, spelling mistakes, or suspicious characters. Always keep a trusted antivirus program up to date and running on all your devices. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV† Get an annual subscription to TotalAV now for just $19† That’s over 85% off the regular price!

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