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QxSearch hijacker fakes failed installs

Recently, one of the more dominant search hijacker families on our radar has started to display some curious behavior. The family in question is delivered by various Chrome extensions and classified as PUP.Optional.QxSearch because of its description in listings of installed extensions, which tells us that “QxSearch configures your default search settings.” This branch of the search … [Read more...]

A week in security (June 10 – 16)

Last week on Malwarebytes Labs, we revealed to readers the mindset of security pros as to why they lack confidence in their ability to prevent their organizations getting breached. We also reported on Maine Governor Janet Mills implementing the state’s own privacy protections, how Apple can better protect its users’ privacy, the continuous trending of the MegaCortex ransomware, how cyberbullies … [Read more...]

Adware and PUPs families add push notifications as an attack vector

Some existing families of potentially unwanted programs and adware have added browser push notifications to their weapons arsenal. Offering themselves up as browser extensions on Chrome and Firefox, these threats pose as useful plugins then haggle users with notifications. A family of search hijackers The first I would like to discuss is a large family of Chrome extensions that were already … [Read more...]

Crack hunting: not all it’s cracked up to be

People sometimes ask us in the forums if a keygen or software crack is safe to use. Sometimes, these programs do what they say on the tin. Other times, they’re not what they say they are. In this post, I’ll describe what happened when I went crack hunting, and why it is often unsafe to carry out this activity. Researchers like myself often browse crack and keygen sites because they are known to … [Read more...]

A user’s right to choose: Why Malwarebytes detects Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs)

Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs): the name says it all. While the programs themselves might have legitimate uses, their vendors often use inappropriate methods to drive downloads or hide within a program bundle. At Malwarebytes, we feel we have an obligation to help protect our customers from PUPs by identifying and detecting them and giving the user the right to choose whether they continue … [Read more...]

CyberByte steals Malwarebytes’ intellectual property

At Malwarebytes, we frequently examine apps for detection as Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs). These are programs that exhibit a wide variety of bad behaviors, but aren’t actually outright malware. Unfortunately, there are many supposed antivirus programs that fit this category. Following user reports, we began researching a piece of software named CyberByte Antivirus to determine … [Read more...]

Stolen security logos used to falsely endorse PUPs

To gain the trust of users, many websites and companies feature the logos of reputable firms who endorse their products. Unfortunately, some unseemly companies do the same, using logos of companies who have not, in fact, endorsed their product in order to trick people into thinking that what they are about to install is legitimate. Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) are masters in this trade of … [Read more...]