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What is Private Searching?

The Malwarebytes research team has determined that Private Searching is a browser hijacker. These so-called "hijackers" manipulate your browser(s), for example to change your startpage or searchscopes, so that the affected browser visits their site or one of their choice. This one also displays advertisements.

How do I know if my computer is affected by Private Searching?

You may see this entry in your list of installed Chrome extensions:

main.png

and these warnings during install:

warning1.png

warning2.png

warning3.png

and you will see these warnings after the installation:

warning4.png

warning5.png

How did Private Searching get on my computer?

Browser hijackers use different methods for distributing themselves. This particular one was offered as a privacy tool.

How do I remove Private Searching?

Our program Malwarebytes can detect and remove this potentially unwanted program.

  • Please download Malwarebytes to your desktop.
  • Double-click mb3-setup-consumer-{version}.exe and follow the prompts to install the program.
  • Then click Finish.
  • Once the program has fully updated, select Scan Now on the Dashboard. Or select the Threat Scan from the Scan menu.
  • If another update of the definitions is available, it will be implemented before the rest of the scanning procedure.
  • When the scan is complete, make sure that all Threats are selected, and click Remove Selected.
  • Restart your computer when prompted to do so.

Is there anything else I need to do to get rid of Private Searching?

  • No, Malwarebytes removes Private Searching completely.

How would the full version of Malwarebytes help protect me?

We hope our application and this guide have helped you eradicate this hijacker.

As you can see below the full version of Malwarebytes would have protected you against the Private Searching hijacker. It would have blocked the site promoting the extension and the search site it hijacks to:

protection2.png

Technical details for experts

Possible signs in FRST logs:

 

CHR DefaultSearchURL: Default -> hxxp://private.securesearches.net/search/?category=web&s=73pr&q={searchTerms}
CHR DefaultSearchKeyword: Default -> Private Searching
CHR DefaultSuggestURL: Default -> hxxp://sug.securesearches.net/search/index_sg.php?q={searchTerms}
CHR Extension: (Private Searching) - C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd [2018-06-11]

Alterations made by the installer:
 

File system details [View: All details] (Selection)
---------------------------------------------------
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0
       Adds the file app.js"="6/3/2018 10:02 AM, 8860 bytes, A
       Adds the file index.html"="6/3/2018 10:02 AM, 2257 bytes, A
       Adds the file jquery.min.js"="4/23/2018 12:06 PM, 85656 bytes, A
       Adds the file manifest.json"="6/11/2018 11:08 AM, 2006 bytes, A
       Adds the file plus_js.js"="6/3/2018 10:02 AM, 2449 bytes, A
       Adds the file policy.txt"="6/3/2018 10:02 AM, 6669 bytes, A
       Adds the file style.css"="6/3/2018 10:02 AM, 3237 bytes, A
       Adds the file terms-of-use.txt"="6/3/2018 10:02 AM, 9850 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\_metadata
       Adds the file computed_hashes.json"="6/11/2018 11:08 AM, 4901 bytes, A
       Adds the file verified_contents.json"="6/3/2018 1:07 PM, 3731 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\images
       Adds the file dislike.png"="5/28/2018 12:44 PM, 1151 bytes, A
       Adds the file icon128.png"="6/11/2018 11:08 AM, 11242 bytes, A
       Adds the file icon16.png"="6/11/2018 11:08 AM, 813 bytes, A
       Adds the file icon38.png"="6/3/2018 10:01 AM, 5404 bytes, A
       Adds the file like.png"="5/28/2018 12:44 PM, 1108 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\images\rateshare
       Adds the file close.png"="4/23/2018 12:06 PM, 1920 bytes, A
       Adds the file rate.jpg"="4/23/2018 12:06 PM, 102155 bytes, A
       Adds the file rate1.png"="4/23/2018 12:06 PM, 12334 bytes, A
       Adds the file share.jpg"="4/23/2018 12:06 PM, 17633 bytes, A
       Adds the file share1.png"="4/23/2018 12:06 PM, 4466 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\ty
       Adds the file ty.css"="4/23/2018 12:06 PM, 3175 bytes, A
       Adds the file ty.html"="6/3/2018 10:02 AM, 846 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\ty\images
       Adds the file bar.png"="6/3/2018 10:02 AM, 5757 bytes, A
       Adds the file incognito.png"="4/23/2018 12:06 PM, 1689 bytes, A

Registry details [View: All details] (Selection)
------------------------------------------------
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Chrome\PreferenceMACs\Default\extensions.settings]
       "ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd"="REG_SZ", "F4EF7702B402D6FC4FA3C334186B4A4044BB2F227DC14CBFAA4354BC8D46F3BD"

Malwarebytes log:
 

Malwarebytes
www.malwarebytes.com

-Log Details-
Scan Date: 6/11/18
Scan Time: 11:17 AM
Log File: 40d68bdb-6d58-11e8-840f-080027235d76.json
Administrator: Yes

-Software Information-
Version: 3.3.1.2183
Components Version: 1.0.262
Update Package Version: 1.0.5432
License: Premium

-System Information-
OS: Windows 7 Service Pack 1
CPU: x64
File System: NTFS
User: {computername}\{username}

-Scan Summary-
Scan Type: Threat Scan
Result: Completed
Objects Scanned: 238711
Threats Detected: 33
Threats Quarantined: 33
Time Elapsed: 3 min, 28 sec

-Scan Options-
Memory: Enabled
Startup: Enabled
Filesystem: Enabled
Archives: Enabled
Rootkits: Enabled
Heuristics: Enabled
PUP: Detect
PUM: Detect

-Scan Details-
Process: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Module: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Registry Key: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Registry Value: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Registry Data: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Data Stream: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Folder: 7
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\images\rateshare, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\ty\images, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\_metadata, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\images, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\ty, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\DEFAULT\EXTENSIONS\EJBCICFKOIEGMGDPGIONPLONKCJLCGPD, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432

File: 26
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Secure Preferences, Replaced, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Preferences, Replaced, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\DEFAULT\EXTENSIONS\EJBCICFKOIEGMGDPGIONPLONKCJLCGPD\1.0.1_0\MANIFEST.JSON, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\images\rateshare\close.png, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\images\rateshare\rate.jpg, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\images\rateshare\rate1.png, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\images\rateshare\share.jpg, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\images\rateshare\share1.png, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\images\dislike.png, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\images\icon128.png, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\images\icon16.png, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\images\icon38.png, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\images\like.png, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\ty\images\bar.png, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\ty\images\incognito.png, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\ty\ty.css, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\ty\ty.html, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\_metadata\computed_hashes.json, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\_metadata\verified_contents.json, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\app.js, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\index.html, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\jquery.min.js, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\plus_js.js, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\policy.txt, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\style.css, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432
PUP.Optional.SearchComplete.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ejbcicfkoiegmgdpgionplonkcjlcgpd\1.0.1_0\terms-of-use.txt, Quarantined, [14331], [526133],1.0.5432

Physical Sector: 0
(No malicious items detected)


(end)

As mentioned before the full version of Malwarebytes could have protected your computer against this threat.
We use different ways of protecting your computer(s):

  • Dynamically Blocks Malware Sites & Servers
  • Malware Execution Prevention

Save yourself the hassle and get protected.

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