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What is Search Pulse?

The Malwarebytes research team has determined that Search Pulse is a search 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 particular one also changes the newtab page.

How do I know if my computer is affected by Search Pulse?

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

main.png

this icon in the Chrome menu-bar:

icons.png

these changed settings:

warning5.png

and these warnings during install:

warning1.png

warning2.png

warning3.png

warning4.png

How did Search Pulse get on my computer?

Browser hijackers use different methods for distributing themselves. This particular one was downloaded from the webstore:

webstore.png

after a redirect from their website.

How do I remove Search Pulse?

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

  • Please download Malwarebytes for Windows to your desktop.
  • Double-click MBSetup.exe and follow the prompts to install the program.
  • When your Malwarebytes for Windows installation completes, the program opens to the Welcome to Malwarebytes screen.
  • Click on the Get started button.
  • Click Scan to start a Threat Scan.
  • When the scan is finished click Quarantine to remove the found threats.
  • Reboot the system if prompted to complete the removal process.

Is there anything else I need to do to get rid of Search Pulse?

  • No, Malwarebytes removes Search Pulse 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 Malwarebytes Browser Guard, and the full version of Malwarebytes would have protected you against the Search Pulse hijacker. It would have blocked their website, giving you a chance to stop it before it became too late.
 

protection2.png


Technical details for experts

Possible signs in FRST logs:
 

CHR NewTab: Default ->  Active:"chrome-extension://iifkpdclgffdnbijholnpbojbgpblhil/newtab/newtab.html"
CHR DefaultSearchURL: Default -> hxxp://search.searchpulse.net/search?q={searchTerms}
CHR DefaultSearchKeyword: Default -> Search Pulse
CHR Extension: (Search Pulse) - C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\iifkpdclgffdnbijholnpbojbgpblhil [2020-02-17]

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\iifkpdclgffdnbijholnpbojbgpblhil\1.7_0
       Adds the file manifest.json"="2/17/2020 8:46 AM, 1785 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\iifkpdclgffdnbijholnpbojbgpblhil\1.7_0\_metadata
       Adds the file computed_hashes.json"="2/17/2020 8:46 AM, 1058 bytes, A
       Adds the file verified_contents.json"="12/6/2016 3:27 PM, 2005 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\iifkpdclgffdnbijholnpbojbgpblhil\1.7_0\html
       Adds the file modal.css"="12/1/2016 4:25 PM, 2230 bytes, A
       Adds the file modal.html"="12/6/2016 3:27 PM, 141 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\iifkpdclgffdnbijholnpbojbgpblhil\1.7_0\images
       Adds the file icon48.png"="2/17/2020 8:46 AM, 1175 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\iifkpdclgffdnbijholnpbojbgpblhil\1.7_0\newtab
       Adds the file newtab.html"="12/6/2016 3:27 PM, 267 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\iifkpdclgffdnbijholnpbojbgpblhil\1.7_0\scripts
       Adds the file background.js"="12/6/2016 3:27 PM, 25711 bytes, A
       Adds the file foreground.js"="12/6/2016 3:27 PM, 17886 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Local Extension Settings\iifkpdclgffdnbijholnpbojbgpblhil
       Adds the file 000003.log"="2/17/2020 8:52 AM, 865 bytes, A
       Adds the file CURRENT"="2/17/2020 8:46 AM, 16 bytes, A
       Adds the file LOCK"="2/17/2020 8:46 AM, 0 bytes, A
       Adds the file LOG"="2/17/2020 8:52 AM, 184 bytes, A
       Adds the file MANIFEST-000001"="2/17/2020 8:46 AM, 41 bytes, A

Registry details [View: All details] (Selection)
------------------------------------------------
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Chrome\PreferenceMACs\Default\extensions.settings]
       "iifkpdclgffdnbijholnpbojbgpblhil"="REG_SZ", "ED9C51F6282C4009FF7E79F3DC4BBC0BB4BFE7135FF8C71EC67C5083E5294B60"

Malwarebytes log:
 

Malwarebytes
www.malwarebytes.com

-Log Details-
Scan Date: 2/17/20
Scan Time: 9:02 AM
Log File: e8e64304-515b-11ea-bc79-00ffdcc6fdfc.json

-Software Information-
Version: 4.0.4.49
Components Version: 1.0.823
Update Package Version: 1.0.19332
License: Premium

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

-Scan Summary-
Scan Type: Threat Scan
Scan Initiated By: Manual
Result: Completed
Objects Scanned: 235898
Threats Detected: 12
Threats Quarantined: 12
Time Elapsed: 10 min, 47 sec

-Scan Options-
Memory: Enabled
Startup: Enabled
Filesystem: Enabled
Archives: Enabled
Rootkits: Disabled
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: 1
PUP.Optional.SearchPulse, HKCU\SOFTWARE\GOOGLE\CHROME\PREFERENCEMACS\Default\extensions.settings|iifkpdclgffdnbijholnpbojbgpblhil, Quarantined, 279, 790802, , , , 

Registry Data: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Data Stream: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Folder: 2
PUP.Optional.SearchPulse, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Local Extension Settings\iifkpdclgffdnbijholnpbojbgpblhil, Quarantined, 279, 790802, , , , 
PUP.Optional.SearchPulse, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\DEFAULT\EXTENSIONS\IIFKPDCLGFFDNBIJHOLNPBOJBGPBLHIL, Quarantined, 279, 790802, 1.0.19332, , ame, 

File: 9
PUP.Optional.SearchPulse, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Secure Preferences, Replaced, 279, 790802, , , , 
PUP.Optional.SearchPulse, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Preferences, Replaced, 279, 790802, , , , 
PUP.Optional.SearchPulse, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Local Extension Settings\iifkpdclgffdnbijholnpbojbgpblhil\000003.log, Quarantined, 279, 790802, , , , 
PUP.Optional.SearchPulse, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Local Extension Settings\iifkpdclgffdnbijholnpbojbgpblhil\CURRENT, Quarantined, 279, 790802, , , , 
PUP.Optional.SearchPulse, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Local Extension Settings\iifkpdclgffdnbijholnpbojbgpblhil\LOCK, Quarantined, 279, 790802, , , , 
PUP.Optional.SearchPulse, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Local Extension Settings\iifkpdclgffdnbijholnpbojbgpblhil\LOG, Quarantined, 279, 790802, , , , 
PUP.Optional.SearchPulse, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Local Extension Settings\iifkpdclgffdnbijholnpbojbgpblhil\MANIFEST-000001, Quarantined, 279, 790802, , , , 
PUP.Optional.SearchPulse, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\DEFAULT\EXTENSIONS\IIFKPDCLGFFDNBIJHOLNPBOJBGPBLHIL\1.7_0\MANIFEST.JSON, Quarantined, 279, 790802, 1.0.19332, , ame, 
PUP.Optional.SearchPulse, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Secure Preferences, Replaced, 279, 790803, 1.0.19332, , ame, 

Physical Sector: 0
(No malicious items detected)

WMI: 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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