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What is Private Browsing by Safely?

The Malwarebytes research team has determined that Private Browsing by Safely 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.

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

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

main.png

this icon in the Chrome menu-bar:

icons.png

this changed setting:

warning5.png

and these warnings during install:

warning0.png

warning1.png

warning2.png

warning3.png

How did Private Browsing by Safely 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:

website.png

How do I remove Private Browsing by Safely?

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 Private Browsing by Safely?

  • No, Malwarebytes removes Private Browsing by Safely 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 Private Browsing by Safely 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 DefaultSearchURL: Default -> hxxps://search.privatesearch.online/search/?category=web&s=c5pr&q={searchTerms}
CHR DefaultSearchKeyword: Default -> private
CHR DefaultSuggestURL: Default -> hxxps://sug.privatesearch.online/search/index_sg.php?q={searchTerms}
CHR Extension: (Private Browsing) - C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\fpckohnjiaonmklkjnlplokplhhijalm [2020-02-24]

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\fpckohnjiaonmklkjnlplokplhhijalm\3.0.0_0
       Adds the file background.js"="2/10/2020 5:22 PM, 5557 bytes, A
       Adds the file dashboard.js"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 337 bytes, A
       Adds the file manifest.json"="2/24/2020 8:53 AM, 2360 bytes, A
       Adds the file rate.js"="2/10/2020 3:06 PM, 2344 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\fpckohnjiaonmklkjnlplokplhhijalm\3.0.0_0\_metadata
       Adds the file computed_hashes.json"="2/24/2020 8:53 AM, 10008 bytes, A
       Adds the file verified_contents.json"="2/10/2020 3:38 PM, 6340 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\fpckohnjiaonmklkjnlplokplhhijalm\3.0.0_0\frame
       Adds the file frame.html"="6/4/2019 4:23 PM, 3001 bytes, A
       Adds the file frame.js"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 2300 bytes, A
       Adds the file styles.css"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 8168 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\fpckohnjiaonmklkjnlplokplhhijalm\3.0.0_0\img
       Adds the file cog-icon.png"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 336 bytes, A
       Adds the file cookies-icon.svg"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 1609 bytes, A
       Adds the file history-icon.svg"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 2130 bytes, A
       Adds the file icon128.png"="2/24/2020 8:53 AM, 5317 bytes, A
       Adds the file icon16.png"="2/24/2020 8:53 AM, 752 bytes, A
       Adds the file icon48.png"="2/24/2020 8:53 AM, 2105 bytes, A
       Adds the file incognito-icon.svg"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 2068 bytes, A
       Adds the file logo.svg"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 1951 bytes, A
       Adds the file private-logo.jpg"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 2307 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\fpckohnjiaonmklkjnlplokplhhijalm\3.0.0_0\img\rateshare
       Adds the file close.png"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 1920 bytes, A
       Adds the file rate.jpg"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 102155 bytes, A
       Adds the file rate1.png"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 12334 bytes, A
       Adds the file share.jpg"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 17633 bytes, A
       Adds the file share1.png"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 4466 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\fpckohnjiaonmklkjnlplokplhhijalm\3.0.0_0\jquery
       Adds the file jquery.cookie.js"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 4341 bytes, A
       Adds the file jquery.min.js"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 84249 bytes, A
       Adds the file jquery-ui.custom.min.js"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 228088 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\fpckohnjiaonmklkjnlplokplhhijalm\3.0.0_0\jquery\css
       Adds the file jquery-ui.custom.css"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 20579 bytes, A
       Adds the file override-page.css"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 5513 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\fpckohnjiaonmklkjnlplokplhhijalm\3.0.0_0\jquery\css\images
       Adds the file ui-bg_flat_55_999999_40x100.png"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 180 bytes, A
       Adds the file ui-bg_flat_75_aaaaaa_40x100.png"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 180 bytes, A
       Adds the file ui-bg_glass_45_0078ae_1x400.png"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 136 bytes, A
       Adds the file ui-bg_glass_55_f8da4e_1x400.png"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 131 bytes, A
       Adds the file ui-bg_glass_75_79c9ec_1x400.png"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 132 bytes, A
       Adds the file ui-bg_gloss-wave_50_38cfff_500x100.png"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 89 bytes, A
       Adds the file ui-bg_gloss-wave_75_2191c0_500x100.png"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 89 bytes, A
       Adds the file ui-bg_inset-hard_100_fcfdfd_1x100.png"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 88 bytes, A
       Adds the file ui-icons_056b93_256x240.png"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 5355 bytes, A
       Adds the file ui-icons_d8e7f3_256x240.png"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 4369 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\fpckohnjiaonmklkjnlplokplhhijalm\3.0.0_0\options
       Adds the file options.html"="6/3/2019 1:09 PM, 233 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\fpckohnjiaonmklkjnlplokplhhijalm\3.0.0_0\popup
       Adds the file popup.css"="6/5/2019 4:30 PM, 4467 bytes, A
       Adds the file popup.html"="6/5/2019 3:44 PM, 3461 bytes, A
       Adds the file popup.js"="6/5/2019 3:49 PM, 3117 bytes, A

Registry details [View: All details] (Selection)
------------------------------------------------
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Chrome\PreferenceMACs\Default\extensions.settings]
       "fpckohnjiaonmklkjnlplokplhhijalm"="REG_SZ", "05234D63AD0E00ACEBB6C296132CB0046948B412AAECAA97C8EA882C7013237C"

Malwarebytes log:
 

Malwarebytes
www.malwarebytes.com

-Log Details-
Scan Date: 2/24/20
Scan Time: 9:05 AM
Log File: 619a031e-56dc-11ea-b8b8-00ffdcc6fdfc.json

-Software Information-
Version: 4.0.4.49
Components Version: 1.0.823
Update Package Version: 1.0.19726
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: 235863
Threats Detected: 5
Threats Quarantined: 5
Time Elapsed: 12 min, 30 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.Safely.Generic, HKCU\SOFTWARE\GOOGLE\CHROME\PREFERENCEMACS\Default\extensions.settings|fpckohnjiaonmklkjnlplokplhhijalm, Quarantined, 210, 723653, , , , 

Registry Data: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Data Stream: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Folder: 1
PUP.Optional.Safely.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\DEFAULT\EXTENSIONS\FPCKOHNJIAONMKLKJNLPLOKPLHHIJALM, Quarantined, 210, 723653, 1.0.19726, , ame, 

File: 3
PUP.Optional.Safely.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Secure Preferences, Replaced, 210, 723653, , , , 
PUP.Optional.Safely.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Preferences, Replaced, 210, 723653, , , , 
PUP.Optional.Safely.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\DEFAULT\EXTENSIONS\FPCKOHNJIAONMKLKJNLPLOKPLHHIJALM\3.0.0_0\MANIFEST.JSON, Quarantined, 210, 723653, 1.0.19726, , 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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