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What is SocialSearchConverter?

The Malwarebytes research team has determined that SocialSearchConverter 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 uses browser push notifications and adds advertisements to your search results in the form of Search Recommendations.

notifications.png

recommendations.png

How do I know if my computer is affected by SocialSearchConverter?

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 this changed setting:

warning5.png

How did SocialSearchConverter 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 SocialSearchConverter?

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 SocialSearchConverter?

  • No, Malwarebytes removes SocialSearchConverter completely.
  • If you have allowed the notifications you can read here how to disable them.

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 SocialSearchConverter hijacker. It would have blocked their website, giving you a chance to stop it before it became too late.


 

protection1.png

 

Technical details for experts

Possible signs in FRST logs:


 

CHR Notifications: Default -> hxxps://install.socialsearchconverter.com
CHR DefaultSearchURL: Default -> hxxps://feed.socialsearchconverter.com/?q={searchTerms}&publisher=socialsearchconverter&barcodeid=588650000000000
CHR DefaultSearchKeyword: Default -> SocialSearchConverter
CHR DefaultSuggestURL: Default -> hxxps://api.socialsearchconverter.com/suggest/get?q={searchTerms}
CHR Extension: (SocialSearchConverter) - C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\mcndmofmdngdkicgmpeajdjeidcenkbf [2021-08-30]

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\mcndmofmdngdkicgmpeajdjeidcenkbf\1.1.0_0
       Adds the file manifest.json"="8/30/2021 12:08 PM, 2192 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\mcndmofmdngdkicgmpeajdjeidcenkbf\1.1.0_0\_metadata
       Adds the file computed_hashes.json"="8/30/2021 12:08 PM, 6725 bytes, A
       Adds the file verified_contents.json"="12/23/2020 12:12 PM, 2049 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\mcndmofmdngdkicgmpeajdjeidcenkbf\1.1.0_0\images
       Adds the file logo-white-text.png"="12/23/2020 12:12 PM, 0 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\mcndmofmdngdkicgmpeajdjeidcenkbf\1.1.0_0\images\icons
       Adds the file 128x128.png"="8/30/2021 12:08 PM, 7644 bytes, A
       Adds the file 16x16.png"="8/30/2021 12:08 PM, 700 bytes, A
       Adds the file 64x64.png"="8/30/2021 12:08 PM, 3504 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\mcndmofmdngdkicgmpeajdjeidcenkbf\1.1.0_0\scripts
       Adds the file background.js"="12/23/2020 12:12 PM, 553520 bytes, A
       Adds the file sitecontent.js"="12/23/2020 12:12 PM, 77 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\mcndmofmdngdkicgmpeajdjeidcenkbf
       Adds the file 000003.log"="8/30/2021 12:11 PM, 804 bytes, A
       Adds the file CURRENT"="8/30/2021 12:08 PM, 16 bytes, A
       Adds the file LOCK"="8/30/2021 12:08 PM, 0 bytes, A
       Adds the file LOG"="8/30/2021 12:08 PM, 367 bytes, A
       Adds the file MANIFEST-000001"="8/30/2021 12:08 PM, 41 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Web Applications\_crx_mcndmofmdngdkicgmpeajdjeidcenkbf
       Adds the file SocialSearchConverter.ico"="8/30/2021 12:08 PM, 192392 bytes, A
       Adds the file SocialSearchConverter.ico.md5"="8/30/2021 12:08 PM, 16 bytes, A

Registry details [View: All details] (Selection)
------------------------------------------------
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Chrome\PreferenceMACs\Default\extensions.settings]
       "mcndmofmdngdkicgmpeajdjeidcenkbf"="REG_SZ", "FEFE8F3BC7AAE8C6DB11D3F940E4ACB977997781432A712B3B74F630F1F8C75A"

Malwarebytes log:
 

Malwarebytes
www.malwarebytes.com

-Log Details-
Scan Date: 8/30/21
Scan Time: 12:18 PM
Log File: a4161324-097b-11ec-b7f9-080027235d76.json

-Software Information-
Version: 4.4.5.130
Components Version: 1.0.1430
Update Package Version: 1.0.44475
License: Premium

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

-Scan Summary-
Scan Type: Threat Scan
Scan Initiated By: Manual
Result: Completed
Objects Scanned: 258400
Threats Detected: 13
Threats Quarantined: 13
Time Elapsed: 2 min, 15 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
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, HKCU\SOFTWARE\GOOGLE\CHROME\PREFERENCEMACS\Default\extensions.settings|mcndmofmdngdkicgmpeajdjeidcenkbf, Quarantined, 16862, 799722, , , , , , 

Registry Data: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Data Stream: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Folder: 2
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Sync Extension Settings\mcndmofmdngdkicgmpeajdjeidcenkbf, Quarantined, 16862, 799722, , , , , , 
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\DEFAULT\EXTENSIONS\MCNDMOFMDNGDKICGMPEAJDJEIDCENKBF, Quarantined, 16862, 799722, 1.0.44475, , ame, , , 

File: 9
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Secure Preferences, Replaced, 16862, 799722, , , , , 2C0F6DB8586C8713CA8F4A29B6A717D2, 8198F70092B10636F9878D60036F1E766DAE958367E211EAE369A18FA34189EA
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Preferences, Replaced, 16862, 799722, , , , , D9FF4B1B523EB23834FCE661EC8A4A0A, 9B77F994288701BA6FBB6C4374E6F5F1312407D808A796FC1EB546685565DE4D
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\mcndmofmdngdkicgmpeajdjeidcenkbf\000003.log, Quarantined, 16862, 799722, , , , , C2A11A894597EC39C5D922F5555CD06F, 691A736FBC3FA5D81BCA1866889BE5A0147C9F823B36F4ED63061D944F74455F
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\mcndmofmdngdkicgmpeajdjeidcenkbf\CURRENT, Quarantined, 16862, 799722, , , , , 46295CAC801E5D4857D09837238A6394, 0F1BAD70C7BD1E0A69562853EC529355462FCD0423263A3D39D6D0D70B780443
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\mcndmofmdngdkicgmpeajdjeidcenkbf\LOCK, Quarantined, 16862, 799722, , , , , , 
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\mcndmofmdngdkicgmpeajdjeidcenkbf\LOG, Quarantined, 16862, 799722, , , , , 1DE1FF15E220DF1F36ED6C6015374DC5, 762F3A96EB5497C55065A6894F8B6FA91ABC1EE436CDBC94F70C86C532E61753
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\mcndmofmdngdkicgmpeajdjeidcenkbf\MANIFEST-000001, Quarantined, 16862, 799722, , , , , 5AF87DFD673BA2115E2FCF5CFDB727AB, F9D31B278E215EB0D0E9CD709EDFA037E828F36214AB7906F612160FEAD4B2B4
Adware.SearchEngineHijack.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\DEFAULT\EXTENSIONS\MCNDMOFMDNGDKICGMPEAJDJEIDCENKBF\1.1.0_0\MANIFEST.JSON, Quarantined, 16862, 799722, 1.0.44475, , ame, , 7181724A7E0DD015F5604A3473FEFA26, EC6D261ADAAA8CDFEB5B8D0F850196F25AF5164014C26D20B90EFF3F7AF5209C
PUP.Optional.PushNotifications.Generic, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Preferences, Replaced, 201, 832955, 1.0.44475, , ame, , D9FF4B1B523EB23834FCE661EC8A4A0A, 9B77F994288701BA6FBB6C4374E6F5F1312407D808A796FC1EB546685565DE4D

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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