July 3, 2013 No Comments-
Did you know that your computer’s default search engine could be funding malware development?
Some malware – particularly adware (which displays adverts on your computer) or spyware (which tracks how you use your computer) – changes your computer’s default search engine. It does this for two reasons, but they both have the same motivation: money.
By changing your search engine to one of the virus’ choosing, criminals can either gain money by displaying advertisements on your search results or get paid by legitimate search engines for sending traffic their way.
However, it’s important to remember that this is also a legitimate technique for small developers to earn money by giving away their free products, so it’s important to distinguish between the two. Usually, legitimate developers will ask for your permission to change your search engine (or add a toolbar) when you’re installing their product. The criminals aren’t as courteous.
If you’re not sure whether you’re using a real search engine or one chosen for your by malware authors, why not go through the steps below anyway and choose a search engine you like.
Typical legitimate search engines are Google or Bing, although Ask is often used, and Duck Duck Go is also growing in popularity.
How to change your default search engine
How do I change Chrome’s default search engine?
To add new search engines:
How do I change Firefox’s default search engine?
It’s that simple, although if a virus has deleted these options, you’ll need to add them back in. To do that:
How do I change Internet Explorer’s default search engine?
Again, if there are no options, the virus could have tried to delete its competition. To add search providers:
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