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Conduit browser hijacker

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Conduit is a browser hijacker that is usually installed without the user’s knowledge through a drive-by download.

The malware, which is frequently bundled with freeware and shareware, presents as a browser toolbar and search engine. Once installed, Conduit changes the user’s default browser home page and search engine and redirects URLs and Web searches. Conduit includes adware and spyware, and has rootkit capabilities that make it very difficult for people without advanced tech skills to remove it.

The toolbar application also allows users to create their own toolbars to direct traffic and search results to their desired targets. Along with the toolbar come third-party add-ons, more toolbars, browser helper objects (BHOs), extensions and plug-ins, all of which can be customized for unscrupulous practices.  The ads send users to affiliated sites, generating advertising revenue for Conduit and its partners. Conduit is paid for page views and advertisements that are clicked.

A number of tools exist to remove Conduit from infected systems. To prevent future installations of Conduit and other unwanted software, users should avoid installing freeware or shareware programs without first conducting research to ensure they are safe.

 

This was last updated in January 2014

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