PUP.Optional.Mindspark

Short bio

PUP.Optional.Mindspark is a large family of browser hijackers that affect major internet browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer/Edge. It is a big part of IAC/InterActiveCorp, a media and internet company that creates revenue with advertising.

Its EULA and Privacy Policy vary from software to software; however, they always clearly state their intentions.

Common infection method

PUP.Optional.Mindspark is usually installed by the users themselves, who may be prompted by exaggerated promises of functionality. It provides toolbars and MyWay start pages claiming to offer sweepstakes, app emoticons, and helpful tools for user hobbies and interests.

Avoidance advice:

Remediation

In most cases the built-in uninstallers and uninstall guides are far from complete. It usually takes a full threat scan with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and some additional tinkering to get back the users’ preferred browser settings.

As an example, a removal guide for SmarterPassword can be found on our forums.

Associated threats