PUP.Optional.QxSearch

Short bio

PUP.Optional.QxSearch is Malwarebytes’ detection name for a large family of search hijackers that come in the form of Chrome extensions.

qxsearch chrome extension

The extensions have different names but the description is the same.

Symptoms

Search results of all the major search engines are redirected to sites that are under control of the threat actors.

hijacked search engines

Warning about the hijacked search engines during install

Type and source of the infection

Extensions detected as PUP.Optional.QxSearch are search hijackers. These search hijackers earn revenue from the click-throughs on the advertisements they add to the search results.

Searchgg custom search

A typical search may lead to this tab

PUP.Optional.QxSearch extensions are usually installed by the users themselves. They are redirected to the Webstore by misleading advetisements and websites.

qxserach website

Protection

Malwarebytes blocks the misleading sites and advertisements.

Malwarebytes blocks wajm.icu

Malwarebytes blocks wajm.icu

Remediation

Malwarebytes can detect and remove {detection name} without further user interaction.

  1. Please download Malwarebytes to your desktop.
  2. Double-click mb3-setup-consumer-{version}.exe and follow the prompts to install the program.
  3. Then click Finish.
  4. Once the program has fully updated, select Scan Now on the Dashboard. Or select the Threat Scan from the Scan menu.
  5. If another update of the definitions is available, it will be implemented before the rest of the scanning procedure.
  6. When the scan is complete, make sure that all Threats are selected, and click Remove Selected.
  7. Restart your computer when prompted to do so.

Malwarebytes removal log

A Malwarebytes log of removal will look similar to this:

Malwarebytes
www.malwarebytes.com

-Log Details-
Scan Date: 7/31/19
Scan Time: 2:11 PM
Log File: 634c5ffc-b38c-11e9-8b91-00ffdcc6fdfc.json

-Software Information-
Version: 3.8.3.2965
Components Version: 1.0.613
Update Package Version: 1.0.11789
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: 236483
Threats Detected: 19
Threats Quarantined: 19
Time Elapsed: 8 min, 50 sec

-Scan Options-
Memory: Enabled
Startup: Enabled
Filesystem: Enabled
Archives: Enabled
Rootkits: Enabled
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.QXSearch, HKCU\SOFTWARE\GOOGLE\CHROME\PREFERENCEMACS\Default\extensions.settings|bjoigjeckcllkadljiceicgimdjnmhmh, Quarantined, [351], [676735],1.0.11789

Registry Data: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Data Stream: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Folder: 5
PUP.Optional.QXSearch, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Sync Extension Settings\bjoigjeckcllkadljiceicgimdjnmhmh, Quarantined, [351], [676735],1.0.11789
PUP.Optional.QXSearch, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\bjoigjeckcllkadljiceicgimdjnmhmh\5.7_0\_metadata, Quarantined, [351], [676735],1.0.11789
PUP.Optional.QXSearch, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\bjoigjeckcllkadljiceicgimdjnmhmh\5.7_0\icons, Quarantined, [351], [676735],1.0.11789
PUP.Optional.QXSearch, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\bjoigjeckcllkadljiceicgimdjnmhmh\5.7_0, Quarantined, [351], [676735],1.0.11789
PUP.Optional.QXSearch, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\DEFAULT\EXTENSIONS\BJOIGJECKCLLKADLJICEICGIMDJNMHMH, Quarantined, [351], [676735],1.0.11789

File: 13
PUP.Optional.QXSearch, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\bjoigjeckcllkadljiceicgimdjnmhmh\000003.log, Quarantined, [351], [676735],1.0.11789
PUP.Optional.QXSearch, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\bjoigjeckcllkadljiceicgimdjnmhmh\CURRENT, Quarantined, [351], [676735],1.0.11789
PUP.Optional.QXSearch, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\bjoigjeckcllkadljiceicgimdjnmhmh\LOCK, Quarantined, [351], [676735],1.0.11789
PUP.Optional.QXSearch, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\bjoigjeckcllkadljiceicgimdjnmhmh\LOG, Quarantined, [351], [676735],1.0.11789
PUP.Optional.QXSearch, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sync Extension Settings\bjoigjeckcllkadljiceicgimdjnmhmh\MANIFEST-000001, Quarantined, [351], [676735],1.0.11789
PUP.Optional.QXSearch, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Secure Preferences, Replaced, [351], [676735],1.0.11789
PUP.Optional.QXSearch, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\Default\Preferences, Replaced, [351], [676735],1.0.11789
PUP.Optional.QXSearch, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\GOOGLE\CHROME\USER DATA\DEFAULT\EXTENSIONS\BJOIGJECKCLLKADLJICEICGIMDJNMHMH\5.7_0\MANIFEST.JSON, Quarantined, [351], [676735],1.0.11789
PUP.Optional.QXSearch, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\bjoigjeckcllkadljiceicgimdjnmhmh\5.7_0\icons\icon128.png, Quarantined, [351], [676735],1.0.11789
PUP.Optional.QXSearch, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\bjoigjeckcllkadljiceicgimdjnmhmh\5.7_0\icons\icon48.png, Quarantined, [351], [676735],1.0.11789
PUP.Optional.QXSearch, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\bjoigjeckcllkadljiceicgimdjnmhmh\5.7_0\_metadata\computed_hashes.json, Quarantined, [351], [676735],1.0.11789
PUP.Optional.QXSearch, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\bjoigjeckcllkadljiceicgimdjnmhmh\5.7_0\_metadata\verified_contents.json, Quarantined, [351], [676735],1.0.11789
PUP.Optional.QXSearch, C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\bjoigjeckcllkadljiceicgimdjnmhmh\5.7_0\background.js, Quarantined, [351], [676735],1.0.11789

Physical Sector: 0
(No malicious items detected)

WMI: 0
(No malicious items detected)


(end)

Add an exclusion

Should users wish to keep this program and exclude it from being detected in future scans, they can add the program to the exclusions list. Here’s how to do it.

The Exclusions tab includes a list of items to be excluded from scans. The items may include files, folders, websites, or applications that connect to the Internet, as well as previously detected exploits.

To access the exclusions in Malwarebytes:

  • Click on the Settings tab in the left pane.
  • Click on the Exclusions tab.
  • Click the Add Exclusion button.
  • Select the exclusion type Exclude a File or Folder and use the Browse button to select the main folder for the software that you wish to keep.
  • Repeat this for any secondary folder(s) that belong to the software.
  • If you want to allow the program to connect to the Internet, for example to fetch updates, add an exclusion of the type Exclude an application that Connects to the Internet and use the Browse button to select the file you wish to grant access.

Traces/IOCs

Domains:
qxsearch.com
searchprivacyplus.com
searchdimension.com
qip.party
bigsrch.xyz

Associated threats

  • Adware.SearchEngineHijack
  • PUP.Optional.SearchDimension

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