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 PUP.Optional.QxSearch without further user interaction.

  1. Please download Malwarebytes to your desktop.
  2. Double-click MBSetup.exe and follow the prompts to install the program.
  3. When your Malwarebytes for Windows installation completes, the program opens to the Welcome to Malwarebytes screen.
  4. Click on the Get started button.
  5. Click Scan to start a Threat Scan.
  6. Click Quarantine to remove the found threats.
  7. Reboot the system if prompted to complete the removal process.

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.

  • Open Malwarebytes for Windows.
  • Click the Detection History
  • Click the Allow List
  • To add an item to the Allow List, click Add.
  • Select the exclusion type Allow a file or folder and use the Select a folder button to select the main folder for the software that you wish to keep.
  • Repeat this for any secondary files or folder(s) that belong to the software.

Traces/IOCs

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

Associated threats

  • Adware.SearchEngineHijack
  • PUP.Optional.SearchDimension

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