Fireball Adware Infects About 250 Million Computers: Checkpoint Research
Checkpoint researchers note that India is the hardest hit with an infection rate of 10.1 percent or about 25.3 million PCs.
Checkpoint researchers have discovered another adware called Fireball, which is said to have affected about 250 million computers. Researchers claim that a Chinese digital marketing company called Rafotech is behind the spread of a new interconnected adware family that is affecting millions of computers in the process.
According to Checkpoint’s investigation, Rafotech has designed an adware capable of hijacking users’ browsers with the sole purpose of redirecting traffic to fake search engines. Checkpoint adds that these fake search engines do nothing but redirect searches to Google or Yahoo’s search engines and earn commissions in the process. “Fireballs have the ability to spy on victims, drop efficient malware, and run any malicious code on infected machines, creating a huge security flaw in targeted machines and networks,” the researchers observed in their blog post. Rafotech bundles this adware with legitimate software and distributes it without offering an opt-out option when installing the software.
The report states that India is the most affected country with about 25.3 million infected PCs or about 10.1 percent of all infections. Brazil came in second with 24.1 million infected devices, compared to 13.1 million in Indonesia. There were more than 5.5 million infected machines in the United States.
Checkpoint also noted that 20 percent of all corporate networks worldwide are affected by fireball adware. Users can check if they are victims by opening their web browser and checking if the homepage is set by you. Users should also check if they can fix it and see if they can recognize the default search engine. Infected users can uninstall the adware by going to the list of programs and features in the Windows Control Panel. On the Mac, users can locate applications using Finder and then drag the suspicious file to the Trash by emptying the Trash.
The new report further highlights that adware is affecting both PCs and smartphones. Last week, security researchers at Checkpoint discovered a malware called ‘Judy’, which was transmitted to Android smartphones through 41 apps created by a Korean firm.