Fixerinst.com
Adware | 06/04/2018

Fixerinst.com: A Pernicious Adware Program

About: If your Browser searches are constantly being redirected to Fixerinst.com site, then your system has definitely fallen a prey to a malicious browser redirector program called Fixerinst.com. This malicious adware program floods the webpage with...  Read More  

| Adware | Fixerinst.com: A Pernicious Adware Program

What is Fixerinst.com?

Fixerinst.com is a malicious adware program which redirects the browser to Fixerinst.com, a suspicious webpage which in turn promotes the installation of other vicious OS infections. It does so by gaining control of user’s default browser settings like home page, extension execution and search engine criteria. It plants its own maliciously designed search engine and limits the user searches to a group of websites only. These websites use illegal methods to generate traffic by paying to the creators of this browser redirector.

Fixerinst.com also spies on the user activities and collects the information on different sites the user visits or the content searched by the user. It covertly sends this information which may be sold in the market for financial gains. It thus inflicts a significance damage to user privacy and identity.

Fixerinst.com acts as an intermediate between your browser and third party resources with malicious tools. Surfing internet becomes difficult with the infiltration of this nasty software program. The adware floods the webpage with intrusive advertisements based on the user search pattern. Any accidental click on these advertisements may result in the leaking of user sensitive information to the cyber criminals.

How is the system infected with this Browser Redirector?

The Adware could get accidently implanted in the system with other free software programs that the user installed without going through the supporting documents related to the application.

These malicious programs are often bundled to the payload files of the free software programs and are not disclosed to the users unless they opt for Custom/Advanced setting to install the software. Custom Settings gives user transparency to choose which additional software to keep from the main installation and which to leave. Hence the user should read the options provided on the installation screens and should not neglect any screen to save time. Any such negligence may result in the installation of such threats to the system with user permission.

Downloading spam email attachments is another way which causes the infiltration of this malicious adware program.

How is the Adware dangerous?

The adware program is potentially unwanted as it can pose a serious threat to your system.

  1. The malware adds extensions to the popular browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge and so on and hence takes the browser under its control. This activity deprives the user from retrieving real search results.
  2. com keeps track on user browsing activity and stores search queries, to display thousands of intrusive ads based on these preferences. This act may lure users to click on these suspicious ads and hence generate pay per click revenue for the adware developers.
  3. This noxious OS infection may also pave way to the installation of other malicious programs, adware or even ransomware
  4. The adware is capable of stealing user sensitive information and hence may cause serious security threat and user data theft.

Threat Summary

Name: Fixerinst.com

Browsers Affected: Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Firefox

Targeted Operating System: Windows

Category: Adware

Symptoms: Appearance of annoying ads, download links, pop-ups, torrents, spam messages that may redirect the user to another webpage and interrupt their browsing activity.

How to Remove Fixerinst.com from your computer system?

Note: Before we begin, try to remember how the extension got downloaded  on your computer system. Generally, these programs come bundled with free applications that we download off the internet. It is a good practice to locate and uninstall such programs while removing the Browser Hijacker/ Extensions.

Step A: Remove the malicious program from Control Panel

Windows XP

  1. Click on the “Start” button on the bottom left corner of your screen. A Start menu will be displayed as shown below. From this menu select the option that reads “Control Panel”.Windows XP start menu image
  2. In the window that will be displayed, click the option “Switch to classic view”.Control panel switch to classic view
  3. This will display all the options/icons available to you. From the displayed icons, click on the icon that reads “Add or Remove Programs”.Windows XP add or remove a program
  4. Select the “Uninstall a program” option from the “Programs” category. A list will populate on the screen displaying all the programs.Uninstall a malicious program
  5. Select the programs related to Fixerinst.com and click on the Uninstall button.Windows XP confirmation window

Windows 7/Vista

  1. Right click on the “Start” button located at the lower left corner of the screen. From the Start menu, click on “Control Panel”.Windows 7 start menu
  2. The “Control Panel” Window will be displayed on the screen. Click on “Uninstall a Program” option from the “Programs” category.Uninstall a program from windows 7
  3. The “Programs and Features” window will be displayed on the screen. A list will populate on the screen displaying all the programs.
  4. Scroll though the list of programs and select the programs related to Fixerinst.com and then click on the “Uninstall” button.uninstall a program in Windows 7

Windows 8/10

  1. Right click on the “Windows logo” on the lower left side of the computer screen. From the drop down menu, select and click on “Control Panel”.Windows 10 start menu
  2. The “Control Panel” window will be displayed. From this window select “Uninstall a program” option form the “Programs” category.Control panel
  3. A list will populate on the screen displaying all the programs.select programs and features option
  4. Select the programs related to Fixerinst.com and click on the “Uninstall” button.uninstall a program in windows 8
  5. In the confirmation box, click on the box that reads “OK” to save changes.

Step B: Show Hidden Files and Folders

Windows 7

  1. Left click on the Organize button on the Windows Explorer. A drop down menu will appear.
    Folder and search options in windows 7
  2. On this menu left click on the option that reads “Folder and search options” as shown above. A folder options dialogue box will appear.
  3. On the View tab under the Advanced settings, Check the option that reads “Show hidden files, folders, and drives” and uncheck the option that reads “Hide protected operating system files“.
    Windows view tab advanced settings
  4. Click on the “OK” button to save your changes. This will make all the hidden files and folders visible to you.

Windows 8 and 10

  1. On the file explorer toolbar, click on the View
    windows 8 file explorer toolbar
  2. In the Show/hide section, Click on the “Hidden items” checkbox.
  3. Click on the options button.Windows explorer options button
  4. Under folder options, click on the “View” tab.
    Windows 8 - hide protected operating file system option
  5. Uncheck the “Hide protected operating system files” option.
  6. Click the “OK” button to save your changes.

Step C: Restore Setting changed by the Browser Hijacker

Google Chrome

  1. Open Google chrome and click on the three vertical dots (Chrome menu icon) located on the top right corner of the Chrome Window.Settings-Chrome
  2. From the Drop down menu that appears, click on the “Settings”. A new browser tab will open up, displaying all the settings.Settings-Chrome
  3. Now, we will make changes to the appearance section. Under the “Appearances” section, we will enable the “Show Home Button” option. You can select New Tab page or can add Google or any of your preferred browsers under the “Show Home Button” option.Appearance- Chrome
  4. After this, we will go to the “Search Engine “section.
  5. Here, make Google or any of your preferred browsers as your default browser in the drop-down menu under the option “Search engine used in the address bar”.Search Engine- Chrome
  6. After this click on Manage Search Engines. Now you can remove Other Search Engines that were added by the browser hijacker. Simply click the three vertical dots (Chrome menu icon) and select the option “Remove from list”. Other Search Engines-Chrome
  7. You can make Google or any other preferred browser as your Default Search Engine by clicking the three vertical dots (Chrome menu icon) and clicking on the “Make default” option.
    Manage Search Engines- Chrome
  8. At the end, we will go to the section “On Startup”. You can select the “Open the New Tab page” or can “Continue where you left off”.  If you want to open a specific page or set of pages, select the option “Open a specific page or set of pages”  and remove any pages added by the browser hijacker by clicking on the three vertical dots (Chrome menu icon ) and selecting “Remove”.On startup-Chrome
  9. Then, add Google or any of your desired URL in “Add a new page” option under the “Open a specific page or set of pages”.Add a New Page- Chrome
  10. This is a very important step and we would like you to pay very close attention here. This step has to be repeated with all the shortcuts to the browser that you can locate; like your desktop, start menu and the shortcut pinned to your taskbar. Right click on the shortcut and a context menu will appear. On this menu select the last option that reads Properties.
    Reset Chrome properties
  11. A Google Chrome Properties Dialogue box will appear as below. Replace whatever is there in the text box next to the label Target with the following: Make sure that inverted commas are included.“C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe”
    Chrome target location
  12. Click OK at the end to save the changes.

Mozilla Firefox

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox and click on the three horizontal lines (Mozilla Firefox menu icon ) i.e. Open Menu located on the top right corner of the Firefox Window.
  2. From the drop down menu that is displayed, we have to right click on the (IE Gear icon Options to open the window.Firefox menu options
  3. Now, we will click Search, under the given options that are displayed in the left corner of the screen.
  4. You can choose Google or any of your preferred browsers as your default search engine to use in the address bar and search bar.Search-Firefox
  5. Then, you have to go to the (IE menu icon General and under “startup” section to make sure that Firefox is your default browser.
  6. At the end, we have to add Google or your preferred URL in the box given under Home Page.Startup-Firefox
  7. After this, you have to right click on the browser shortcuts that you can locate like your desktop, start menu and taskbar to which the application is pinned. A context menu will appear. On this menu select the last option that reads Properties.
    Properties in Mozilla Firefox
  8. A Firefox Properties Dialogue box will appear as below. Replace whatever is there in the text box next to the label Target with the following: Make sure that inverted commas are included.“C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe”
    Mozilla Firefox target location
  9. Click OK at the end to save the changes.

Internet Explorer

  1. Open Internet Explorer and click on the gear icon (Internet Explorer gear icon )which is at the top right corner of the Internet Explorer Window.Manage Add-Ons -Internet Explorer
  2. From the Drop down menu that appears, click on the “Manage add-ons” A new browser tab will open up, displaying all the add-on types.Manage Add-Ons- Internet Explorer
  3. Now, we will click on the “Search Providers” option from the list of options displayed on the left hand side of the screen. Then we will click “Find more search providers” option given at the lower left corner of the Manage add-onsFind More Search providers-Internet Explorer
  4. This will open an Internet Explorer Gallery; from here you can add Google search or any of your preferred add-ons as your default browser.Internet Explorer Gallery
  5. Next, you are required to go to the “Manage add-ons” window and click on the “Search Providers” option under the Add-on Types.
  6. Here, you can enable Google Search or any of your preferred browsers as your default browser in the list of search providers.Search Providers- Internet Explorer
  7. At the end, we will click on the gear icon (IE gear icon )which is at the top right corner of the screen and select “Internet Options” from the drop-down menu.Internet Options- Internet Explorer
  8. A new window will open displaying the Internet options. In the “Internet Options” window, add Google or any of your desired URL under the Create Home Page option and click OK.Create Home Page- Internet Explorer
  9. After this, you have to right click on the browser shortcuts that you can locate like your desktop, start menu and taskbar to which the application is pinned.  A context menu will appear. On this menu select the last option that reads Properties.
    Settings for Internet Explorer
  10. An Internet Explorer Properties Dialogue box will appear as below. Replace whatever is there in the text box next to the label Target with the following: Make sure that inverted commas are included.“C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe”Target column in Internet Explorer
  11. Click OK at the end to save the changes.

Step D: Remove the malicious Browser Extension

Remove malicious extensions from your browser

Google Chrome

  1. Open Google Chrome and click on the three vertical dots (Google chrome menu icon ) i.e.Menu option which are located at the upper right corner of the Chrome Window.
  2. Find and click on More tools from the drop down menu that is displayed & select Extensions or you can open a Chrome window and type “chrome://extensions” in the address bar.google chrome menu options
  3. Check the developer mode option which is located opposite to extensions heading on the top of the Chrome window. By enabling the developer mode, additional details and option related to all the installed extensions will be displayed. One of the details that will be displayed is the ID. ID is the folder name created by the extension at the location “C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions”.enable chrome developer mode
  4. Locate the extension you want to uninstall or delete. Copy and paste the folder name opposite to the ID Tag of that extension into a notepad file. In this case the folder name is “XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX”copy the extension folder name in Chrome
  5. Now, uncheck the enabled option next to the extension in question. Make sure you also click the trash icon to delete the extension from the browser. It is important to note that even after uninstalling and deleting the extensions from the browser, the extension might not uninstall properly. Thus, it is a good practice to make sure that we have deleted the folder as mentioned in step 3.delete the malicious extension from Chrome
  6. Make sure that you have made the hidden files and folders visible.
  7. Open My Computer and go to “C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions”. Now, look for folder with the name as specified in Step 4 i.e. “XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX”. Delete the folder if present.show hidden files and folder
  8. Close and reopen the browser. It is also advisable to restart your computer once done.

Mozilla Firefox

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox, click on three horizontal lines (Mozilla icon ) at the top right corner of the Firefox Window and select the Add-ons option.Mozilla Firefox menu
  2. On the Add-ons manger page, select and click on the Extensions tab as shown below.FireFox manage Add-ons
  3. Find the extensions related to Fixerinst.com and click on the remove button.
  4. In addition, try to remember how the extension got downloaded on your computer system. If this extension was bundled with some other software, then make sure to delete that as well.

Internet Explorer

  1. Open Internet Explorer, Click on the Gear icon (IE menu icon ) which is at the top right corner of the Internet Explorer Window.
  2. From the newly appeared dropdown menu, click on the option that reads Manage Add-ons.Internet explorer settings menu
  3. A new window will appear on the screen. On this window choose the option that reads Toolbar and Extensions. Under the Show option, select the option that reads “All add-ons”. This option will allow you to see all the browser extensions. Mozilla-manage add-ons toolbars and extensions page
  4. Select the Extension related to Fixerinst.com and click on the Disable button which is at the bottom right of the computer screen.

IE toolbar and extensions in Manage add-ons

Apple's Safari

  1. On your Mac Desktop, click on the option that reads “Safari”.
  2. A drop down menu will appear as shown below. From this menu chose the option that reads “Preferences”.Safari menu extension options
  3. The Preferences window will appear on the screen, where the list of all your safari extensions will be shown.Safari extensions window
  4. On the list displayed at the left side of the screen, select the Extension you want to uninstall.
  5. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid of the extension.uninstall a program from Safari

Tips to prevent your computer system from getting infected –

  1. Keeping the Operating System Updated- In order to remain protected and avoid such infections, it is recommended to keep your Operating System updated by enabling the automatic update on your system. The systems with outdated or older versions of Operating System become an easy target for the attackers.
  2. Resist clicking on spam emails – One of the major techniques used for malware distribution is forwarding spam emails to the user. The system gets infected as soon as the user clicks on the attachment. These mails appear to be genuine, so be aware and resist falling for these tricks.
  3. Keep an eye on third party installations- It is quite important that you take due care while installing any third party applications for they are major source of such infections. Such malware programs come bundled with the free applications thereby requiring the user to remain cautious.
  4. Regular periodical backup- In order to keep your data and files safe, it is recommended to take regular back up of all your data and files either on an external drive or cloud.
  5. Use Anti-Virus Protection- We strongly recommend the use of antivirus protection/internet security in your PC like Hitman pro and  Vipre so that it remains safe.
  6. Enable the Ad Blocker/Popup Blocker in your browser- Enabling the popup blocker/ ad blocker in your chosen browser will help you to stay protected from annoying adware.

 

 

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