Recently, we stumbled across an existing website that seems to be part of some adware that a user can inadvertently install that changes his homepage to secure-surf.biz. While this site has no relation to the AppRiver Web protection platform, SecureSurf™, it does share a similar name. The culprit is likely software or adware that changes a homepage to the malicious site. If this happens to you, a quick search online will show a few helpful guides on removing that software from your computer.
There are a few variants that seem similar to this situation. Usually, the initial problem occurs with bundled software installs. Bundled installs couple software that a user deliberately installed with software the user did not select to install. Typically, this is where it will install additional software without the user knowing, often by the user being automatically opted in to the complete install and not specifying that nothing other than the original program is to be installed.
Sometimes, this additional software can be what is known as a Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP). This type of software markets itself as being useful to users because it tracks browsing history and shows more advertisements based on searches. While maybe not breaking any rules and being valid software to the creators, PUPs are usually an opinionated class of software that generally users would never elect to install on their own. The installs could be attributed to bundles of software packages or users being tricked in to installing it.
Having a PUP on a computer can have a few consequences sometimes. They can hijack things like Web browser search results, possibly showing users links that are more likely to make the program authors money. They can sometimes inject their own advertisements in to webpages where a user otherwise may have seen a different ad or no ad at all. Some can even go as far as tracking users’ browsing habits to gather information on them.
The bottom line: Web protection like SecureSurf can help keep malware like secure-surf.biz off of your computer.