- Hijacks homepage
- Changes default search engine
The browser hijacker Startab.me only appears as a legitimate search engine while the reality is entirely different. This particular hijacker is like thousands of other infections that prey on unwary gullible Internet surfers and strike their computers when they least expect it. Therefore, in this article, we will show you how you can avoid getting this infection and remove it if necessary. We will cover the most important issues such as its distribution methods, functions, and privacy and elaborate on its origins on other noteworthy facts. So, without further ado, let us begin.
While conducting our research we found that this browser hijacker is being disseminated via two channels. We were surprised to find that it is being featured on the Chrome Web Store from which you can install an extension named Startab.me New Tab that manages the hijacking process. When you install this extension from the store, it is not regarded as if your browser has been hijacked, which brings us to the second dissemination method. Our research has revealed Startab.me’s browser extension is being bundled with third-party software. The resulting bundle is said to include several legitimate applications, but it can also feature browser hijackers such as this one. This bundle is featured on shady freeware websites, and when you download and install it, the bundle is set to install this hijacker’s browser extension for Chrome without your knowledge or consent. This dissemination method alone makes Startab.me an undesirable search engine, but there is more to it than its shady distribution. So you should be more cautious of what you get from the Chrome Store and avoid unknown free software hosting websites.
While gathering information about this fake search engine we found that it comes from a small unnamed malware developer based in Russia. However, this hijacker is not meant for the Russian market even though it is big enough to make a substantial sum of money. No, the developers thought big and internationalized it to increase the revenue. Furthermore, we found that this hijacker is getting popular in places such as Mexico, Argentina, and so on. In short, it is most popular in the Americas with a very small percent of users coming from Europe, Asia, and elsewhere.
Now let us get to the most important part of this article which is Startab.me’s functionality. You might think that there is nothing to discuss because it is a simple search engine, but there is more to it. We have found that it can be used as a search engine, and it select either Bing or Google Custom Search as its search engine of choice because it redirects the search queries to one of the two. However, this does not mean that the search results are entirely clean. We believe that the search results may contain links to third-party websites which might not be legitimate. Indeed, we fear that some of them can redirect you to malicious websites that can secretly infect your computer with ransomware such as Holycrypt Ransomware, Microsoft Decryptor Ransomware or CryptoFinancial Ransomware that are currently wreaking havoc around the web. When you install Startab.me New Tab it modifies your browser’s settings and replaces the new tab page with its featured search engine. This search engine is focused on advertising more than bringing you a useful competitive service, so there is no reason to keep it.
As far as privacy is concerned, it must be said that this hijacker is set to collect non-personal information that includes but is not limited to IP addresses, search queries, browsing history, computer specifications, operating system type, browser type, and so on. This information may not seem like much, but it is used with great success to customize and tailor the advertising campaign to make more money.
We hope that this artice was useful, and you are now ready to delete it from your computer. Keep in mind that if you keep it as your browser’s new tab page and use it for searching the web, then you will be subjected to shady advertisements and can jeopardize your PC’s security. If you are looking for a way to remove this hijacker, we suggest consulting the instructions below that will help you greatly.
How to remove Startab.me New Tab