- Hijacks homepage
- Changes default search engine
Our research has shown that this program is distributed and promoted using two methods. We have found that Yeadesktop.com, which is a malicious search engine that was classified as a browser hijacker can, under particular circumstances, redirect you to it automatically. The fact that Popular123.com is affiliated with a known browser hijacker is a huge red flag that suggests that this search engine is unreliable. The second method used to distribute it is malware. We have come across information that suggests that Popular123.com can be bundled with malicious software. Hence, malicious software installers can install inject this search engine into your web browser. The malware is known to originate from China. Therefore, the malware that comes with this search engine is probably featured on shady free software hosting websites based in China.
The most noticeable feature in Popular123.com is that it presents search results supplied by Baidu.com, the most popular search engine in China. However, is in the English Language — not Mandarin. Still, it is a usable search engine, but we have noticed that, sometimes, it can feature advertisements on its main page. It is evident that its secretive developers have created it to feature ads and generate them ad revenue. The problem is that there is no way to guarantee that the ads you see on its man page or in its search results are safe. We fear that some can be deceptive and redirect you to questionable websites.
While Popular123.com itself is not malicious, it can be distributed with the use of malicious software bundles. It features unnecessary advertisements on its main page and collects information about you to share with third parties to present you with personalized ads. However, there is no way to know whether the ads are safe and legitimate, so we advise you against using this shady search engine. Moreover, it uses the search results of Baidu.com, so it brings nothing to the table as far as search engine uniqueness in concerned. If you want to get rid of this search engine, then reset your search engine to its default settings or find the malicious browser extension that comes with it and remove it.
Remove the Target line hijack
How to reset your browser to default and remove the malicious extension
Uninstall 188.8.131.52 (Internet Explorer only)
Windows 10 and 8.1/8
Windows 7 and Vista