What is CloudFront?
CloudFront is a legitimate service provided by Amazon allowing developers to improve users' web browsing experience by optimizing distribution of certain web content (read more here). Cyber criminals abuse this service to promote various web scam models and malicious programs (e.g., fake Adobe Flash Player updater, deceptive Calendar events, etc.).
As mentioned above, CloudFront service is used by cyber criminals who typically promote various websites that display fake errors. This scam model is very simple - users visit a deceptive website and encounter a fake error message, often stating that the system is damaged (e.g., infected, missing files, or similar).
Users are then encouraged to contact "certified technicians" (via telephone numbers provided) to resolve these issues. Be aware, however, that these pop-up errors are false - rather than calling technical support, users will be contacting cyber criminals who claim to be the technicians.
Users are then encouraged to pay certain fees in exchange for 'help' in removing infections or returning their systems to normal. In some cases, users are asked to grant remote access to their computers. Once connected, criminals stealthily install malware and change system settings, after which they claim to 'detect' additional issues and offer further help for an extra fee.
There is also a high probability that these people will demand answers to various "Yes/No" questions. They do this to record positive responses and use them as 'proof' that victims have agreed to submit various payments (e.g., online purchases, credit card charges, or similar).
In addition, these fake-error-displaying sites are designed to appear legitimate (for instance, they contain Apple/Microsoft logos, etc.); however, operating system developers do not use websites to inform users of corrupted systems, infections, and so on.
Criminals also employ CloudFront to promote websites claiming that the system is running outdated software. The most common is Adobe Flash Player. In fact, rather than downloading Flash Player updater, users will download high-risk malware (e.g., password stealers, keyloggers, etc.).
Furthermore, this service is used to push deceptive Calendar events. To elaborate, users are presented with unwanted notifications from their Calendar application, which likewise endorse misleading, scam, and malicious sites/content.
If you are continually redirected with the cloudfront.net URL, immediately eliminate all dubious programs/browser plug-ins and scan the entire system with a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite.
|Threat Type||Adware, Unwanted ads, Pop-up Virus|
|Symptoms||Seeing advertisements not originating from the sites you are browsing. Intrusive pop-up ads. Decreased Internet browsing speed.|
|Distribution methods||Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers.|
|Damage||Decreased computer performance, browser tracking - privacy issues, possible additional malware infections.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
Unwanted pop-ups are often delivered by adware/browser hijackers. Adware is a form of software that delivers various intrusive advertisements (coupons, banners, pop-ups, etc.) To achieve this, developers employ various tools (e.g., "virtual layers") that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site.
Therefore, displayed ads conceal underlying website content, thereby significantly diminishing users' Internet browsing experience. Furthermore, intrusive ads typically redirect to malicious websites and even run scripts that stealthily download and install malware/PUPs. Therefore, even a single click can result in high-risk computer infections.
Browser hijackers modify web browser options without users' consent. They assign browser settings (e.g., new tab URL, default search engine, homepage, etc.) to the URLs of malicious websites. As a result, users continually encounter unwanted redirects to these dubious sites.
In addition, adware and browser hijackers gather various sensitive information (e.g., IP addresses, geographic locations, Internet service providers [ISPs], web URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries, keystrokes, etc.) that includes personal details.
Developers sell this information to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who misuse private data to generate revenue. Therefore, the presence of data-tracking apps can lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft.
Adware-type and browser-hijacking potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) often claim to provide various "useful features" (e.g., file conversion, system optimization, download performance increases, anti-virus software, and so on), however, rather than enabling any of the features promised, PUPs pose a direct threat to your privacy and Internet browsing safety. These programs are designed only to generate revenue for the developers.
How did potentially unwanted programs install on my computer?
To proliferate adware and browser hijackers, developers often use the aforementioned intrusive advertisements and, especially, a deceptive marketing method called "bundling". Therefore, due to lack of knowledge and careless behavior by many users, PUPs infiltrate systems without permission.
"Bundling" is stealth installation of third party applications together with regular software/apps. Developers do not disclose these installations properly - they conceal "bundled" programs within various sections (e.g., "Custom/Advanced" settings) of the download or installation processes.
Furthermore, many users rush these procedures and skip steps. In addition, they click suspicious links/ads without understanding the possible consequences. In doing so, they expose their systems to risk of various infections and compromise their privacy.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
This situation can be prevented by paying close attention when downloading/installing software and browsing the Internet in general. Firstly, select "Custom/Advanced" settings and carefully analyze each window of the download/installation processes. Decline offers to download/install additional applications and opt-out of those already included.
Secondly, download your applications from official sources only and, preferably, using a direct download link. Third party downloaders/installers are monetized by promoting rogue apps (the "bundling" method) and, therefore, should never be used. Intrusive ads are designed to look legitimate.
Once clicked, however, they redirect to gambling, survey, pornography, and other dubious websites. If you encounter such ads, immediately remove all dubious applications and browser plug-ins. The key to computer safety is caution.
Example of a fake error scam promoted via "CloudFront" service (GIF):
Example of CloudFront service abuse to promote a fake SevenZip installation setup:
Appearance of deceptive Calendar events promoted through the CloudFront service:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is CloudFront?
- STEP 1. Uninstall deceptive applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove adware from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove rogue extensions from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove potentially unwanted plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue extensions from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Removal of potentially unwanted programs:
Windows 11 users:
Right-click on the Start icon, select Apps and Features. In the opened window search for the application you want to uninstall, after locating it, click on the three vertical dots and select Uninstall.
Windows 10 users:
Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose Programs and Features.
Windows 7 users:
Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.
macOS (OSX) users:
Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.
In the uninstall programs window, look for any suspicious/recently-installed applications, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted program, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Remove rogue extensions from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove potentially unwanted browser add-ons:
Remove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:
Click the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for any recently-installed suspicious browser extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the cloudfront malware, reset your Internet Explorer settings to default.
Windows XP users: Click Start, click Run, in the opened window type inetcpl.cpl In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.
Windows Vista and Windows 7 users: Click the Windows logo, in the start search box type inetcpl.cpl and click enter. In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.
Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.
In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.
Click the Reset button.
Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, select these entries and click the trash can icon.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the cloudfront malware, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.
After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click "Extensions", in the opened window, remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.
Computer users who have problems with cloudfront malware removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.
Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, in the opened menu, click Help.
Select Troubleshooting Information.
In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.
Remove malicious extensions from Safari:
Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....
In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...
In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.
Remove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:
Click the Edge menu icon (at the upper-right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and click "Remove" below their names.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the cloudfront malware, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.
In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.
Select Restore settings to their default values. In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Microsoft Edge settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
- If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.
Commonly, adware or potentially unwanted applications infiltrate Internet browsers through free software downloads. Note that the safest source for downloading free software is via developers' websites only. To avoid installation of adware, be very attentive when downloading and installing free software. When installing previously-downloaded free programs, choose the custom or advanced installation options – this step will reveal any potentially unwanted applications listed for installation together with your chosen free program.
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