Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is dongtaiwang.com?
The dongtaiwang.com website is created for Chinese-speaking users and promotes a VPN (Virtual Private Network) called Freegate.
This app accesses websites that are otherwise blocked in the user's country. Note, however, that it is categorized as a browser hijacker, a potentially unwanted application (PUA), since it changes browser settings, promotes the dongtaiwang.com website and articles, and collects information relating to users' browsing habits.
Once installed, Freegate might change the default browser (Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Internet Explorer) settings by assigning dongtaiwang.com as the homepage and new tab URL address. In this way, it forces users to visit this website when they open their browsers or new tabs in them.
It might also cause random redirects to articles on dongtaiwang.com and also to the Sina Weibo website. Some articles published on dongtaiwang.com might contain links to other dubious websites.
This browser-hijacking app also gathers data relating to the users' browsing activity such as Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, entered search queries, URLs of visited websites, geolocations, and so on. The developers of these apps often share the collected data with third parties who misuse it to generate revenue.
Some of the information could contain personal details and the third parties might be cyber criminals. Therefore, we advise against having any PUAs installed, since this could result in privacy and browsing safety issues. Using information tracking apps can also lead to identity theft.
|Name||Freegate browser hijacker|
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab.|
|Symptoms||Manipulated internet browser(s) settings (homepage, default Internet search engine, new tab settings). Users are forced to visit hijacker's website and search the internet using their search engines.|
|Distribution methods||Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake Flash Player installers.|
|Damage||Internet browser tracking (potential privacy issues), display of unwanted ads, redirects to dubious websites.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
Freegate is presented as a legitimate app that allows users to bypass restrictions that prevent users from accessing various websites.
In many cases, however, browser hijackers provide none of the features promised or any other advantages - they are often designed simply to generate revenue for the developers by causing unwanted redirects and gathering user-system information.
Dongtaiwang.com technical analysis:
- Serving IP Address: 126.96.36.199
- Distributed files: DynaPass.exe, FreegateX.exe, fg730p.zip, Freegate.exe
- Full list of antivirus detections: VirusTotal
How did adware install on my computer?
Freegate can be downloaded from the dongtaiwang.com website, however, most people download/install browser hijackers and other potentially unwanted apps unintentionally. This usually happens when they click intrusive advertisements or when developers promote PUAs using a deceptive marketing method called "bundling".
They use this method to trick people into installing unwanted apps with other software. In most cases, PUAs are hidden in "Custom", "Advanced" (and other similar) options/settings of software download or installation set-ups.
Note, however, that people generally cause these installations by when they skip steps without making changes to settings and fail to dismiss offers to download and install unwanted apps.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
Do not download software using Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients, eMule, and so on), third party software downloaders, unofficial pages, and other sources of this kind. The safest way to download is using official websites and direct links. Install software with care, analyze each download or installation setup, check "Advanced", "Custom" and other similar settings.
Bear in mind that intrusive advertisements (even if they appear legitimate) often redirect users to untrustworthy websites related to gambling, pornography, adult dating, and so on. If you regularly experience these redirects or intrusive ads, check your browser for suspicious extensions, add-ons, plugins, and remove them immediately.
The same applies to installed programs on your computer (operating system). If your computer is already infected with rogue applications, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.
Screenshot of the Freegate app requesting permission to update:
Screenshot of Freegate application:
Screenshot of Freegate Proxy Control settings window:
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 Dongtaiwang.com?
- STEP 1. Uninstall adware applications using Control Panel.
- 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 applications:
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 application, 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 freegate browser hijacker, 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 and remove them.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the freegate browser hijacker, 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 on "Extensions", in the opened window, remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.
Computer users who have problems with freegate browser hijacker 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 and click Safari menu, then select Preferences...
In the preferences window select the Extensions tab. Look for any recently installed suspicious extensions and uninstall them.
In the preferences window select General tab and make sure that your homepage is set to a preferred URL, if its altered by a browser hijacker - change it.
In the preferences window select Search tab and make sure that your preferred Internet search engine is selected.
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 top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Locate any recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.
Change your homepage and new tab settings:
Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section look for the name of the browser hijacker and click "Disable".
Change your default Internet search engine:
To change your default search engine in Microsoft Edge: Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Privacy and services", scroll to bottom of the page and select "Address bar". In the "Search engines used in address bar" section look for the name of the unwanted Internet search engine, when located click the "Disable" button near it. Alternatively you can click on "Manage search engines", in the opened menu look for unwanted Internet search engine. Click on the puzzle icon near it and select "Disable".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the freegate browser hijacker, 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.
A browser hijacker is a type of adware infection that modifies Internet browser settings by assigning the homepage and default Internet search engine settings to some other (unwanted) website URL. Commonly, this type of adware infiltrates operating systems through free software downloads. If your download is managed by a download client, ensure that you decline offers to install advertised toolbars or applications that seek to change your homepage and default Internet search engine settings.
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