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Do not trust the "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" scam

Also Known As: "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" pop-up
Damage level: Medium

What is the "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" scam?

"You've made the 9.68-billionth search" is a scam, displayed by various deceptive websites. The scheme claims that users have been selected to win a gift of gratitude. At the time of research, this scam redirected to the Google search engine, however, it might also redirect to other web pages that can make a variety of requests/demands of users.

Scams of this type are usually created for phishing purposes. Therefore, by interacting with the "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" scheme, users' trust can be abused in different ways.

Typically, users access these bogus sites via redirects caused by intrusive ads or by Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) already installed on their systems.

You've made the 9.68-billionth search scam

Despite the "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" scam being disguised as a Google prize giveaway, it is no way associated with the actual Google LLC. This scheme claims that the visiting user is the lucky winner of a 'Thank You' gift. This fake prize giveaway supposedly selects winners every 10 millionth web search made in the world.

The scam instructs the user to select one of the three identical graphical renderings of a trophy and follow the instructions given after. The nonexistent gift is a Visa Gift Card worth one thousand US dollars. To claim this prize, the user is instructed to confirm/provide the necessary information on the next page.

As mentioned, at the time of research, "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" redirected to the address of the Google search engine, however, due to the phrasing used in this scan and modus operandi of similar ones, its real goal is phishing.

Thus, it is highly likely that this scheme can redirect to other sites asking users to enter sensitive information. Typically, information of interest includes (but is not limited to) names, addresses, telephone numbers, emails, banking account, and credit card details.

The collected data can then be misused to make fraudulent transactions and online purchases. Scams of this kind can also ask users to pay certain fees (e.g. for shipping, registration, subscription, tax, etc.), as they are allegedly necessary for the prize to be delivered.

Note that all of the information provided by this scam is false. In summary, trusting the "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" scheme can result in financial losses, severe privacy issues and even identity theft.

One of the main causes behind rogue redirects to these deceptive/scam and other dubious web pages are PUAs, however, software within this classification can have other/additional capabilities. Adware-types deliver intrusive ads, which are not only a nuisance but are also dangerous. Browser hijacking PUAs modify browser settings to promote fake search engines.

Furthermore, most unwanted apps have data tracking capabilities. They can monitor browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and collect personal information extracted from it (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). The gathered data is often shared with and/or sold to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals).

Therefore, the presence of PUAs on devices poses a significant threat to system integrity and user privacy. You are strongly advised to eliminate all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam claims visitors have won a gift of gratitude
Related Domains applicationfreeprivacyphone[.]club
Detection Names (applicationfreeprivacyphone[.]club)
Fortinet (Phishing), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address (applicationfreeprivacyphone[.]club)
172.64.199.13
Symptoms Fake error messages, fake system warnings, pop-up errors, hoax computer scan.
Distribution methods Compromised websites, rogue online pop-up ads, potentially unwanted applications.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft, possible malware infections.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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"Gift card giveaway", "Congratulations device user!", "International Official Lottery" and "You've Made The 5-billionth Search" are some examples of scams similar to "You've made the 9.68-billionth search".

There are various types of schemes online and their goals are likewise varied. Popular scam models are fake prize giveaways, "amazing" offers and deals, warnings that the system is infected, alerts that a crucial piece of software is outdated, and so on.

Regardless of what these deceptive websites claim, offer, request or demand, the purpose is identical: to generate revenue to the scammers/cyber criminals behind them.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

PUAs are distributed via download/installation set-ups of other products. This deceptive marketing tactic of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions is called "bundling".

Rushing download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps and settings, etc.) increases the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled content into the system.

Some PUAs have "official" download sites. Intrusive advertisements proliferate these applications as well. Once clicked, they can execute scripts to download/install PUAs without users' consent.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

You are advised to research all software before download/installation or purchase. All downloads must be done from official and verified sources, since dubious channels such as unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders commonly offer deceptive or bundled content.

When downloading/installing, read the terms, explore all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of supplementary apps, tools, features, etc. Intrusive ads may seem normal and harmless, however, they can redirect to various dubious web pages (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, and many others).

If you encounter ads or redirects of this kind, inspect the system and remove any suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately

If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.

Text presented in the "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" scam:

You've made the 9.68-billionth search!


Congratulations! You are the lucky winner!


Every 10 millionth search is reached worldwide, we will proclaim a winner to send out a thank-you gift.


Please select your lucky prize below and claim it by following the instruction.

Screenshot of the second page displayed by "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" scam:

You've made the 9.68-billionth search scam second page

Text presented in this page:

Your Prize:

 

$1,000 Visa Gift Card
Congratulations! You win an $1,000 Visa Gift Card
Verify your information on the next page to continue.


ACCEPT PRIZE

Screenshot of the pop-up displayed after the "ACCEPT PRIZE" button is clicked:

Pop-up displayed after the second page of the You've made the 9.68-billionth search scam

Text presented in this pop-up:

$1,000 Visa Gift Card is ready.
Fill in your contact information on the next page for the $1,000 Visa Gift Card.
***Do not exit this page as you will not be able to come back once you give up the chance.***


CLAIM YOUR PRIZE

The appearance of "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" scam (GIF):

Appearance of You've made the 9.68-billionth search scam

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Quick menu:

Removal of potentially unwanted applications:

Windows 11 users:

Accessing Apps and Features in Windows 11

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:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

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:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

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:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

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.

PUAs uninstall via Control Panel

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:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing rogue extensions from Internet Explorer step 1

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options 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".

Removing rogue extensions from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the "you've made the 9.68-billionth search" pop-up, 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.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows XP

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.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 7

Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.

Reseting Internet Explorer settings to default in Windows 8 - accessing

In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - Internet options advanced tab

Click the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - click the Reset button in the Internet options advanced tab

Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - confirm settings reset to default by clicking the reset button

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing rogue extensions from Google Chrome step 1

Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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.

Removing rogue extensions from Google Chrome step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the "you've made the 9.68-billionth search" pop-up, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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.

Google Chrome settings reset step 1

After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 2

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 3

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing rogue extensions from Mozilla Firefox step 1

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (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.

Removing rogue extensions from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with "you've made the 9.68-billionth search" pop-up removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.

Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

removing adware from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....

removing adware from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) logoRemove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:

Removing adware from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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.

Removing adware from Microsoft Edge step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the "you've made the 9.68-billionth search" pop-up, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 1

In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 2

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.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 3

  • If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.

Summary:

declining installation of adware while downloading free software sampleCommonly, 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.

Removal assistance:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove "you've made the 9.68-billionth search" pop-up from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Removal Instructions in other languages
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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