"You've made the 9.68-billionth search" scam removal instructions
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 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 may redirect to other webpages that can make a variety of requests/demands of users. Usually, scams of this type are created for the purpose of phishing. Therefore, by trusting the "You've made the 9.68-billionth search" scheme, users trust can be abused in different ways. Typically, users access such sites via redirects caused by intrusive ads or by PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications), already installed onto the system.
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 afterwards. The nonexistent gift is a Visa Gift Card worth one thousand US dollars. To claim said prize, the user is told to confirm/provide the necessary information in the next page. As mentioned in the introduction, 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. Hence, 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/or credit card details. The collected data can then be misused to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases. Scams of this kind can also requests users to pay certain fees (e.g. for shipping, registration, subscription, tax, etc.), as they are allegedly necessary for the prize to be delivered. It must be emphasized 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 culprits behind rogue redirects to deceptive/scam and other dubious webpages are PUAs. However, software within this classification can have other/additional abilities. Adware-types deliver intrusive ads, which are not only a nuisance but are also deemed to be dangerous. Browser hijacker PUAs modify browser settings in order to promote fake search engines. What is more, most unwanted apps have data tracking abilities. 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, presence of PUAs on devices pose a significant threat to system integrity and user privacy. It is strongly recommended to eliminate all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins without delay.
|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|
|Detection Names (applicationfreeprivacyphone[.]club)
||Fortinet (Phishing), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (applicationfreeprivacyphone[.]club)
|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)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
"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, ludicrously good offers and deals, warnings that the system is infected, alerts that a crucial piece of software is outdated, and so on. Regardless of what deceptive websites claim, offer, request or demand, the end-goal is the same - to generate revenue to the scammers / cyber criminals behind them.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
PUAs can have "official" download webpages, which are often promoted by deceptive/scam sites. However, the most common distribution of these apps is through download/installation setups of other programs. This false marketing technique of packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions - is called "bundling". Rushed download/installation processes (e.g. ignored terms, skipped steps, etc.) - increase the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled content into the system. Intrusive adverts proliferate PUAs as well. Once clicked on, they can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is recommended to research software prior to download/installation and/or purchase. All downloads must be done from official and verified sources. Unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders - often offer deceptive and/or bundled content, due to this they are considered to be untrustworthy. When downloading/installing, it is important to read terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings and opt-out from additional apps, tools, features, etc. Intrusive ads appear ordinary and innocuous, however they redirect to various questionable pages (e.g. pornography, adult-dating, gambling, and so on). In case of encounters with advertisements/redirects of this type, users must inspect the system and immediately remove all suspect applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins from it. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes 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:
Text presented in this page:
$1,000 Visa Gift Card
Congratulations! You win an $1,000 Visa Gift Card
Verify your information on the next page to continue.
Screenshot of the pop-up displayed after the "ACCEPT PRIZE" button is clicked:
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):
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is "You've made the 9.68-billionth search"?
- 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 7 users:
Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.
Windows XP users:
Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.
Windows 10 and Windows 8 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.
Mac 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 "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.
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 "you've made the 9.68-billionth search" pop-up, 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 plugins 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 "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, 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 "you've made the 9.68-billionth search" pop-up, 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.
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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