What is Interesting Facts?
While inspecting deceptive software-endorsing websites, our researchers discovered one promoting the Interesting Facts browser extension. This piece of software promises to display brief interesting facts from around the world.
However, it also makes modifications to browser settings to promote the search.interestfact.com fake search engine. Additionally, the rogue extension spies on users' browsing activity. This behavior classifies Interesting Facts as a browser hijacker.
Interesting Facts browser hijacker overview
Browser hijackers assign the addresses of fake search engines as browsers' default, as well as their homepage and new tab/window URLs. Interesting Facts changes these settings to the search.interestfact.com website. Therefore, after installing this extension onto our test machine, every new browser tab/window we opened and search query we typed into the URL bar - resulted in redirects to search.interestfact.com.
Illegitimate search engines usually cannot generate search results, so they redirect to genuine ones. Search.interestfact.com redirected to the Bing search engine during our analysis. It is pertinent to mention that this site might redirect elsewhere, as where these pages land may depend on factors like user geolocation.
Furthermore, browser-hijacking software often uses persistence-ensuring techniques, and this is true of Interesting Facts.
What is more, Interesting Facts has data-tracking abilities. Browser hijackers tend to target: URLs visited, webpages viewed, search queries typed, account log-in credentials, personally identifiable details, finance-related information, and so forth. The gathered data can then be monetized via sale to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals).
To summarize, the presence of software like Interesting Facts on devices can result in system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Browser Extension(s)||Interesting Facts|
|Supposed Functionality||Displaying interesting facts|
|Detection Names (search.interestfact.com)||N/A (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address (search.interestfact.com)||220.127.116.11|
|Affected Browser Settings||Homepage, new tab URL, default search engine|
|Symptoms||Manipulated Internet browser settings (homepage, default Internet search engine, new tab settings). Users are forced to visit the 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.
Browser hijacker examples
Browser-hijacking software usually looks ordinary and harmless. It also offers "useful", "advantageous", "entertaining", and various other functionalities. However, these features seldom work as advertised, and in most cases - they do not work at all.
How did Interesting Facts install on my computer?
We acquired Interesting Facts from a dubious download webpage. Sites of this kind are most commonly entered via redirects caused by pages that use rogue advertising networks, misspelled URLs, spam browser notifications, intrusive ads, or installed adware.
Intrusive adverts proliferate browser-hijacking software as well. Once clicked on, some of the ads can execute scripts to perform stealthy downloads/installations.
Browser hijackers can also be bundled (packed together) with regular programs. Download from dubious channels (e.g., unofficial and freeware sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.) and rushed installations (e.g., skipped steps and sections, etc.) increase the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled content into the system.
How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?
We highly recommend researching software and downloading only from official/verified sources. Additionally, installation processes must be approached with care, e.g., by reading terms, inspecting possible options, using the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opting-out of supplementary apps, extensions, etc.
We also advise caution when browsing since fraudulent and malicious content typically appears legitimate and innocuous. For example, intrusive advertisements may look harmless, but they redirect to unreliable/questionable websites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).
In case of encounters with such adverts/redirects, check the device and immediately remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with Interesting Facts, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Permissions asked by Interesting Facts browser hijacker:
Deceptive websites promoting Interesting Facts browser hijacker:
Appearance of search.interestfact.com redirecting to the Bing search engine (GIF):
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT 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 Interesting Facts?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Interesting Facts application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Interesting Facts browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove search.interestfact.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove search.interestfact.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Interesting Facts browser hijacker removal:
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 recently installed suspicious applications (for example, "Interesting Facts"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the search.interestfact.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Interesting Facts browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove browser redirects:
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 "Interesting Facts" and other recently-installed suspicious extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".
Change your homepage:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, disable "Interesting Facts", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.search.interestfact.com) below the "Open a specific or set of pages" option. If present click on the three vertical dots icon and select "Remove".
Change your default search engine:
To change your default search engine in Google Chrome: Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings", in the "Search engine" section, click "Manage search engines...", in the opened list look for "search.interestfact.com", when located click the three vertical dots near this URL and select "Delete".
- If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Google Chrome.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the search.interestfact.com redirect, 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 extensions from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons and themes". Click "Extensions", in the opened window locate "Interesting Facts", as well as all recently-installed suspicious extensions, click on the three dots and then click "Remove".
Change your homepage:
To reset your homepage, click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), then select "Settings", in the opened window disable "Interesting Facts", remove hxxp://search.interestfact.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.
Change your default search engine:
In the URL address bar, type "about:config" and press Enter. Click "Accept the Risk and Continue".
In the search filter at the top, type: "extensionControlled". Set both results to "false" by either double-clicking each entry or clicking the button.
Computer users who have problems with search.interestfact.com redirect 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 search.interestfact.com redirect, 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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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the purpose of forcing users to visit search.interestfact.com website?
Redirects to sites like search.interestfact.com are caused because cyber criminals (i.e., developers of fake search engines, browser hijackers, etc.) generate revenue through them.
Is visiting search.interestfact.com a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes. Websites like search.interestfact.com usually collect and sell visitor data.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are primarily spread via bundled program installers, misleading and scam websites, freeware and free file-hosting sites, P2P sharing networks, fake updates, spam browser notifications, or intrusive ads.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove Interesting Facts browser hijacker?
Yes, Combo Cleaner will scan your system and eliminate detected browser-hijacking applications. It must be mentioned that manual removal (unaided by security software) might be ineffective, especially when multiple browser hijackers have infiltrated the system. In some instances, even after one browser hijacker is removed - the others simply re-install it. What is more, removal-related settings might be inaccessible with this software present. Hence, it is crucial to eliminate browser hijackers thoroughly and all at once.