What is superstar3.io?
Upon downloading a suspicious installer from an untrustworthy website, our team identified superstar3.io, a deceptive search engine that presents search results sourced from various other search engines. It is important to note that the installer used to promote superstar3.io may include additional malicious components.
More about superstar3.io
Our investigation revealed that the operation of superstar3.io is initiated by a process labeled "SuperStar.SearchOptimizer" in the Task Manager. Additionally, a second process linked to superstar3.io bears the name "SuperStar.OptimizerService." This latter process serves the purpose of launching "SearchOptimizer" if it is terminated, ensuring the continuity of the associated functionality.
This is very uncommon for browser hijackers, since most of them come in form of browser extensions, rather than a separate executable that interacts with the web browser.
Furthermore, our findings indicated that superstar3.io displays search results originating from searchmenow.gg (an untrustworthy search engine), Yahoo (a reputable search engine), and potentially other search engines, which could be either dependable or dubious in nature. Another website that superstar3.io redirects users to is bangsearch[.]pro.
Using fake search engines like superstar3.io and questionable search engines like searchmenow.gg can expose users to several risks. These engines might manipulate search results to promote malicious websites or display misleading advertisements, potentially leading users to download malware or disclose sensitive information.
Additionally, these engines may compromise user privacy by tracking and collecting search data for unauthorized purposes. Interacting with such search engines increases the likelihood of encountering fraudulent schemes, deceptive content, and other cyber threats.
Given that superstar3.io is promoted through a malicious installer, there is a notable possibility that it could be bundled with various unwanted software, such as adware, browser hijackers, or even malicious applications.
Malicious installers often include additional components that users are unaware of, and these components can cause disruptive behavior, compromise user privacy, or even lead to security vulnerabilities.
|Threat Type||Unwanted redirects, Fake search engine|
|Supposed Functionality||Legitimate search engine|
|Related Domains||searchmenow[.]gg, bangsearch[.]pro|
|Detection Names (superstar3.io)||N/A (VirusTotal)|
|Detection Names (SuperStar.SearchOptimizer)||BitDefenderTheta (Gen:NN.ZemsilF.36350.im0@a4Cq2ac), Cynet (Malicious (score: 100)), Elastic (Malicious (moderate Confidence)), Microsoft (Trojan:Script/Phonzy.B!ml), Trapmine (Malicious.moderate.ml.score), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Detection Names (SuperStar.OptimizerService)||Cybereason (Malicious.a3f650), Cynet (Malicious (score: 100)), Elastic (Malicious (high Confidence)), Google (Detected), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/Wacatac.H!ml), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Detection Names (Installer)||Ikarus (Trojan.MSIL.Inject), McAfee (Artemis!26FD3EA3F8D5), Microsoft (Program:Win32/Contebrew.A!ml), Secureage (Malicious), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Symptoms||Unwanted redirects, users are forced to visit shady pages and use unreliable search engines, SuperStar.SearchOptimizer and SuperStar.OptimizerService processes running in the Task Manager|
|Distribution methods||Malicious installers, deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), dubious websites, and similar channels.|
|Damage||Internet browser tracking (potential privacy issues), display of unwanted ads, redirects to dubious websites, additional unwanted installations, computer infections.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
Superstar3.io is a deceptive search engine discovered after downloading a suspicious installer from an untrustworthy website. It is initiated by processes named "SuperStar.SearchOptimizer" and "SuperStar.OptimizerService", with the latter ensuring the continuity of the former's functionality.
This fake search engine displays results from unreliable search engines like searchmenow.gg, as well as legitimate ones like Yahoo, potentially exposing users to misleading content, advertisements, and privacy risks. More examples of dubious search engines are smartshopsearch.com, search-content.com, and keywordssearching.com.
How did superstar3.io install on my computer?
Superstar3.io might have appeared on your computer through a variety of methods. It could have been included in a software installer downloaded from a dubious or untrustworthy website. Additionally, interacting with compromised websites or engaging with deceptive advertisements or pop-ups could have led to its unintentional installation.
How to avoid unwanted installations?
Download software from reputable sources like official websites and trusted app stores, avoiding suspicious or unfamiliar platforms. During installations, carefully review all options and deselect any additional software or features that are not necessary. Regularly update your operating system, installed programs, and security software.
Do not agree to receive notifications from unreliable websites, and do not trust ads on shady sites. If your computer is already infected with browser hijackers, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.
Superstar3.io redirects to searchmenow.gg (GIF):
Website promoting malicious installer:
"SuperStar.SearchOptimizer" and "SuperStar.OptimizerService" processes running in the Task Manager:
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:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the purpose of forcing users visit superstar3.io website?
The purpose of forcing users to visit the superstar3.io website might be to drive traffic to the site, potentially for financial gain through advertising revenue or to increase the site's perceived legitimacy. It could also be an attempt to capture user search queries and data for tracking or mining purposes, ultimately compromising user privacy.
Is visiting superstar3.io a threat to my privacy?
Unauthorized redirections might expose your browsing activities to tracking or data collection, potentially compromising privacy. Thus, visiting superstar3.io is not safe.
How did an unwanted app infiltrate my computer?
An unwanted app may have infiltrated your computer through various means. It could have been bundled with another software you downloaded from an untrustworthy source. Alternatively, interactions with compromised websites, deceptive installers, ads, or pop-ups might have triggered the app's installation without your explicit consent.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove unwanted apps?
Certainly, Combo Cleaner scans and removes unwanted and even malicious apps from your computer. Manual removal might not work well when dealing with persistent apps. Thus, it is recommended to use Combo Cleaner and run a full system scan.