Browsezilla – a Web browser that contains malware

PandaLabs has discovered that Browsezilla, a free web browser available on several web pages, infects computers with the adware PicsPlace, without users’ knowledge. This adware, which activates whenever a user starts up the infected PC, opens a series of adult web pages, although they are not visible to the user. This tactic is aimed at artificially increasing visits to these pages.

Browsezilla is an application similar in appearance to the widely-used Mozilla browser, and also uses a dinosaur as a logo, no doubt to encourage users to trust the application. Ironically, the creators claim that Browsezilla offers safer Internet use than other browsers, as it supposedly does not store the history of pages visited or favorites lists. To encourage users to install it, the official page offers an Internet search service. However, the search always results in a page advising that it is necessary to download the browser in order to obtain the requested information.

The objective of the creators of Browsezilla could simply be financial: the browser uses thousands of users to generate fictitious hits on websites, so that the owners of the web pages receive increased traffic and consequently more income. Part of this income would go to the creators of the browser. For users, the negative effect is reduction in bandwidth used to access the hidden pages. In addition, users could find themselves unjustly accused of visiting pornographic websites.

This adware was detected and neutralized proactively by TruPreventTM Technologies without having a previous identification of it. Users with these technologies installed have therefore been protected from the outset against this new threat.

According to Luis Corrons, director of PandaLabs, “Today the prime objective of malware creators is to receive some kind of economic return through their action. A typical technique for distributing their creations is to offer some kind of free utility, in this case a Web browser, then exploit the trust of users and take some kind of malicious action from which they can profit. And it is impossible to know at first glance if a program which is seemingly trustworthy and is offered on numerous websites is safe, and for this reason users are advised to have an up-to-date security solution that prevents the damaging effects that these apparently inoffensive programs could cause.”

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