If you get redirected to a search engine known as Popular123.com, then you should know that it is a somewhat unreliable search engine because it features ads from questionable third-party advertisers and collects information about you to share with them and provide you with personalized ads. This search engine can end up on your PC accidentally, or you can get redirected to it from another site, so you might want to remove it. In fact, there is no reason to keep it because the quality of the search results is not the greatest. In this article, we will discuss how this search engine works, how it is distributed, and how you can get rid of it.
Popular123.com is a search engine to which you can get redirected to if your browser has been infected with the Yeadesktop.com browser hijacker, a variant of Yeabests.cc, that replaces the homepage address of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Internet Explorer. It also hijacks the Target lines of the said browsers to prevent you from changing the homepage address via the options menus. Yeadesktop.com itself has been configured to show advertisements on its main page. If you enter a search query into Yeadesktop.com, then it will redirect it to Popular123.com. This search engine has also been set to show advertisements on its main page. Another thing to note is that it provides search results from Baidu.com, the most popular search engine in China which is legitimate. However, the search results you get from Popular123.com can be unreliable as it can feature promotional links from shady sources.
We have found that this search engine has been designed to collect information about you automatically. It can collect information such as your entered search queries, current location, content viewed, personal interests, and so on. It collects this information via legal means such as web beacons and browser cookies. The located information is shared with third-party advertisers of which there can be many, and the problem is that you cannot be sure whether they supply safe quality content. The affiliated advertisers use the collected information for geotargeting purposes such as to supply you with region-specific ads that can be personalized further depending on your interests. In short, Popular123.com is all about generating ad revenue, so do not expect it to provide you with a quality service.
Popular123.com is sort of a middle man between Yeadesktop.com and Baidu.com in that Yeadesktop.com redirects to Popular123.com which uses the search results of Baidu.com. However, Yeadesktop.com is the search engine that replaces the homepage address of your browser and hijacks the target lines of the browsers so that you could not change the search homepage. Yeadesktop.com comes with a browser extension that may be named as Yeadesktop, but it is also named 188.8.131.52 in Control Panel, provided that it was installed on Internet Explorer. This malicious browser extension is most likely distributed with the help of bundled software installers that are featured primarily on shady freeware hosting websites, but you can also encounter them on other websites such as those dedicated to distributing one particular program which is often classified a potentially unwanted program (PUP) or adware. The bundled installers can inject Yeadesktop.com and its accompanying browser extension into your browser without your knowledge or consent which is malicious by definition.
In closing, Popular123.com is just a middleman for Yeadesktop.com which is distributed using malicious software bundles and hijacks the homepages of popular browsers as well as their target lines to prevent you from changing them. It is evident that both Popular123.com and Yeadesktop.com were created for advertising purposes and have no added value. Furthermore, their ads come from unknown and, thus, unreliable sources. Therefore, we consider the search results unsafe. If you want to get rid of this search engine then remove the browser extension that manages Yeadesktop.com, change the homepage address and fix the target line.
Windows 10 and 8.1/8
Windows 7 and Vista