Has your homepage has been recently changed to Search.getsports.co without your authorization? If so, then you should know that your computer has been infected with a browser hijacker. Therefore, you ought to remove it because it will not only hijack the homepage but also collect information about you and show questionable promotional links in its search results that may come from shady sources. So, apart from redirected web traffic, it will also out your computer’s security in jeopardy.
Search.getsports.co belongs to SaferBrowser’s fleet of hijackers, so it is nearly identical to Search.searchglnn.com, Search.searchfcs.com, Search.emailfaster.co and dozens of other browser hijackers created by SaferBrowser. Undoubtedly, this company is in the web monetization business, and its hijackers are used to make money because they do not improve the search experience of users in any shape or form. Now let us take a look at how Search.getsports.co is currently being disseminated.
Our research has revealed that this new hijacker is distributed in much the same way as its previously released clones. First, it has a dedicated distribution website at http://getsports.co/Sports? that hosts the download of a browser extension called GetSports on Internet Explorer, Get Sports on Chrome, and Sports on Firefox. As per usual, as an extension from SaferBrowser is deceptively advertised as a means to watch sporting events, get highlight, scores, updates and other information. However, the small print says “Get Access to WatchESPN®, NFL Game Pass®, NBC Sports® for sports coverage. Some services may require registration.” So what you are essentially getting are bookmarks to sports related websites such as http://www.espn.com. Therefore, this extension offers absolutely nothing of real value as you can create bookmarks yourself.
If you download the extension that asks you whether you want Search.getsports.co as your homepage, then this is not considered as a hijacking. However, the second known distribution method is outright malicious. We have found that adware is used to promote the browser extension’s direct download. The adware shows pop-up advertisements that initiate the download of the extension but do not indicate that the homepage address is set to be changed automatically.
In the event that you click a malicious pop-up ad that downloads Get Sports on your browser, then Search.getsports.co will be set as your web browser’s homepage. Now, you think that this is insignificant as long as you are allowed to search the web, but Search.getsports.co has some serious issues that we cannot help but notice. It redirects all search queries to Yahoo.com, but the twist here is that the search results presented by the customized Yahoo search engine are also set to include additional promotional links that might redirect you to questionable websites that might even be infected and get your PC infected with Trojans or promote rogue anti-spyware-type applications that pose as legitimate. The modified search results should be presented at the bottom of the page, but that might not always be the case. We are of the opinion that using this hijacker is a potential security risk because you are likely to be subjected to unreliable content coming from unknown sources that have not been vetted by a reliable authority and SaferBrowser is far from that.
Before we wrap up this description, we would like to point your attention to the fact that this browser hijacker is configured to automatically collect non-personally identifiable information about you. This information can include but is not limited to Internet Protocol (IP), geographic location, the domain name of the Internet service provider (ISP), URLs and websites visited, search queries, and so on. This information is anonymous but used to present customized promotional links and generate more advertising income as a result.
In summary, Search.getsports.co is not a legitimate search engine, but a browser hijacker due to its malicious distribution channel. Its purpose is to hijack and replace your browser’s homepage in an effort to make you use it for conducting online searches. It will also collect anonymous information about you to make the ads more appealing, but you cannot trust the ads as they can come from questionable sources. Therefore, we suggest that you remove this hijacker using the guide provided below.
Windows 7 & Vista
Microsoft Internet Explorer