Sports Madness browser hijacker Removal Guide
What is Sports Madness browser hijacker?
Sports Madness is a bogus browser extension that changes the main settings
Rogue browser extensions can force people to use only selected channels for browsing
Sports Madness is a browser hijacker that takes control of the browsing experience by altering key settings such as the homepage, new tab address, and search engine. The extension includes a bogus search engine and advertises sportmadness.info. Aside from the changes in settings, users may notice an increase in commercial content such as pop-ups, banners, and redirects.
Because the developers of such apps are unconcerned about user privacy or security, the search results or advertisements displayed by them can lead to dangerous pages that attempt to trick users into providing personal information or downloading PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) and malware.
Browser hijackers have grown in popularity in recent years because they can generate a lot of money for criminals. People also install browser extensions without giving much thought to the consequences if the app is not legitimate. Users do not conduct adequate research and instead blindly download plugins.
Every day, we report on suspected hijackers. Sports Robot, Flash-Search, and World Clock are the most recent ones we've covered. However, as old add-ons fail, new ones appear just as quickly. People must learn about the social engineering techniques used by crooks to identify hijackers.
|TYPE||Browser hijacker; potentially unwanted program|
|SYMPTOMS||When a browser gets hijacked, usually the main settings get changed – the homepage, new tab address, and search engine; additionally, users can experience an increased amount of commercial content|
|DISTRIBUTION||Shady websites, deceptive ads, redirects, freeware installations|
|DANGERS||The application might gather various browsing-related information, which raises many user security and privacy concerns|
|ELIMINATION||You can remove an unwanted extension in the settings of the browser; deploying professional security software to scan the machine is recommended|
|FURTHER STEPS||Use FortectIntego to try to repair any remaining damage and optimize the machine to fix performance issues|
As previously stated, most users become infected by browser hijackers such as Sports Madness due to their own carelessness. People are drawn in by the flashy promises and descriptions of non-existent features and rush to download and test the plugins.
Fraudsters frequently create separate promotional websites for hijackers, boasting about all the amazing features that do not exist. These sites are then disseminated on shady websites that typically engage in illegal activity. Because they are unregulated, they are full of deceptive ads and sneaky redirects.
However, users may unknowingly install such extensions. This is frequently observed when users install software from freeware distribution sites. Because the creators must still make their activity profitable, they include in the installers additional programs that monetize user activity.
The best way to avoid PUPs is, of course, to only use official web stores and developer websites. Apps that are listed on digital marketplaces are subjected to a rigorous review process. During the installation, you should also do the following:
- Be sure to choose “Custom” or “Advanced” installation methods
- Check the file list up for installation – if you see any files that seem out-of-place, untick the boxes next to their names
Use legitimate and official sources for software installations
Start the removal
The first thing you should do is go to your browser settings and check if you see any extensions with a similar name or suspicious-looking add-ons in general. You can follow our guide if you need help:
- Open Google Chrome, click on the Menu (three vertical dots at the top-right corner) and select More tools > Extensions.
- In the newly opened window, you will see all the installed extensions. Uninstall all the suspicious plugins that might be related to the unwanted program by clicking Remove.
- Select Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and pick Extensions.
- From the list, pick the extension and click on the Gear icon.
- Click on Uninstall at the bottom.
MS Edge (Chromium)
- Open Edge and click select Settings > Extensions.
- Delete unwanted extensions by clicking Remove.
- Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click on the Menu (three horizontal lines at the top-right of the window).
- Select Add-ons.
- In here, select unwanted plugin and click Remove.
- Click Safari > Preferences…
- In the new window, pick Extensions.
- Select the unwanted extension and select Uninstall.
Now that your machine is free of intruders, you should delete any data that may have been gathered about you while it was in your machine. You'll need a different tool for this – FortectIntego, which is multi-purpose maintenance software. It will completely clear your browsers' cookies and cache, resulting in improved machine performance.
Aside from that, it can repair a variety of complex system errors caused by corrupted files and registry issues, which is especially useful after a virus infection.
Additional safety measures
A program could also have been responsible for the hijacking. This most commonly occurs when people fail to pay attention during the installation process and visit shady websites. If the previous removal method did not remove the intruder, you most likely have an unwanted program running in the background.
Simply removing the plugin from the browser will not help in this case, and the application will continue to mess up the settings until you completely remove it from your system. However, identifying the program that has hijacked your browser may be difficult if you have never done so before and it is not named the same as the homepage.
Crooks frequently disguise PUPs as useful tools that you would not suspect. It could resemble an antivirus, system optimizer, media player, or something else. If you are unsure what to do and do not want to risk deleting the wrong files, we recommend that you use professional security tools.
SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and Malwarebytes can scan your machine, identify suspicious processes running on it, eliminate them, and prevent future infections by warning you before a malicious program can make any changes. If you still prefer manual removal, we have instructions for both Windows and Mac machines:
- Enter Control Panel into Windows search box and hit Enter or click on the search result.
- Under Programs, select Uninstall a program.
- From the list, find the entry of the suspicious program.
- Right-click on the application and select Uninstall.
- If User Account Control shows up, click Yes.
- Wait till uninstallation process is complete and click OK.
- Click on Windows Start > Control Panel located on the right pane (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs).
- In Control Panel, select Programs > Uninstall a program.
- Pick the unwanted application by clicking on it once.
- At the top, click Uninstall/Change.
- In the confirmation prompt, pick Yes.
- Click OK once the removal process is finished.
- From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
- In the Applications folder, look for all related entries.
- Click on the app and drag it to Trash (or right-click and pick Move to Trash)
To fully remove an unwanted app, you need to access Application Support, LaunchAgents, and LaunchDaemons folders and delete relevant files:
- Select Go > Go to Folder.
- Enter /Library/Application Support and click Go or press Enter.
- In the Application Support folder, look for any dubious entries and then delete them.
- Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the related .plist files.
How to prevent from getting browser hijacker
Do not let government spy on you
The government has many issues in regards to tracking users' data and spying on citizens, so you should take this into consideration and learn more about shady information gathering practices. Avoid any unwanted government tracking or spying by going totally anonymous on the internet.
You can choose a different location when you go online and access any material you want without particular content restrictions. You can easily enjoy internet connection without any risks of being hacked by using Private Internet Access VPN.
Control the information that can be accessed by government any other unwanted party and surf online without being spied on. Even if you are not involved in illegal activities or trust your selection of services, platforms, be suspicious for your own security and take precautionary measures by using the VPN service.
Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack
Computer users can suffer from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.
When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.