Malware Being Delivered Through Ask Tookbar

The Ask Toolbar is possibly one of the most insidious software addons in existence. Most people find they have the Ask Toolbar and aren’t even really sure how it happened.

Now that Ask has been exploited it’s even more important to get rid of it. Most people acquire the Ask Toolbar as an addon to something they intended to download, but didn’t read the fine print and remove the check next to “Add the Search App by Ask.”

So why don’t you want it? It’s considered an unwanted program, it changes your browsers default search engine and delivers additional advertising. At one time Microsoft even described the Ask Toolbar as “unwanted software”, including it in their anti-malware products as a software that if found should be removed, due to it’s meddling with search engine results.

However, the problems with the Ask Toolbar went a step farther last November. Security firm Carbon Black published an article, March 16, 2017, describing how hackers were able to insert malicious code into the toolbar’s update mechanism. This caused users to download what appeared to be a legitimate update, but instead it allowed remote hackers to gain access to the targeted computers, capture credentials and move across the victim’s network.

As Carbon Black points out, this kind of attack demonstrates a common risk with toolbars like Ask and browser extensions like InvisibleHand. Carbon Black went on to say, “Unnecessary and unwanted software, while not necessarily malicious, increases an organization’s attack surface and exposes systems to additional threats. As this compromise illustrates, threats can extend well beyond software vulnerabilities. Widely distributed software, such as the toolbar, is being repeatedly used for nefarious purposes.”

The Ask Toolbar is an addon we regularly remove from computers during a standard computer clean-up. I have yet to meet a customer who knew how they had gotten the toolbar or thought it was a tool worth keeping.

Keep your home and office computers safe, remove the Ask Toolbar and any other addon toolbars you find in your browser.

If you’d like to have your computers looked at for unwanted or unnecessary software call Top Speed Computer Service today to schedule! 775.852.4333

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