Weekly Spyware Alert: Xupiter

By Webroot Software Development Team  |  Posted 2003-05-20 Email Print this article Print

This little nasty has the ability to hijack your homepage and address bar searches, add Xupiter links to your bookmarks, and download third-party programs onto your computer.

Aliases: Xupiter Toolbar, browserwise.com Variants: Xupiter/Xupiter, Xupiter/Xjupiter, Xupiter/2003, Xupiter/Sqwire, Xupiter/OrbitExplorer, Xupiter/Browserwise, Xupiter/Browser
Description: Xupiter is an Internet Explorer toolbar that tracks your web surfing activities and displays numerous targeted pop-up advertisements onto your computer. The adware program has the ability to hijack your homepage and address bar searches, add Xupiter links to your bookmarks, and download third-party programs onto your computer. Xupiter automatically updates itself and hides its files in order to avoid removal. Xupiter may install to your registry by browsing to www.browserwise.com/search1/install/XupiterToolbarLoader.cab.
Method of Infection: Xupiter is bundled with numerous free software programs, including the file-sharing program Grokster. Xupiter is also installed via ActiveX "drive-by download" on many web sites including FortuneCity, browserwise.com and freewebupgrades.com, and cjb.net subdomains, and through spam (one known e-mail offers a Free Christian Toolbar). Privacy Issues: The privacy policy states that the software may track all web usage. Xupiter runs without permission and continues to run even after the carrier program has been uninstalled. Security Issues: Xupiter software contacts its servers to ask for update codes (executed without checks). It also downloads third-party software (e.g. a casino loader application).
Stability Issues: Consumers have complained that Xupiter:
  • Xupiters search engines and a task run at Windows startup which downloads updates to the software whether you are connected to the Internet or not. Failure of this task may cause a crash in "runDownload.exe."
  • Consumers claim that Xupiter can turn off java-blockers to install itself.
  • Some versions of Xupiter can cause the Windows Explorer to crash when opened under Windows XP.
  • Support representatives have claimed that Xupiter is "breaking" some installed versions of Windows XP.
Removal Process: Uninstallation of Xupiter via the "Add/Remove Programs" option will not prevent the software from running. Manual removal requires significant understanding of the Windows Registry and leaves traces separate from the program files. There are sites on the Internet containing manual removal instructions. Note: These instructions do not cover newer variants of Xupiter. Without an anti-spyware software program, removal of Xupiter and its variants can be a difficult process. A good anti-spyware program that recognizes Xupiter can detect and removal all traces of the program within minutes. Vendor: www.browserwise.com (WARNING: ONLY CLICK ON THIS LINK IF YOU WANT TO EXPERIENCE TONS OF POP UP PAGES!)

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