Conduit Hijacks Firefox on a Windows Computer and Convinces User it is Google

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Search Engines and Fraud

Posted • November 1, 2010 • 4 Comments

Search Engines and Fraud

Conduit Hijacks Firefox on a Windows Computer and Convinces User it is Google

FirefoxI recently had a client ask me a question about some Google results I couldn’t answer. When I finally figured out the answer it was a case of Conduit taking control of the computers Firefox settings.

He was totally convinced he was using Google so I had the client send me some screen shots of the search results he was getting and the results were very interesting.

The search term was “windows” and…

Windows search results screen shot
The above screen shot is a compilation of 3 screens the single screen showed only one organic search result. While Conduit does identify the top results as ads it is not easily apparent to the viewer that there is any difference between the ads and the organic results.

Conduit search results with the ads highlighted
Here is what the searcher saw in his results.

Windows search results above the fold
Only the bottom result was organic. All the results above that one were paid Google ads.
(Post from Search Engine Optimizician.)
This hijacking even removed the Conduit logo and replaced it with a magnifying glass.

Conduit logo missing on this PC
But when I loaded the Conduit search on my Mac using Firefox the logo magically appears.

Conduit logo appears on my Mac
As you can see from the above Mac screen shot Conduit does place the text “sponsored links” on the page but the uninitiated could easily miss it.

When I went to the Conduit home page on my Mac this is what I saw.

Conduit home page
The Conduit logo is the text “Conduit”, so why isn’t it showing on the PC?

A pretty slick job of hijacking the Firefox browser preferences on a Windows computer ‘eh?

Do you have any similar stories of some sort of control over your computer by some outside source I would love to here about them.

Late,
Gary Pool SEO


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4 Responses to “Search Engines and Fraud”

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