How to get rid of the 5-billionth search scam
The 'You've Made The 5-billionth Search' is a part of the scam 'You Have Won A Google Gift' and is distributed via a bogus website. It is similar in style to the infamous Safari search contest, another well-known scam that claimed the infected user had won a prize. It would then ask you to pay money or enter your details to retrieve it.
You are seeing the “You’ve made the 5-billionth search” pop-ups because your device is infected with malware, spam notification ads, or a site you have visited has redirected your browser. This type of malware can be potentially harmful to your computer and any personal files on there.
This is a result of Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) being installed on computers or web browsers when you’re downloading various files from unreliable resources.
These programs result in unwanted redirects to dubious websites. They often gather data and annoy consumers with advertising.
In this article, we will explain what the 5-billionth search scam is, how you can avoid it, as well as remove it from your device if it’s already infected. We’ll also cover the problems it can cause if left unattended.
What is 'You’ve made the 5-billionth search'?
The "You've Made The 5-billionth Search" scam's main objective is to deceive individuals into thinking they are the lucky recipients of a 5-billionth search query.
At the time of investigation, the con artists behind this scheme claimed that Brad Jenkins, a (likely fictitious) winner from Brussels, was the last one to win a Samsung KU6179 Ultra HD TV on May 14, 2018.
This misleading website claims that each visitor is the upcoming winner. Visitors can select one of three secret prizes by pressing one of the three "CHOOSE" buttons that are displayed.
Once you click, you’ll be asked to enter personal details that may then be sold to a third party or taken to an unsafe website.
Anyone who uses this opportunity, it says, will also be given a winner's certificate and inducted into a "Hall of Fame."
|Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of one's computer.
|Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft.
Why am I seeing 'You’ve made the 5-billionth search' pop-up ads?
Although PUAs can occasionally be downloaded through their official websites, most consumers unwittingly install them by clicking on invasive adverts or when the misleading marketing strategy "bundling" is employed. Developers use this technique to deceive users into installing undesirable software together with other carefully picked programs.
The "Custom," "Advanced" (and other similar) options/settings of the installation (or download) setups are typically where PUAs are buried. In most cases, information on the inclusion of PUAs is not appropriately revealed.
Many people skip the usual steps involved in downloading and installing software and instead click on different adverts. This can result in the unintentional installation of potentially dangerous programs.
We advise against downloading files from untrustworthy sites to reduce your risk of contracting similar attacks. The secret to your safety is always being self-aware when browsing websites that may seem suspicious.
How do I know if my device has virus damage?
If your device has been compromised, you probably already know. But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, malware can be invisible and run in the background, potentially collecting your personal data.
Without interfering with other processes, the virus or malware may be transferring sensitive information or usage stats to a third party. Therefore, keep an eye out for these telltale signs:
- Unauthorized online purchases. Be sure to investigate further if you see unauthorized charges on your credit card or banking statements. It can be malware that has stolen your personal information to conduct fraudulent purchases or a malicious program that makes purchases on your behalf.
- Passwords change on online accounts. It is possible that hackers behind these viruses may have access to your personal email account, social media platforms, and so on. They do this so that you cannot log in and change the password once you suspect your account is compromised. Once they have access, they can receive login codes, password resets, and other sensitive information.
- An increase in random pop-ups and new apps. You can notice an increase in sporadic pop-up advertisements if your device is carrying a virus or dangerous program (more than usual). You might even spot apps you never downloaded if you look closely in your app library.
- Fraudulent links from your account. In order to spread the malware to your contacts and their connections, and so on, it's usual for malware to access your contact list and then use your phone to send messages to your friends. Email and social media accounts are the two most typical ways this might occur. If you see this cycle, immediately change your passwords and check all your devices for malware that might be running in the background.
How to get rid of the 5-billionth search scam
Below, we explain how you can remove the 5-billionth search scam across various devices and operating systems using a step-by-step guide.
Remove 5-billionth search scam on Windows computer
Uninstall an unwanted program:
- Right-click on the Start menu and open Settings.
- On the left side, find and click on Apps, then Installed Apps.
- Locate a recently installed suspicious app.
- Click on three horizontal dots (...) and select
In case it doesn’t help, follow these steps:
- Restart your computer in Safe mode: reboot your computer and while it is starting up, press the F8 button.
- This will open Advanced Boot Options, choose Safe mode.
- Go to the Control Panel and under Programs click on Uninstall a program.
Clean any registries created by this scam on your computer. Most frequently targeted areas are these:
- You can access them through the Run Window, which you open while holding Windows Key + R.
- Type regedit and click OK.
- You can navigate in the opened Registry Editor window and find the directories mentioned above (Run and OnceRun).
- Find a suspicious value and remove it by right-clicking on it and selecting Delete.
Remove 5-billionth search scam on Mac OS
Uninstall an unwanted program:
- On the Apple sidebar, click on Go and then Applications.
- Find a suspicious program and drag it to the Trash/Bin.
- On the Apple sidebar, click on Finder and then Empty Bin.
- (Or you can download a free third-party Mac tool like AppCleaner to remove unwanted applications).
Remove malicious add-ons from browsers
If you’re getting annoying pop-up ads every time you load up your browser, your computer may have been infected by malware. Try these steps to fix it!
Remove malicious add-ons from Google Chrome:
- In the browser's address box, type chrome://extensions.
- Find a suspicious extension and click the Remove button.
- To make sure there are no unwanted settings from this scam, reset your Chrome browser first by typing in the browser's address box chrome://settings.
- On the left panel, find the section Reset and clean up.
- Click on the Restore settings to their original defaults.
Remove malicious add-ons from Mozilla Firefox:
- In the browser's address box, type about:addons.
- Find a suspicious extension, click on the three dots and select Remove.
- Reset settings first by typing in the browser's address box about:support.
- On the upper right corner, find and click on Refresh Firefox and confirm.
Remove malicious add-ons from Safari:
- On a browser’s Safari dropdown menu, choose Preferences.
- Click on the Extensions tab.
- Find a suspicious extension and click Uninstall.
- To reset the Safari browser, on the same Preferences window, click on the Privacy tab.
- Click on the Manage Website Data and choose Remove All.
- Go to the browser's Develop dropdown menu and click on Empty Caches.
- Then go to the browser's Safari dropdown menu and click on Clear History.
- Choose all history and proceed by clicking on Clear History.
There you have it. We understand it might seem overly complicated, but by following this step-by-step guide accurately, you should be free of the scam.
How do I stop getting viruses on my device?
There are many steps you can take to prevent viruses from affecting your devices, these range from installing antivirus software to monitoring your browsing habits more closely. Below are some ways you can keep yourself safe from viruses:
- Install anti-virus software. Installing and using antivirus software is crucial if you want to prevent catching a virus on your devices via the internet. Because of the evolution of cyber threats, routine activities like online banking, shopping, and surfing might put you at risk. Since viruses are a significant cyber threat, it makes sense to maintain your equipment virus-free. We recommend using TotalAV and performing regular scans to detect and remove any threats.
- Be wary of email attachments. Email clients like Outlook and Gmail request your consent before downloading an attachment. There's a reason behind that. The act of downloading an attachment can be risky. Emails with viruses as attachments can still get into your inbox even though email services frequently incorporate virus prevention into their software. Spamming emails is a common way for cybercriminals to distribute a virus. They distribute the emails with the infected attachments to several recipients. The virus can install itself and start working after it is opened and runs.
- Stay updated. Tech companies frequently release software updates to make their products safer to use. Without these updates, hackers might exploit security holes and coerce a device into downloading malware. Update your program frequently whenever a patch becomes available. Alternatively, you can modify your computer's settings to enable automatic update acceptance.
- Avoid dodgy websites. Links to websites with odd names, such as combinations of characters and digits that don't resemble words, should not be clicked. Also, watch out for websites that have the same names as reputable brands but different URLs. It's probably a phony website if the URL contains extra symbols.
- Avoid using pirated software. Pirated software frequently originates from hard-to-find websites or peer-to-peer networks, both of which have users who might just be looking for their favorite movie or trying to transmit a virus. Because the downloaded file does not already include virus protection, it is simple for a cybercriminal to insert a virus into a free program. In some cases, a virus will be the only free software available.
- Back up your computer. You may maintain duplicates of all your crucial documents and records in a location that won't be infected by the virus by routinely employing a cloud backup. In the event that you contract a computer virus that is challenging to eradicate without erasing your files, you can easily clean your device and roll it back to the most recent time before the infection.
The 5-billionth search scam might seem harmless on paper. But cybercriminals are targeting people and their sensitive, personal data to sell or use unlawfully. Common signs of this include changed passwords, unauthorized purchases, and scam pop-ups.
We understand how annoying it is to be rerouted back to the same annoying pop-ups over and over again. So we recommended trying TotalAV and running regular scans to help detect and remove any threats. Follow the steps above to help keep yourself safe.
Give it a try, and let us know how you get on!
More malware removal guides from Cybernews:
Is the 5-billionth search a virus?
No, the 5-billionth search is not a virus. It’s a scam pop-up, usually stemming from malware on your computer. It may, however, be the result of a virus on your computer that is directing you to this web page.
Is the 5-billionth search reward real?
No, the 5-billionth search is not a real reward, and you should not click on any links or enter any personal information once you encounter it. This is one of the ways hackers can collect and potentially sell your data to third parties.