[German]If you are using the Slimjet browser, you should be careful with the selection of the default search engine at the moment. Slimjet developers has buried a nasty trick behind the offered Bing search engine entry – there is a redirection to fpseek.com.
The Slimjet browser is a Google Chrome browser clone, that has been enriched with helpful additional functions like popup blocker etc. The browser can be downloaded free of charge from the website www.slimjet.com/en/. The developer of this browser is the Austin, Texas (USA), based software producer FlashPeak Inc. I had introduced Slimjet browser a while ago and wrote a German blog post Angetestet: Der Slimjet-Browser, ein Chrome-Clone with an introduction.
But something is ‘going on’ with Slimjet browser since version 18. Yesterday I reported a mysterious thing about Slimjet browser. The developers seems to installing something mysterious on selected user systems (see my blog post Is FlashPeak Inc. shipping Slimjet browser with a backdoor?). Today I like to address another ‘not so noble’ surprise found in Slimjet.
Search enging Bing is redirected via fpseek.com
In the Slimjet you can click in the upper right corner on the gear icon (settings) and go to Settings in the opened menu. Further options can be shown using the Advanced hyperlink visible at the bottom of the page. In the Omnibox group then you can switch between different search providers like Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo and so on, using the address bar’s list box.
If you click on the triangle at the right margin of the Manage search engines option, you will reach the following page. There are the search engines, the search abbreviation and the query URL are listed.
And there is a rather strange query URL entered at search engine provider Bing (see the red arrow in the screenshot above). The URL points to fpseek.com and cannot be changed. My first thought: There is a browser hijacker that has changed the settings.
Intention of the Slimjet developers!
And there I found the foot note:
The “Bing” search provider included in Slimjet is a sponsored search provider served from fpseek.com and powered by Microsoft’s Bing search engine. …
So if you want to use Bing as a search engine, you get fpseek.com without even noticing it. The provider ClientConnect Ltd. pays the Slimjet developers money to integrate its URL on fpseek.com.
What does the Internet say about fpseek?
Based on user comments within my German blog and the above text I searched the internet. On the page pcrisk.com there is an article Fpseek.com Redirect, which deals with the removal of fpseek.com. I didn’t provide the link because the site offers an obscure removal tool to keep your hands off. This is not the subject of the blog post. More interesting is the following quote on the pcrisk.com site, dealing with the question ‘how to remove fpseek.com’. I didn’t provide the link because the site offers an obscure removal tool to keep your hands off. This is not the subject of the blog post. More interesting is the following quote on the pcrisk.com site:
What is fpseek.com?
Developed by ClientConnect Ltd., fpseek.com is a fake Internet search engine that supposedly enhances the Internet browsing experience by generating improved search results. Initially, fpseek.com may appear legitimate and useful, however, this site is promoted via rogue download/installation set-ups designed to modify web browser settings without users’ permission. In addition, fpseek.com continually tracks Internet browsing activity by gathering various user/system information.
There is also this website, listing Client Connect LTD as ‘not trusted’.
What does Client Connect Ltd. say about this?
When you Use the Software & Services, We automatically generate an anonymous internal user ID which is assigned to your use of the Software & Services (the “User ID”) and may be combined with any of the above information including PII (as defined below).
The Company uses the information it collects for analytical, business and operational purposes in the following ways …
So buried in the text is the information that they track everything (supposedly anonymously, but there have been cases in the past where this anonymity could be undermined – and as an outsider I can’t judge whether the information is really true or just a statement on the web). Within the text, there is a hint that it is also a matter of data collection for business purposes.
to serve you with first and third party contextual and personalized content on first and third party websites and applications across your devices through the use of automated decision-making algorithms and processes that can process your PII and other information associated with your User ID, including through the delivery of targeted interest-based advertisements from us or our partners.
The provider uses the tracked information to rollout content from third-party sites and targeted advertising. It is somehow clear that the developers of the Slimjet browser have to finance themselves. But the whole thing is solved rather clumsily. With this in mind (and my yesterday article), I can no longer recommend Slimjet. At least you should avoid Bing as a search provider – and check every Slimjet update to see if anything has changed.