For a while now, I have noticed that some times, inexplicably, I would type in one URL in the URL entry field in Firefox, but I would end up at some sort of a search page at http://www.iwsearch.net/l/<some-part-of-whatever-url-I-typed>. For the longest time, I thought I had some malware, but no amount of search showed up anything. Then, I thought, I was maybe making a mistake when typing.
Today for the first time, I noticed that this always happened when, by mistake, a “.net” got appended to the URL. So if I typed “google.com.net”, I would get redirected to the alternate URL.
And I noticed that InfoWeb (the site at www.iwsearch.net) had the domain name “com.net” and was using it to show up some sort of search results for the first part of the domain.
Then, I researched this on the good old World Wide Web and it turned out this really is a problem with Firefox. Apparently, if you type “Shift+Enter”, instead of just “Enter” after you enter something in the URL entry field, Firefox appends a “.net” to whatever you’ve entered and tries the resulting URL instead. InfoWeb have been smart to hang onto the domain name “com.net” and make some money out of this behavior of Firefox. Since the Shift key is right below the Enter key, it happens quite a lot that I fat-finger “Shift-Enter” when I meant to just to “Enter”. So, there is no malware, just a Firefox “feature” and someone who has taken advantage of the lucky hits to their site.
“Control+Enter” finishes the URL with “.com” instead of “.net”.
Also, apparently Internet Explorer (IE) has the same mappings too.