My Firefox browser inexplicably sends me to iwsearch.net (InfoWeb)…

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.

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16 thoughts on “My Firefox browser inexplicably sends me to iwsearch.net (InfoWeb)…”

  1. hA.. Thanks for this explanation… I was wondering how this InfoWeb had been installed on my pc 😉 Each day, some ppl find an easy way to make some cent… This is one of the best example of this tendency.

  2. Thank you very much for this. I have somewhat large fingers as well and like you thought I had some form of spyware I could not locate. I use OpenDNS to block pages I dont like and Infowebs has just made number 1 on my list. 🙂

  3. Thanks. I just reinstalled Windows XP for my parents and set it up accordingly with a guest account so that my sister won’t mess with it so much, however I was surprised next day that i was redirected to iwsearch..

    Search plugins already… ?

    Gladly you explained it very good. Thanks

  4. This is very annoying.
    Probably causes panic to users, businesses, it departments.
    Firefox should fix this.

  5. Get blocksite addon for firefox and enter “http://www.iwsearch.net*”. Working great for me to block this idiotic site.

  6. I am getting a pumpertruck of that unwanted nextweb, and I didn’t even feed my fingers a po’ boy sammich; to wit, in Fedora 15 beta and Firefox 4, it’s happening all over the place, including sidebar results nobody ordered, and I’m saying it’s an add-on. This gray-background web ‘search’ squatter really frosts my donut. Maybe it’s search sidebar or something version .2…

  7. I think it’s in an add-in (extension whatever,) perhaps a low-version or social networking or video download one. Sorry I don’t know which yet, or the trivial way of filtering the .firefox/extensions directory for the culprit!

    Test by loading Chrome and seeing if things improve, then go back and disable unused and/or unproven plugins, restart, and…seek joy.

  8. thanks Xiggie I went crazy when I got home not being able to use google. I thought I had a virus or something. problem fixed 😀

  9. @grok2, thanks for the info!

    @wap tek, thanks for the tip!!

    @Curmu Diigeonnen, NextWeb is not InfoWeb and has nothing to do with this post. :-/

  10. Paris, 7.4.2012
    Merci pour ces explications. Je suis rassuré: il n’y a pas de virus sur mon PC !!
    Bravo pour la recherche sur le .com.net !!!
    Pierre
    pierre1634@yopmail.com

    ——-http://fr.babelfish.yahoo.com/——-

    Paris, 7.4.2012 Thank you for these explanations. I am reassured: it n’ there does not have virus on my PC!! Cheer for research on .com.net!!! Pierre pierre1634@yopmail.com

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