I came across a strange incident last night. I woke my 2010 MBA (Lion/patched), launched Safari and, while it was still loading the Apple startpage, I typed (what I thought was) ebay.com into the URL. Since my home network had automatically shut down (it's on a timer), I used MiFi. Yes, my OS X firewall is on.
eBay never showed up, but I did get a white screen and a modal popup. The browser had been redirected to free-rewards-for-you.com and the popup said, "welcome eBay user..." and a bunch of scam-related stuff about winning, etc. (sorry - I should have gotten a View/Source - I apologize)
I did a Quit - no go. I resorted to Force Quit. That worked.
Then I started Safari again and, without typing anything, the same thing happened.
After a few launches/FQs, I got to Reset Safari before the popup. That didn't help.
I went into Library/Preferences and erased the private config file for Safari (sorry, the exact name escapes me). No change. That was the only file that had a recent modification date (that is, it was modified last night).
Eventually, I figured that I'd stop the page from loading as soon after launch as possible (click the X), then see what Safari had for settings.
It still had apple.com/startpage for the homepage.
So, I changed the homepage to a blank page, did another Reset Safari and re-launched. That seemed to help.
Ah, I did also check hosts. It contained the standard references for localhosts.
And, I was able to get to www.ebay.com after (I typed in the www., just in case DNS was compromised at VirginMobile).
I've been searching since last night, but haven't found any reference to this in Googleland. Has anyone else come across this?
FWIW, I was using Firefox in the background to do research on possible causes and cures while this was happening. So, it looked like it only affected Safari.
Possible cause: Earlier, I had been looking to purchase, "Pirates of Silicon Valley." Can you believe it, it's not on iTunes! Everywhere I looked, there were, "view here," links (I didn't). Gee, I know that show doesn't paint a flattering portrait of the two main characters (well, of any of the characters), but come on - that's no reason to hijack Safari! (love you, Steve!)