Adware

Adware

A computer desktop displaying a large amount of Adware.

Adware is a type of software that downloads, plays, or displays advertisements on a computer after it is installed or while the application is in use. Adware is often thought of as a virus that tries to obtain information about ones personal information by using these fake advertisements.

Infection

A computer can become infected with Adware by a number of ways, but most likely from downloading or clicking on questionable links from the internet. Often times, it is possible that a user has no idea that they are downloading harmful software because Adware disguises itself with names such as "download XP service pack 4, great bargains, latest update!" It is important to be safe and smart about what is viewed and downloaded from the internet, and Symantec Anti-virus will usually notify when something harmful is about to be downloaded.

Please note: Beginning in the 2014-2015 academic year, Gustavus Technology Services will no longer offer Symantec Endpoint Protection for installation on personally-owned computers. Campus network users (Windows) will still be required to have a functional antivirus program installed on their computer. These programs include Norton, Kaspersky, etc. On Windows 8 machines, the standard Windows Defender program is recommended.

Removal

Please note: Beginning in the 2014-2015 academic year, Gustavus Technology Services will no longer offer Symantec Endpoint Protection for installation on personally-owned computers. Campus network users (Windows) will still be required to have a functional antivirus program installed on their computer. These programs include Norton, Kaspersky, etc. On Windows 8 machines, the standard Windows Defender program is recommended.

The removal process of Adware can either be quick, or stressful, depending on the sophistication of the Adware Software downloaded. Regardless, the steps to take for removal are as follows:

  1. Boot Windows into "Safe Mode" by restarting, and pressing F8 upon start up.
  2. Run a Symantec Anti-virus full computer scan by right clicking on the yellow shield on the right of the lower toolbar (should be in the assortment of icons next to the clock)
  3. Select "Open Symantec Endpoint Protection"
  4. Select "Scan for threats" in the left menu bar, and select "Full Scan"
  5. Symantec will then run a full computer scan of harmful software on the machine, which could take anywhere from 25 minutes, to an hour and 25 minutes (speed will depend on how much data is stored on the machine).
  6. Symantec will then list the threats it has found, and may give you the option to quarantine them. If it does not, the Adware is sophisticated, and takes a bit more effort to remove. At this point, the user is advised to bring it to Gustavus Technology Services, but they can also follow the following steps.
  • Install Malwarebytes (in "Safe Mode With Networking")
  • Run another "Full System Scan"
  • If this fails, install and run ComboFix. This link also gives detailed instructions on how to use the software.
  • If non of the above solutions work, the user is strongly advised to bring their machine to Gustavus Technology Services