Probably everyone has suffered form this at some point, i.e. unwanted ads appearing in the browser when you navigate to another site. It’s extremely annoying and also potentially dangerous. Ads can be a symptom of malware, or ‘malicious software’ which is designed to infiltrate your PC and perform all kinds of nasty things including gathering sensitive data. Obviously having your AV up-to-date can help to diagnose and remove them, but this isn’t always the case and you many need to take further action. I’m using Firefox, so this tip is really only aimed at that browser, but there are similar fixes for IE and Chrome.
The first thing I did to remove the malware and associated files, registry keys etc. was to run an adware cleaner tool, found here. This tool quickly found the guilty files and promptly removed them. It was easy to use and presented a log with all problems found. After deleteing all of the adware associated files and restarting the problem had disappeared immediately. I ran a full AV scan for a few hours just to see if anything else was picked-up, however since the AV didn’t originally pick it up I didn’t expect to see anything, this was more out of peace of mind. Feeling pretty confident that I had successfully removed the culprit, I then decided tto implement some positive, preventative, anti-adware action and discovered a couple of neat little add-ons in the process.
1. Adblock Plus
Adblock Plus allows you to regain control of the internet and view the web the way you want to. The add-on is supported by over forty filter subscriptions in dozens of languages which automatically configure it for purposes ranging from removing online advertising to blocking all known malware domains. Adblock Plus also allows you to customize your filters with the assistance of a variety of useful features, including a context option for images, a block tab for Flash and Java objects, and a list of blockable items to remove scripts and stylesheets.
Ghostery sees the “invisible” web, detecting trackers, web bugs, pixels, and beacons placed on web pages by Facebook, Google Analytics, and over 1,000 other ad networks, behavioural data providers, web publishers – all companies interested in your activity.
By installing each of the add-ons, I have now appear to be ad-free and I see small messages appearing every time ads are blocked, or trackers are found on the web page.