Fight adware that redirects your browser
Q. I’m getting pop-ups in my browser’s search bar and sending them to a site I’ve never heard of. What is a scam?
A. If you are experiencing constant pop-up ads, trips to websites you didn’t intend to visit, a homepage that changes frequently, ads trying to sell you obscure security software, or a other strange browser behavior, your computer is probably infected with aggressive adware. program. These types of invasive programs – which can affect Macs as well as PCs – often redirect your browser to certain pages so these sites can generate income by showing advertisements to (unwanted) visitors.
The adware may have been associated with other software that you have installed on the computer, such as a “free” toolbar extension or a game. Visiting a web page faked with malicious code can also infect a computer .
Using a malware scanner application to locate and remove adware hidden on your computer is probably the easiest way to get rid of unwanted software. Wire cutter, a product review site owned by the New York Times, recommended the Malwarebytes program for Windows and Mac computers; a free trial is available. HitmanPro is another anti-malware program for Windows that offers free trial.
Microsoft also has its own Malware Removal Tool that can catch and remove certain types of malware. There are plenty of security programs available on the web, but be sure to read reviews for any product you are considering – some apps may in fact be questionable themselves.
Manually unwanted program removal is also possible, although this approach requires time and technical prowess. Sometimes you can spot adware and spyware in the list of programs on your computer and uninstall them just like you would any other software.
You should also check your browser settings for unknown add-ons and extensions – and remove any you find. In some cases, resetting your browser can also eliminate unwanted software.
The reset option restores the program to its default state, but it should keep your bookmarks and passwords. You can find your reset commands in settings or Google options Chromium (which also includes a malware scanner for Windows), Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorerand Mozilla Firefox. Apple has its own guide to troubleshoot the Safari browser.
Personal Tech invites questions about computer technology to [email protected]. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually.