Knowing how to protect your safety, your identity – and your sanity – when you're online is increasingly difficult but to stand a better chance it's important to understand more about what adware is and specifically what ClearThink is.
In short, it is software that is installed on your PC without your permission. It monitors your browsing habits by looking at the types of websites you are regularly visiting and then displays adverts that say "ClearThink Ads" that are tailored to those sites. In other scenarios, you might be shown pages or ads that you have no interest in whatsoever – these are usually of a slightly dubious nature. Take a look at these examples:
This one says that he media content is not shown properly. It says that you need to update you media player. The truth is you don't need to update anything, especially some kind of media player. What scammers mean by saying media player remains unclear, perhaps Windows Media Player? Who knows.
And this one is a pure classic. Important message. Slow computer? Yeah sure. Don't install such crappy software it won't improve your system's performance.
ClearThink manifests itself normally as a pop-up window, although it can also take the form of links (URLs) or pop-under pages – pages which hide beneath the page you are currently looking at. If you think that this sounds annoying – you'd be right! And although it can be tempting to dismiss adware as an irritating yet innocuous phenomena, there are many strains of ClearThink adware who are less about the advertising and more about using the information gathered on you for more sinister purposes; for example they might gather your data and then sell it on to a third party. Some particularly nasty adware can even monitor the keys you're typing and collect this information, may it be search queries, recently visited websites, etc. In addition to this, it slows down your computer's processor and your Internet connection, due to the tracking software it is running on your PC.
It's actually very easy to tell if you have this adware installed on your computer:
- You are seeing a proliferation of pop-up adverts saying "ClearThink Ads" or "Ads by ClearThink"
- You're seeing pop-under windows – often advertising gaming or adult websites
- You notice a lot more advertising links to websites than previously
- Your PC is running a lot more slowly all of a sudden
- Your Internet connection seems a lot slower
How to protect yourself? You've heard it countless times, but don't open email attachments or links if you don't know the sender. You can also install pop-up blockers and a firewall on your PC and of course, download a good anti-malware program. And finally, don't download software from shady websites.
I've been infected – help! Run your anti-adware so it can find and remove infected programs. Then restart your computer and scan it again. Be careful because some adware is very difficult to remove so it might take a couple of tries. A good anti-virus should remove everything on your machine.
If you have questions, please leave a comment down below. I will be more than happy to help you. Good luck and be safe online!
Written by Michael Kaur, http://deletemalware.blogspot.com
ClearThink Removal Guide:
1. First of all, download anti-malware software and run a full system scan. It will detect and remove this infection from your computer. You may then follow the manual removal instructions below to remove the leftover traces of this malware. Hopefully you won't have to do that.
2. Remove ClearThink related programs from your computer using the Add/Remove Programs control panel (Windows XP) or Uninstall a program control panel (Windows 7 and Windows 8).
Go to the Start Menu. Select Control Panel → Add/Remove Programs.
If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7, select Control Panel → Uninstall a Program.
If you are using Windows 8, simply drag your mouse pointer to the right edge of the screen, select Search from the list and search for "control panel".
Or you can right-click on a bottom left hot corner (formerly known as the Start button) and select Control panel from there.
3. When the Add/Remove Programs or the Uninstall a Program screen is displayed, scroll through the list of currently installed programs and remove the following:
- and any other recently installed application
Simply select each application and click Remove. If you are using Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8, click Uninstall up near the top of that window. When you're done, please close the Control Panel screen.
Remove ClearThink related extensions from Google Chrome:
1. Click on Chrome menu button. Go to Tools → Extensions.
2. Click on the trashcan icon to remove ClearThink, LyricsSay-1, MediaPlayerV1, HD-Plus 3.5 and other extensions that you do not recognize.
If the removal option is grayed out then read how to remove extensions installed by enterprise policy.
Remove ClearThink related extensions from Mozilla Firefox:
1. Open Mozilla Firefox. Go to Tools → Add-ons.
2. Select Extensions. Click Remove button to remove ClearThink, LyricsSay-1, MediaPlayerV1, HD-Plus 3.5 and other extensions that you do not recognize.
Remove ClearThink related add-ons from Internet Explorer:
1. Open Internet Explorer. Go to Tools → Manage Add-ons. If you have the latest version, simply click on the Settings button.
2. Select Toolbars and Extensions. Click Remove/Disable button to remove the browser add-ons listed above.