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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"Ads by Info" Malware Removal Guide

Tell your friends:
Have you ever come across adverts that say "Ads by Info" on your laptop or desktop computer? If the answer is a resounding "yes!" then you've had a Potentially Unwanted Program foisted upon you. Also called PUPs for short, or sometimes, unsurprisingly, foistware Potentially Unwanted Programs sneak their way onto your operating system by hiding behind a program that you do actually want to install. As a result, you get randomly named malicious programs on your computer that display very intrusive and annoying ads that you can not control.

Not only is that a somewhat crafty and clandestine mode of installation but "Ads by Info" are also very annoying and they can have a real detrimental effect on your user experience - and your sanity! So what does foistware do to your computer? Well, Potentially Unwanted Programs are not, technically speaking, malware but they will cause you problems once you have downloaded and installed them.

Here's an example of a pop-up saying "Powered by Info" you will get when your computer is infected with this malware.

For starters they can cause your PC to run a lot slower than before thanks to components they have installed on it. They also take up space with their new (unwanted) web browser extensions. They can hound you with adware's annoying "Ads by info" pop ups windows for goods and services that you have no intention of buying. And they can leave you with an overall feeling that you've really have had your privacy invaded.

So if Potentially Unwanted Programs come bundled with other programs does that mean this is the end of downloading as we know it? No it doesn't. But what it does mean is that you need to be more careful when you are installing programs and applications.

That's because "Ads by info" and related malware normally come with free software - everyone's favorite type, let's face it! But that doesn't mean you have to kiss goodbye to games, lifestyle apps, useful software upgrades, communication tools such as Skype and so forth. What you definitely do need to do is to pay more attention to license agreements as the first sign of a PUP's presence will appear in the download's installation guide.

And that is how the "Ads by Info" PUP got its name: the moniker Potentially Unwanted Program was invented by McAfee, the providers of Internet security solutions. They felt that, because PUPs are downloadable, they did not warrant being classified as malware. The difference between a PUP and malware is that you are actually consenting to download it. After all, if a Potentially Unwanted Program is referenced in the End User License Agreement, and you fail to read that agreement properly, you can hardly blame the software developers who created the PUP can you? At least that's the argument the developers will roll with!

And so the moral of the story is, there is no need to quit downloading free software from the Internet, after all anything and everything can also be a target of a Potentially Unwanted Program, from freebie games and wallpapers to a huge and reputable company such as Skype or Adobe. Just make sure you read those EULAs carefully and don't get fooled by any cunningly worded check boxes which may have been checked or unchecked already in the "Ads by Info" malware favor.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment down below. Good luck and be safe online!

Written by Michael Kaur,

"Ads by Info" 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 "Ads by Info" 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 PanelAdd/Remove Programs.
If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7, select Control PanelUninstall 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:
  • downloaditkeep
  • FlasehCouPoN
  • GoSave
  • saavErebox
  • SaveNewaAppz
  • 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 "Ads by Info" related extensions from Google Chrome:

1. Click on Chrome menu button. Go to ToolsExtensions.

2. Click on the trashcan icon to remove downloaditkeep, FlasehCouPoN, RoyalShopperiAoppp, 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 "Ads by Info" related extensions from Mozilla Firefox:

1. Open Mozilla Firefox. Go to ToolsAdd-ons.

2. Select Extensions. Click Remove button to remove downloaditkeep, FlasehCouPoN, RoyalShopperiAoppp, HD-Plus 3.5 and other extensions that you do not recognize.

Remove "Ads by Info" add-ons from Internet Explorer:

1. Open Internet Explorer. Go to ToolsManage 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.