It has to be said, in favor of PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) that they don't steal your data, they won't plunder your bank account or rack up a hideous bill on your credit card, they don't take creepy screen shots or log the keys that you type and they don't corrupt your files and hold them to ransom like most ransomware do – so what do they do? And why does the question often arise: is PUP.Optional.Winsock.Hijack malware?
What is PUP.Optional.Winsock.Hijack?
A PUP is so called – i.e. potentially unwanted – thanks to the program's manner of installing itself and its unique characteristics. It goes without saying that this is a program. However why might it be unwanted? That's because PUPs actually do have a use: for the most part they are toolbars and browsers or home pages. So far, so good – so who might not want this new search option? Well most of us really. Any toolbar or browser that a PUP installs will replace your existing one and let's face it – a toolbar created by someone who uses underhand methods to sneak it onto your PC is probably not going to have Google shaking in their boots with their rival offering. This particular variant called PUP.Optional.Winsock.Hijack is a part of a browser hijacker that modifies Internet settings and can redirect you to ad-riddled websites. It probably won't install a toolbar but change your browser's settings.
Your new start page or home page will be confusing – just by the very fact that you were used to your old one. And it won't have nearly the same level of functionality. But does this make it malware? Well no, it doesn't. Genuine malware exhibits truly harmful behavior - Potentially Unwanted Programs like PUP.Optional.Winsock.Hijack are for the most part, just annoying. And that is why they are only 'potentially' unwanted.
However, you might not be quite so ambivalent about your new program when you realize that it takes great joy in redirecting all of your Internet searches to websites that the PUP's creator or owner wants you to visit – whether you like it or not. Picture it, you need to book a last minute flight to attend an urgent business meeting in another state, or to visit a sick friend or family member, but every time you enter the name or URL of your favorite discount flight provider, you're redirected to a gambling website. Frustrating – and ultimately problematic.
A thin line between malware and... not malware
Okay, so PUP.Optional.Winsock.Hijack might not be as destructive as a malware program that has been designed to capture your online bank details and who knows but how comfortable are you with having something installed on your computer that used guerrilla tactics to get there in the first place?
Most anti-virus programs will allow you to choose what to do with this program, either keep it or get rid of it. I suggest you to remove PUP.Optional.Winsock.Hijack from your computer and run a full system scan with anti-malware software. Most of the time, it comes bundled with adware and even spyware. So, it might be not the only nuisance installed on your computer. If you have any questions, please leave a comment down below. Good luck and be safe online!
Written by Michael Kaur, http://deletemalware.blogspot.com
PUP.Optional.Winsock.Hijack 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 PUP.Optional.Winsock.Hijack 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 PUP.Optional.Winsock.Hijack related extensions from Google Chrome:
1. Click on Chrome menu button. Go to Tools → Extensions.
2. Click on the trashcan icon to remove GoSave, deals4me, 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 PUP.Optional.Winsock.Hijack related extensions from Mozilla Firefox:
1. Open Mozilla Firefox. Go to Tools → Add-ons.
2. Select Extensions. Click Remove button to remove GoSave, deals4me, MediaPlayerV1, HD-Plus 3.5 and other extensions that you do not recognize.
Remove PUP.Optional.Winsock.Hijack 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.