Did you know that simply by being online you could be endangering your computer, your data, your bank account – and your sanity? Just by being connected to the Internet – no matter how reputable the websites you visit and the programs or apps that you download – you are leaving your computer open to infection by malware.
Here's an example of Ziftr Ads inserted just above the organic Google search results. As you can see, it takes your search query and creates a few results with links that will take you to websites filled with ads.
It is a computer program which installs a component onto your PC or laptop. Once installed, it adds a malicious web browser extension. This component has been designed to show you "Ads by Ziftr" which are more often than not tailored towards your interests, or at least to products or services that you have recently been browsing online. But guerrilla marketing tactics aside, it can actually cause you issues too. More of that in a moment, the question you're probably wanting the answer to first is how the adverts are customized to show you specific things.
How does Ziftr know which adverts to show me?
It's all down to that component we mentioned earlier. This is a tracking program which has been designed to monitor the websites you visit and record which pages and products you are looking at. This data is stored and then sent back to the adware's programmer – who uses the intel to decide which adverts you will see from now on. Harmful? Not really. An invasion of your privacy? You decide.
What issues can Ziftr create?
It can cause a number of problems. Because the component is working hard to track your every move, it is taking up your PC's valuable resources and will result in your computer running more slowly than usual. It can also interact with any other programs that are installed on your machine, affecting their operation and potentially causing instability and breaches of security. And because the component is using your Internet to transmit the data it has compiled on you it can also slow your connection down and make web pages slow to load and crash. And of course, it will display lots of ads by Ziftr on your computer and pop-up windows that can redirect you to sketchy websites.
Reducing the risk of being infected by malware
There are a few ways to lower the chances of being infected by Ziftr malware. Here are a few basic steps you should take if you don't want to be spied upon and you want your computer to run at its peak performance.
- If you have any misgivings about the reputation of a website, don't download software from it. Try and download direct from the producer and avoid third party download sites.
- Use pop-up blockers when your browser gives you the option.
- Ensure the anti-virus software you have running on your machine is up to date and that you run it regularly. Some anti-viruses let Ziftr slip through the net but a decent one should catch most unwanted programs.
- Also make sure that any other programs, software or applications you have installed on your computer are completely up to date. The more up to date programs are, the more current the security is – and the safer you are.
Written by Michael Kaur, http://deletemalware.blogspot.com
Ziftr Ads 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 Ziftr 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 Ziftr related extensions from Google Chrome:
1. Click on Chrome menu button. Go to Tools → Extensions.
2. Click on the trashcan icon to remove Ziftr, MediaPlayerV1, Gosave, 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 Ziftr related extensions from Mozilla Firefox:
1. Open Mozilla Firefox. Go to Tools → Add-ons.
2. Select Extensions. Click Remove button to remove Ziftr, Gosave, MediaPlayerV1, HD-Plus 3.5 and other extensions that you do not recognize.
Remove Ziftr 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.