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How do I get rid of this advertising popup that keeps coming back?

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I use Windows Vista and my browser is IE9. I have an annoying window that pops up whenever I search for a website. It briefly comes up as (and there’s a domain name here) and then morphs into a window that seems to correspond with a website I searched for and selected. It’s typically advice that I’ve won a prize of some sort. I’ve tried many ways to remove this issue: malware removal, pop-up blocker, and full virus scan. The full virus scan got rid of it briefly but it returned very quickly. How can I get rid of this problem?

The fact that the virus scan fixed this problem at least for a little while tells me a lot. This sounds like a browser hijack.

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What’s a browser hijack?

A browser hijack is a type of malware that infects your system. Once downloaded, it waits until you do an internet search; when it sees a page with search results, it updates the results with its own links to advertisements or other websites. No matter what you click on, you see what the malware wants to show you.

If you’re just getting pop-up advertisements, consider yourself lucky. Sometimes, people get redirected to more damaging stuff.

So how do you deal with it?

Fixing browser hijacks

You definitely want to treat this as malware. My first suggestion would be to make sure you’re running up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware scans.

It sounds like whatever tool that you’re using worked once before, but I would also consider running Malwarebytes, a free tool available for download at malwarebytes.org. In my experience, Malwarebytes does a good job of catching things that other anti-malware packages sometimes miss.

Once the malware is gone, you want to think about how this happened so it doesn’t come back.

Where is the malware coming from?

If your anti-malware tools removed the malware, but this browser hijack keeps coming back, then you might be doing something to invite it back on to your system. For instance, a browser hijack may happen to someone because they’re:

  • Downloading files or visiting sites that they shouldn’t be.
  • Turning off their real-time anti-malware protection.
  • Using lower quality anti-malware software.

There are many possibilities.

This kind of hack could also happen indirectly. For example, you may visit a website that’s been hacked; it looks fine, but some hacker modified it surreptitiously so it actually downloads malware on your machine.

A website hack is something that most website owners (like me) fear because hackers can target just about any website. It could be a site that you know and trust or one that you’ve simply used for a long time. Although website owners and moderators take steps to prevent these attacks, hacks still happen every now and then. Once a site is hacked and you visit, it’s likely that your machine may be infected.

It’s no one’s fault – not yours or that of the site.

Nonetheless, you still get the malware.

What do I do if problems return?

After you’ve taken the malware off of your computer, my first suggestion is to watch what you’re doing.

If you aren’t doing the things that I’ve bulleted above but your browser is still being hijacked, then you want to keep a careful watch. Track which sites you visit and what you do between the time that the malware was removed and when the browser hijack reappears.

As always, the key to preventing problems like this is vigilance and good anti-malware software that’s up-to-date.  Watch what you do and it’s likely that your browser won’t by hijacked by this malware anymore.

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Leo

Posted: April 27, 2013 in: Hacks, Hacking and Hacked Accounts
Shortlink: https://askleo.com/3522
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I'm Leo Notenboom and I've been playing with computers since I took a required programming class in 1976. I spent over 18 years as a software engineer at Microsoft, and after "retiring" in 2001 I started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place to help you find answers and become more confident using this amazing technology at our fingertips. More about Leo.

11 comments on “How do I get rid of this advertising popup that keeps coming back?”

  1. My browser has been hijacked, ads popup under highlighted words. I ran Malwarebytes but it was unable to find it, even after updating before I ran the pgm. Are there any alternatives ?

    Reply
  2. No matter what I do, this computer “guru” keeps popping up wanting to talk live. I just KNOW this is an expensive alternative.
    I just want to prevent this site from hacking my browser page (or any other site).

    Reply
  3. i am using wifi connection for my mobile while using browser if i click any link to read it automatically opens adsmatte.com link and i couldnt read what i want since i face this problem while using my wifi and not on my mobile data connection couldnt rectify this problem

    Reply
  4. I keep getting a pop up that completely takes me away from youtube called slickcart.net. I used malwarebytes and restored my computer but nothing seems to work.

    Reply
  5. dear Leo,
    Thank you for this amazing site where I as a near pensioner can learn through reading comments and solutions,
    I have an iPad Air, gifted by my family as an aid to help me while I recover from a horrible cancer surgery called , eosophagogastrectomy,,, removal of large part of my stomach and my gullet caused by constant acid burning my organs for most of my life, I never had computing at school in my generation so I pretty much learn through any help I can get and being almost housebound I watch lots of movies and look at lots of animal you tube clips and anything to do with health but often find annoying adverts but now I’m finding that when I try to look at almost anything I get redirected to the Apple Store or a little box centres on the page saying I have been selected to win so and so and the only way I can move on is if I click the ok button which takes me to places I don’t want,,,,I have two wee grandsons aged a year and a half who play children’s stuff and it frightens me that these redirects might happen while they are using the iPad,,,,I’m always with them but the redirects are so fast that I can’t stop them,,,,,your advice would be gratefully received,,
    Sincerely
    Hopeful

    Reply
    • That kind of pop-up generally comes from a website you are visiting, so the way to stop that would be to stop visiting the offending website. That kind of thing can also come from malware. Malware is less common on Apple products, but it does exist.

      Reply

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