01-19-2014 10:31 AM
I'm running Norton 360 and using Chrome as a web browser. The browser displays search results from RocketTab and banner ads from jollywallet. How can I remove these, and is there a way I can change my Norton settings to avoid malware like this from taking root in the first place?
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01-19-2014 10:59 AM - edited 01-19-2014 11:11 AM
Hi, Tavis; welcome to our community!
Technically, these aren't really malware (they don't damage your system or steal your stuff), but rather "Potentially Unwanted Programs" or Applications ("PUPs" or "PUAs"). They usually end up on your system because some company whose software you wanted to install, or whose website you wanted to access got paid to bundle them with its own offerings--usually in a way that makes you uncheck a box buried in page after page of screens most of us just click on through during installation. This creates what the companies can argue is a legitimate commercial transaction, for which they're legally entitled to get what they paid for (installation on anyone's computer who didn't notice that little box to uncheck it).
Because they aren't explicitly malicious--and because, supposedly, some users actually want them (I've never met one of these users!)--Norton focuses on protecting you from the programs that are actually dangerous--things like Cryptolocker, which encrypts all your data until you pay a ransom for the password to get it back.
Of course that doesn't stop them from being incredibly annoying.
Fortunately, there are other reputable programs for whom PUPs and PUAs are more of a focus. These programs may not do as good a job as Norton of keeping the really nasty stuff off your system, but they will remove those annoyances. Whichever you choose, use the free version only; do not purchase or accept a free trial of the full product, which (like Norton) contains real-time scanning functionality. Having two such programs installed on the same machine causes serious problems and, paradoxically reduces your security. But the free versions omit those functions, and so make a good "wingman" for your Norton:
Malwarebytes FREE: http://downloads.malwarebytes.org/mbam-download.ph
SuperAntiSpyware FREE: http://www.superantispyware.com/downloadfile.html?
Good luck, and please let us know how it goes. You will want to do some follow-up--like running the program again in a few days--because sometimes these programs can be symptoms of infection by something far more serious, that has subverted the operating system deeply enough to hide from security software. What you would see under those circumstances would be what would look like recurring infections with little annoying stuff...while the real nasty did its dirty work in the background. So if the infection "kept coming back," we would want to refer you to a specialized forum, where a credentialed malware removal expert would work with you one-on-one to pull the stuff out by its roots.
Keep us posted; we'll be here!