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Posts Tagged ‘avast! Browser Cleanup’
July 9th, 2015

Top 10 most annoying browser toolbars

It usually happens after you download something free. You go back online and your browser suddenly looks unfamiliar. There’s new buttons and weird icons in the place of what you used to have. A strange search page from a company you have never heard has taken the place of your homepage.

How did I get that annoying toolbar?

 

Avast Browser Cleanup removes annoying toolbars

You have inadvertently downloaded a browser toolbar that came bundled with other software.

Free programs, like Adobe Reader, often include add-ons like toolbars or browser extensions. Most of the time, during the installation of the software, an opt-out option will be presented for the add-on. But, lots of people click through without reading, and when they’re finished they discover they have downloaded something they didn’t intend to.

To keep this from happening in the first place, slow down and read the screens. You could save yourself lots of time and headaches if you do.

Read more…

July 7th, 2015

Avast Browser Cleanup removes unwanted browser add-ons

Most Internet users are familiar with this problem all too well: After downloading a video player, Java, Flash updates or other software, the browser has suddenly changed. New buttons and icons in all colors and sizes along with an URL entry bar take up valuable real estate on your browser. The browser runs noticeably slower – and the results look different. Most annoying is that the advertising becomes more prominent.

Our free utility gets rid of annoying toolbars and restores hijacked searches.

Over the past two years, Avast Browser Cleanup has identified more than 60 million different browser add-ons which are often bundled with other free software, such as video players, Java and Flash updates. These toolbars typically occupy the horizontal space below a user’s browser and can include buttons, icons, and menus. Despite removing and re-installing a browser, toolbars will often remain, which is a behavior similar to malware.

Read more…

March 20th, 2014

How to remove nuisance browser toolbars?

Avast Browser Cleanup infographicQuestion of the week: “How do I get this stupid Sweetpacks off my computer? It’s driving me crazy!”

This question didn’t come from an AVAST email, a support ticket, or even our Facebook page. It came directly from my mother as we were talking on the phone one day. Believe me, when you work for a security software company, you better have an answer for your mother! Thankfully, I do.

You can remove annoying toolbars with Avast Browser Cleanup.

Most toolbars and smiley things are unnecessary and may even cause slowdowns or unexpected crashes. Technically, toolbars are not a threat so most antivirus products won’t flag them as potentially malicious, but since they are annoying and unwanted, you can use Avast Browser Cleanup to activate/deactivate installed toolbars.

Open the Avast Antivirus dashboard, and click on the tools icon (it looks like a wrench and screwdriver). Open Browser Cleanup and click start. It will scan for toolbars with a bad reputation and give you the option to remove them.

Avast Browser Cleanup  removes unwanted toolbars from Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox ,and Internet Explorer. It is integrated in all Avast antivirus security products, and is also available as a stand-alone product on various download portals for use by friends without avast! installed.

Heavy duty browser cleaning

Since the Avast Browser Cleanup tool was launched in February 2013, it has removed 125 million unwanted toolbars from Avast users’ computers. That’s more than 10 million toolbars zapped each month.

Toolbars typically inhabit the horizontal space below your browser and include buttons, icons, and menus that give you an easy way to select functions on the desktop, in applications or the browser. In some cases, they can be quite useful, but Avast users have rated only 4.2% of toolbars as “good” or “useful.”

Avast Browser Cleanup has identified 10 million different toolbars in the database, and Avast users have rated most of those as “bad.” The Sweetpacks toolbar, and millions like it, received that rating because they change your home page and search engine into their own. Toolbars often install a hidden background program for “updates,” but it really prevents you from resetting your homepage and search engine back to the ones of your choice. Worse yet, this service makes sure that the toolbar gets reinstalled if you try to remove it.

Dirty tricks

Our infographic shows you which toolbars Avast users have rated the top “bad” ones and the  companies that supply them. You may notice that some vendors show up more than once with a different product. Renaming products is a shady practice used to trick people.

“Roughly 7 million out of the 10.2 million toolbars in our database are polymorphic – which means they have a varying and almost unreadable name,” said Thomas Salomon, head of Avast Software’s German Software Development team. “Companies use this naming strategy to confuse people, and make it difficult to remove the annoying toolbars.”

You can see some of the variants in a previous blog post.

Another dirty trick vendors use is to name a toolbar after a well-known and respected product – kind of a smoke-and-mirrors approach.

“For a couple of months now, the vendors of annoying toolbars have been using another dirty trick: They name their own bad add-ons with the good name of well-rated and useful add-ons and thus use this good reputation to ‘hide’ their own crap,” explains Salomon.

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June 11th, 2013

Browser Toolbars – almost malware?

annoying toolbars

Avast Browser Cleanup can get rid of annoying toolbars

by Thomas Salomon, head of AVAST Software’s German Software Development team

In a previous blog post we wrote about the statistics from Avast Browser Cleanup. These statistics have become even worse:

  • More than 1,000,000 (one million!) browser add-ons are available for the three main browsers
  • More than 82% of all add-ons have a bad or very bad rating from our user community
  • Two thirds of all add-ons in our database are from only three companies
  • We see around 30,000 new add-ons per day of which 90% have a bad or very bad rating

As we can easily see the numbers are still rising. It’s now time to share some more details about the bad add-ons we’ve noticed so far. Read more…