Toolbar extensions can be real timesavers. However, they can also be a real pain in the butt because they can contain hidden PUP adware, as in “potentially unwanted programs.”
According to PC Mag, a PUP is “[a]n application that is installed along with the desired application the user actually asked for. Also called a “barnacle,” in most cases, the PUP is spyware, adware or some other unwanted software. However, what makes spyware or adware a PUP rather than pure malware is the fact that the end user license agreement (EULA) does inform the user that this additional program is being installed. Considering hardly anyone ever reads the license agreement, the distinction is a subtle one.“ In my opinion, they should be called UPs…because “potentially” is a gross overstatement regarding most attitudes toward this adware.
Relax, relax…I don’t mean a virus or Trojan or anything like that (not that something of that nature is impossible — because we all know it isn’t). But those handy dandy extensions you have — which admittedly are convenient and productive — might just have some “extras” that you don’t know about.
I had an experience with the Visual Deals pop-up, which was PUP adware that was piggybacking on my Pinterest extension in my Chrome toolbar. But I got rid of it and all is right with the world. However, it occurred to me that Visual Deals can’t be the only PUP adware that is infiltrating people’s computers without their knowledge (if it were, then the folks who created Visual Deals would be bonafide geniuses).
So, let’s figure out how to get rid of this PUP adware so that your kitty (and you) can get back to stress-free surfing.
Of course, the cat (and you) might still be stressed out if you’re using this dinosaur, but that’s a whole different issue.
Are you seeing the Fun2Save pop-up? PUP adware.
Fun2Save is PUP adware that displays deals (and ads— yay!) that allegedly (I don’t know for certain) help you save money on items of interest to you. Wait a minute. How does it know what you’re interested in? Easy. It gathers your browsing data so that it can create those deals and ads that are tailor-made for you. It might seem tempting to click on them, since it appears to be directing you to a great deal, but the truth of the matter is that it can actually be directing you right into a trap.
If you do go down the Fun2Save rabbit hole of tempting deals, what’s to say you’re actually ending up on a secure and trustworthy website? Should you make a purchase, you’re providing your private information — and, of course, financial information — to a website that you don’t know anything about. No thanks.
So let’s get rid of this PUP adware. In Chrome, click on the Wrench icon or the 3-bar icon (it’s to the right of the address bar). Head to Tools and choose Extensions. Find Fun2Save and click on the Trash Can icon to kick that PUP adware to the curb.
If you use Internet Explorer, it’s simple. Click on the Gear icon (in I.E. 9 or 10) or Tools (in I.E. 8) and then select Manage add-ons. You will be taken to the Toolbars and Extensions tab. Right click on Fun2Save, then choose Disable. Done.
If you’re on Mozilla Firefox, click on Add-ons, go to the Extensions tab, find your Fun2Save PUP adware, and click Remove. Gone.
Whatever happens, don’t panic. Most of the time, you can figure this out on your own. And, it’s easily fixable. Don’t throw in the towel and take your computer into “the shop” (I don’t know what “shop” I’m talking about, but you know what I mean). You probably can get rid of whatever PUP adware has set up camp on your computer. And you likely do not need any type of tool or program to scan or clean your computer for you. I did it…so you can, too.
Do you have any of this PUP adware?
- Babylon Toolbar – because Babylon Toolbar is a tad different than your run-of-the-mill PUP adware, I wanted to be a little more in-depth.
The Babylon Toolbar is a web browser add-on that has translation features. It will likely be piggy-backing on another program, such as those you might find at the extremely popular Download.com, the download site (obviously) by CNET. If you don’t want Babylon Toolbar, however, you have to figure out how to get rid of it.
Try the steps outlined above, depending on the browser that you use. However, if you still have problems, I recommend you check out this discussion on MozillaZine. That has some tips that should resolve and lingering issues.
There’s another way to do this, if you happen to be using Windows. You can go into the Add and Remove Programs in your Control Panel. If you have not done this before (or are rusty), I’ll walk you through it. Click on Start, choose Control Panel, and go to Add and Remove Programs (if you’re still using Windows Vista or Windows 7, it’s called “Programs and Features”). Your installed programs will appear in a list; you just have to look for Babylon Toolbar, highlight it, and click “Uninstall.” You will be led through a series of directions to remove the Babylon Toolbar adware. Done.
Speaking of PUP adware, here are some more that you may have encountered — and want to get rid of (these are just examples…there are lots more out there and, if I had to hazard a guess, there will be more to come):
- Gorilla Price
- Secret Sauce
How to avoid/prevent PUP adware:
You can take some preventative measures that will help avoid the installation of adware and PUP adware on your computer. Keep in mind, these types of programs automatically install when you download extensions and software that you actually want, but some PUP adware installs itself on your computer, such as when you click on a malicious ad. You might be able to prevent most PUP adware, but don’t beat yourself up if you do find yourself with some PUP adware. It happens. Don’t beat yourself up over it. And for heaven’s sake, don’t do this:
1. You can help keep PUP adware at bay by looking closely at the check boxes in the set-up wizards when you download something online. Many of us are guilty of carelessly downloading/installing programs and not really reading what’s in those boxes on your screen. I know I’m guilty of it…so I’m much more vigilant now.
2. Choose “custom” installation rather than “typical” installation because the typical installation might bring have adware piggybacking on the program and the next thing you know, you’ve got PUP adware that will irritate you to no end.
3. Sometimes you have extensions that automatically update on their own — make it a habit to check our extensions on a regular basis and see if there are any “Options” listed. If there are, see what those Options are…they could be PUP adware that you didn’t even authorize. So, disable it and get back to looking at pictures of cats.
Be honest, you’re looking at cats. I am, too.