For the past few years, adware has been one of the biggest cybersecurity threats in the digital world. In fact, it became much more aggressive last year, heavily targeting businesses and consumers using Windows, Mac, and Android devices. There were around 24 million Windows adware detections and 30 million Mac detections, according to Malwarebytes’ report.
What makes adware so widespread is that users don’t actually consider it as harmful as the other types of malware. And most of those whose computers have been infected are actually not aware of the presence of adware. When they see a lot of ads on their browsers, they just shrug them off as ads being displayed by the website they are visiting.
Unfortunately, most people are actually underestimating the consequences of being infected by adware. Adware, by itself, may not be as dangerous as other malware, like Trojans and ransomware. However, its danger lies in its ability to redirect the affected users to potentially dangerous websites.
One of the most popular adware right now is Turbostream, a browser redirect that tricks users into subscribing to its push notifications to be able to deliver unwanted and annoying advertising on the affected computer. It basically works just like other malware, but this adware uses multiple domains to proliferate the malicious software.
If you think your device or computer has been infected by the Turbostream malware, this article should help you understand what this adware does to your system and how it got in in the first place. We’ll also show you the step-by-step Turbostream removal instructions.
What is Turbostream?
Turbostream is adware distributed by malicious pop-up notifications that try to scam users into subscribing to its push notifications so that the adware can deliver unwanted advertisements straight to the victim’s computer. These notifications appear when you visit any of the Turbostream designed for the distribution of the malware. Here are some of the URLs where the Turbostream pop-ups can be found:
As the website name suggests, these websites pose as fake streaming websites to lure users who want to access free movies. When you visit any of these websites, a message will immediately pop up, asking you to subscribe to all notifications from the website. It may look harmless, since a lot of websites do this to make it easier for users to be notified of new content or the latest updates on the website, but this Turbostream notification message functions differently from other websites’ notifications.
Here is the pop-up message that you will usually encounter:
Turbostream.club wants to Show notifications
Please Press Allow to Continue Watch!
The message is the same for all the URLs listed above. If you click the Allow button, you will eventually be bombarded by unwanted pop-up advertisements from Turbostream on your browser, even when you’re no longer on that website or sometimes, even when the browser is closed.
Clicking the Allow button will give the adware opportunity to install itself on your computer, add an extension to your browser, modify your browser settings, and spam your web browser with unwanted ads. You will also need to manually remove the permission you granted.
This Turbostream adware is composed of a network of rogue websites that works in the same way as many other adware-type malware and sites. When you check out the URLs listed above, you’ll find that there really isn’t any useful content on the website. You’ll only see a black square that looks like a media player before everything is grayed out and the notification pops up. Click the Allow button won’t load any real content from the website. Instead, you’ll be redirected to other websites where annoying ads are hosted. Clicking the Block button will also result in the same result. This means that the adware download will be triggered no matter what button you click. As long as you click anywhere in the pop-up message, the malware will be downloaded to your website nonetheless.
The Turbostream website was only created to trigger notification subscription forms, as well as enable additional material from sponsored pages and other advertisers. These websites all are managed by PUP developers and advertisers, and they are usually designed in the same way as Pushtoday.icu, Nextyourcontent.com, Solo84.biz, Eztv.io, and utorrentie.exe.
Turbostream is designed based on social engineering techniques, so pop-ups, notifications, ads, and other content shown by this adware can also trigger various types of additional content. Turbostream is not actually a vicious malware because all it does is display ads. But aside from the annoying redirects that repeat over and over again, visiting these websites can also expose your device to more harmful malware.
How Is Turbostream Being Distributed?
The most common methods of malware distribution is through deceptive website advertisements. You might have clicked on an ad somewhere that promotes the Turbostream website, redirecting you to the malicious website. Most of these ads are sponsored and targeted. Once you click the ad, you will be sent to any of the Turbostream URLs that we mentioned earlier.
Another popular distribution method is through app bundling. This is usually the case when you download freeware or those small apps that are free to use. Popular examples of freeware include file converters, file downloaders, torrent clients, file managers, system cleaners, free templates, and other free utilities. Don’t you ever wonder how they make money? They get paid by third parties to include the malicious app in their installer package.
When you install the freeware on your computer, you’re usually given two options: Quick install or Custom Install. Most users don’t want the hassle of going through everything just to install an mp3 converter or a YouTube downloader, so they often choose the Quick Install option. What they do not know is that the Quick Install process includes the automatic installation of the bundled malware. If you choose the Custom Install, you’ll be able to see every step of the installation process, including the malware’s attempt to install itself together with the app you downloaded.
Aside from bundling and sponsored ads, Turbostream is also distributed via phishing. Scam emails with links to Turbostream are often disguised as invoice emails, security alerts, software updates, or other types of phishing emails. When you click on the link, you will be directly sent to the Turbostream website.
What Does Turbostream Do?
When you visit any of the Turbostream websites, the first thing you see is a page that looks like a streaming website, complete with a fake media player. But all of these are fake. The media player is not even showing anything and just looks like a black box. Before you can do anything on the website, a message will pop up, asking you to allow the notifications on the website so that you can continue streaming. But whatever option you choose, the adware will still be downloaded on your website. You’ll then be redirected to various websites while showing lots of advertisements.
Here are some of the indications that your computer has been infiltrated by the Turbostream malware:
- Your web browser’s homepage has been inexplicably changed without your approval. If you check the new homepage, you’ll find that the URL is one of the Turbostream websites listed above.
- Advertisements appear frequently. The ads are no longer limited to the Turbostream website, but on other websites as well. In worse instances, the ads appear even when the browser is closed.
- When you click on links on other websites, you will be redirected to websites that are different from what you anticipated. This is because Turbostream turns normal words and phrases into hyperlinks and links them to their ads. So what you see are not actually links, but ads delivered by the malware.
- Some websites that you usually visit may not load properly because of the adware. This is because the malware messes with the layout of the webpages, as well as the content.
- Other apps are mysteriously installed on your computer.
Browser redirects and the presence of intrusive ads are the most common telltale signs of adware infection. Some adware may also come with a potentially unwanted program (PUP) that aids in the operation of the malicious software. Aside from these functions, most adware apps collect the victim’s personal information, such as browsing history, search queries, purchasing behavior, and other data that will help them deliver more targeted advertisements.
But what makes Turbostream risky is when it redirects you to external websites that might host dangerous malware, including ransomware and Trojans.
How to Remove Turbostream
Turbostream adware may be less dangerous compared to other malware types, but you still need to remove it from your computer as soon as possible. Even if you can stand the annoying ads, you have to consider the danger posed by the redirects and the data collection being undertaken by Turbostream.
However, getting rid of the Turbostream is easier said than done. You have to make sure that all components are deleted to make sure that it doesn’t come back. If you want to remove this adware from your computer, you need to follow our Turbostream removal instructions below:
Step 1: Quit All Turbostream Processes.
The first thing you need to do is to kill all processes associated with the adware. If you just try to uninstall the PUP or change back your browser’s default, you won’t be able to do it successfully and the changes will not be implemented. You need to quit all Turbostream processes via Task Manager by following the instructions below:
- Right-click on any empty part of the Taskbar, then choose Task Manager from the right-click menu.
- Under the Processes tab, look for any entry with Turbostream in the name.
- Click on the suspicious process, then click the End Process button.
- Do the steps above for all suspicious processes in Task Manager.
Step 2: Uninstall the Turbostream PUP.
If the adware came with a potentially unwanted program, or if you noticed some apps that were mysteriously installed on your computer, you need to uninstall them from your computer. To do this, just go to Setting > Apps > Apps & features, then look for the PUP or suspicious apps. Click Uninstall to remove it from your device. Continue with uninstalling the apps until all of the suspicious apps have been uninstalled.
Step 3: Scan For Leftover Files.
Once you have uninstalled the apps, use your anti-malware program to scan your computer for all infected files and delete them from your computer. Make it a habit to run a scan on a regular basis to make sure no malware gets past your security.
Step 4: Undo the Changes to Your Browser.
The next step is to finally revert the changes that the adware has done to your browser. You need to check your Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Safari browser for any changes made by the adware and follow the steps below to undo them.
Here are the steps on how to undo the changes on Chrome:
- Uninstall the Turbostream extension by going to menu > More Tools > Extensions. Click the Remove button on the extension that you want to uninstall.
- Go to menu > Settings > Search engine, then set the default search engine by clicking the dropdown beside Search engine used in the address bar.
- Click Appearance on the left menu, then set the New Tab page and Homepage.
- If you prefer to reset everything, Click Advanced and scroll down to the Reset settings section. Click on Restore settings to their original defaults > Reset settings.
The steps are basically the same for the other browsers, except for some minor differences. All you need to do is go to the settings section and find the component you wish to edit.
Getting rid of the Turbostream adware can be a bit troublesome because you need to be thorough in the removal process. However, you’ll find that the process is less complicated when you follow our instructions above.