In the online industry, the word ‘free’ doesn’t mean you’re getting service without paying anything. Of course, you may not incur any financial deductions but you eventually lose something of value in exchange for the ‘free’ service. Therefore, you mustn’t be quick to trust any software offered for free as there is a lot of underhand T&Cs you may miss. However, most unsuspecting users fall for the word and end up with dubious programs such as Freemium.
Freemium is a software program that is designed to generate revenue for its developers. The program can take over one’s browser, control what is shown to the affected user, and perform endless redirects to sponsored ads. Moreover, this dubious software can configure system settings, change the default search engine, as well as the start page before blocking trusted search engines. With everything that it does, it is not surprising why most trusted security software identifies Freemium as a browser hijacker.
What Freemium Ads Do?
Once your system gets affected by Freemium ads, you may see altered search results. Also, you can experience annoying pop-up ads when surfing the internet.
In addition, the Conduit browser hijacker is forced upon affected users in place of the default home page. This is a well-known URL for performing endless redirects to insecure sites and monitoring user’s activities.
Freemium also collects user’s data and shares it with third-parties, including cybercriminals. The data collected can be damaging to one’s profile as it includes sensitive information, such as banking details, sites visited, IP address, search terms, and geolocation. Once the data has been collected and shared, the victim may start to see related ads when they start their browsing session.
Apart from the dangers that Freemium ads software inflict on your system, it also has negative effects on your computer’s security. It weakens the system as it manages to access the registry and system files. Therefore, its presence can also mean your computer has been infected by virus malware. Constant visits to insecure sites can also lead to virus infection.
You may be wondering how you obtained Freemium ads software. Well, this sort of dubious software uses various tricks to get installed in your system without being noticed. One of the most effective malware distribution methods includes software bundling.
Software bundling allows developers to attach dubious programs on freeware installation files. The attached setup files are then set to execute when the user selects the Express or Recommended installation process.
Because many unsuspecting users don’t like to monitor the installation of programs, they unknowingly install programs that usually carry additional installers. These programs include PDF Creators, streaming apps, or download managers.
But the good news is that this can be avoided by selecting the Custom or Advanced installation method which gives the flexibility to uncheck the option that allows the installation of Freemium and other dubious apps.
How to Get Rid of Freemium Ads?
Although Freemium software can be a pain with annoying ads and browser hijacking traits, an average computer user can easily remove it. You just need to follow our guide and you will free your system from the Freemium virus.
Take note that once you start experiencing Freemium ads, you should act fast to remove them as it can also cause system lags and crashes. This is due to its ability to run several processes in the background without the user’s knowledge. These processes, such as crypto miners, can go further to damage system components by demanding too much computer resources.
Therefore, we advise getting rid of this browser hijacker before it does a lot of harm, such as the loss of money and important files. The removal process can be quite complicated, especially if the malware has been running in the system for some time. To ensure its removal is permanent and thorough, we have compiled several solutions below.
How to Remove Freemium Ads?
The solutions below can help you get rid of Freemium ads and preserve your system’s health. Note that there are some changes that you will have to make to your browsing behavior once you remove this malware to ensure you don’t end up with the same malicious entity in the future. These changes include the following:
- Install a trusted anti-malware security suite that can run in the background and provide real-time protection.
- Visit secure sites and reputable platforms.
- Download content from verified distributors or official sites.
- Always select the Custom or Advanced installation process when installing freeware.
- Use a VPN when surfing the internet, especially when using an insecure or public network connection.
Now that you know how to keep safe against malware online, it’s time to remove the annoying Freemium ads and get back to productive browsing sessions.
Solution #1: Remove Freemium Ads from the Computer
In most cases, browser hijackers block users from accessing browser settings. Therefore, to bypass the block, you must first remove all programs related to Freemium ads.
- Press the Windows key, and then type Control Panel before hitting the Enter key.
- Now, select the Programs and Features category, and then go through the list of installed programs to identify the ones related to Freemium ads.
- Once spotted, click on the culprit and hit the Uninstall button at the top.
- Repeat the same process to all suspicious programs that you don’t recognize or were installed during the infection period.
- When done, close the window and move to the next solution.
Solution #2: Remove Freemium Ads from the Browser
Now that you have broken the barrier, you can move on to the browser and get rid of Freemium ads. Here is how you can do it:
- Access Google Chrome and click on the 3 dots icon to reveal the drop-down menu.
- Select Settings before clicking on Search engine.
- Now, choose Manage search engine, and then pick Google as your default search engine.
- Go through the list of available search engines and remove suspicious ones.
- Head back to the Settings menu on the left pane. Select Extensions and a new tab will open.
- Now, go through the installed extensions and remove all that are related to Freemium ads or don’t remember using or installing them.
- You can check the information of an extension by clicking on the Details button. To get rid of the extension, click on the Remove button under it.
- When done, close the tab and go back to the Settings tab. This time, select the Advanced option to expand.
- Click on Reset and clean up before selecting Restore settings to their original defaults.
- Confirm the action by selecting the Reset Settings button.
- When done, close the browser and move on to the next solution.
Solution #3: Remove Freemium Ads Using Anti-Malware Tool
At this point, you’re probably sure that all malware has been taken care of. However, professional help is what you need to polish your work. Download and install a recommended anti-malware security software. Launch the program and perform a full system scan to detect any other malware, potentially unwanted programs, viruses, or Trojans that you may have missed. Once detected, select the option to Quarantine or Remove flagged content from the system.
Solution #4: Run System File Checker to Fix Corrupt Files
System File Checker (SFC) is a built-in MS Windows utility that can check and repair system file issues. Using this utility, you can fix any system file that the malware tampered with that has led to crashes and freezing.
- Press Windows + R keys simultaneously, and then type cmd. Hit the Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys, and then select Yes to give administrator privileges when prompted by UAC.
- Inside the Administrator: Command Prompt window, insert sfc /scannow, and hit the Enter button.
- Wait for the process to finish and then restart the computer for the changes to take effect.
Waiting for attacks to happen is one way of risking your PC’s health. It’s better to perform preventive measures and avoid constant visits to insecure websites. You can also improve your protection by installing a reliable and reputable anti-malware security software. Moreover, practice safety measures when surfing the internet and use a VPN if connected to an insecure network.