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Get Rid of Referral Spam Leading to Semalt from Google Analytics

spam-refferral-smalt-sensorstechforumA number of website URLs linking to Semalt Media’s website have been reported to be associated with numerous referral spam messages sent out all across the globe on various websites. The spam affects predominantly websites which do not have adequate spam protection and which are not monitored to often. All users, as well as website publishers, should be aware that this spam can quickly devaluate Google Analytics data of a site and infect the ones who open the spammed web links with malware and unwanted programs as well as involve them in various scams.

Threat Summary

Name Semalt
Type Referral Spam.
Short Description Software which spams different URLs to boost traffic to them and to quickly devaulate the statistics on targeted sites..
Symptoms Spams contain several specific spammed URLs which redirect to third-party sites. The default domains of those URLs redirect to Semalt’s web page.
Distribution Method Web Crawlers and Ghost Referrals
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

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Malware Removal Tool

User Experience Join our forum to Discuss Semalt Spam Campaings.

Since the spammers behind Semalt have used a massive spam campaign, according to Incapsula researchers, the spammers may have used two types of spamming software:

Web Crawlers or Spiders

This type of spamming software “crawls” though different pages to collect information about how often are the sites of those pages modified by administrators and other criteria. After it has gathered enough data, it may initiate a massive spam campaign on certain URLs, previously assigned to it from a specific “hitlist”. And what is worse is that reports by Incapsula indicate that when official Google bots crawl to scan for web links they begin to index the referral spammed web links and therefore boost the SEO of the spammed web site, in this case, Semalt.

Ghost Referral Spam

Even though it has not been officially confirmed, Semalt Referral Spam may also be redistributed via ghost referrals. Such spam is more sophisticated and more targeted than massive. It takes advantage of the free HTTP protocol to connect remotely to the website and spam while not even being on the website itself. It is extremely effective and is very hard to be removed.

Both off those spam methods can be utilized via very expensive spam campaigns, and they are something you DO NOT want to have on your website. Besides regular checks for spam, they should be permanently blocked on your web server because they have the potential to quickly devaluate the data of Google Analytics websites. And the damage done by such spammed URLs may even be more. For example, Ghost Referrals can target specific aspects of Google Analytics data to devaluate. And not only this, but it may also lead to malicious web pages that may infect the users of the website with malware, and make them never come back to your site again.

More Information About the Semalt Referral Spam

As soon as the spam is initiated, it may be in messages that contain web links which originate from the following domains:

  • https://semalt.semalt(.)com
  • HTTP:// keywords-monitoring-your-success.com
  • HTTP:// free-video-tool.com

Also, researchers have identified that the following IP addresses were belonging to spam bots spreading web links redirecting to Semalt’s main web page:

  • 186.214.178.98
  • 24.218.171.58
  • 79.49.195.113
  • 187.112.50.169

In addition to that, the spammers are reported to use a very dangerous software, called QtWebKit, which allows them to perform different activities, like executing different JavaScript. Also, further reports indicate that these spam bots may be doing the spamming from infected machines and hence be spread via different malware, like botnet malware, for example. Malware researchers report that Semalt may have used the Soundfrost botnet which might have allowed them to infect hundreds of thousands of computers all over the world, primarily in South America.

More Information on Semalt

The website itself appears to be a website that offers a variety of services to users as well as websites:

semalt-redirect-keywords-ref-spam-sensorstechforum

Besides the products it offers, Semalt’s website also pretends to offer to analyze a website’s potential for free by scanning for keywords and other statistics:

semalt-website-potential analysis

However, the website wants money from users to show the report for its analysis. It offers various SEO tools and even to create websites for its clients.

Stop Semalt Referral Spam from Your Computer

Since referral spam associated with Semalt may link to many third-party websites, trying to boost their traffic by using spamming methods, users can never be too sure what type of websites the web links will lead them to. Not only this, but such spam is mainly a menace for website publishers since it devaluates their analytics data quickly and makes research based on it impossible. This is why we advise you to use some of the following instructions and hopefully block this spam and protect yourself in the future as a user.

1: Filtering Semalt in Google Analytics

Step 1: Click on the ‘Admin’ tab on your GA web page.

Step 2: Choose which ‘View’ is to be filtered and then click the ‘Filters’ button.

Step 3: Click on ‘New Filter’.

Step 4: Write a name, such as ‘Spam Referrals’.

Step 5: On Filter Type choose Custom Filter –>Exclude Filter –> Field: Campaign Source–> Filter Pattern. Then on the Pattern, enter the domain name – Semalt

Step 6: Select Views to Apply Filter.

Step 7: Save the filter, by clicking on the ‘Save’ button.

You are done! Congratulations!

Also, make sure you check out these several methods to help you further block out this referrer spam from Google Analytics:

More Methods To Stop Spam Bots and Spiders In Google Analytics

1: Block Semalt from Your Server.

In case you have a server that is Apache HTTP Server, you may want to try the following commands to block Semalt domains in the .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine on

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^https://.*semalt.semalt \.com/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^https://.*semalt.semalt \-for\-website\.com/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^https://.*keywords-monitoring-your-success \.com/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^https://.*keywords-monitoring-your-success \-for\-website\.com/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^https://.*free-video-tool \.com/ [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^https://.*free-video-tool \-for\-website\.com/ [NC,OR]

RewriteRule ^(.*)$ – [F,L]

Also here is a web link to some spam URLs being blacklisted from other servers:

Ultimate Referrer Blacklist by Perishablepress.com

Disclaimer: This type of domain blocking in Apache servers has not yet been tested and it should be done by experienced professionals. Backup is always recommended.

3: Stop Semalt via WordPress.

There is a method outlined by security researchers online that uses WordPress plugins to block referrer spams from sites. There are many plugins that help deal with referrer spam, simply do a google search. We have currently seen one particular plugin reported to work, called WP-Ban, but bear in mind that you may find an equally good or better. WP-Ban has the ability to block users based on their IP address and other information such as the URL, for example.

Also, in case you feel like you may have clicked and been redirected to one of the domains mentioned in the spam message, and you believe your system may be compromised, you should scan your computer with a particular anti-malware tool. Downloading such software will also make sure your computer is safe against any future intrusions as well.

donload_now_250
Spy Hunter scanner will only detect the threat. If you want the threat to be automatically removed, you need to purchase the full version of the anti-malware tool.Find Out More About SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool / How to Uninstall SpyHunter

Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav is a cybersecurity expert at SensorsTechForum since 2015. He has been researching, covering, helping victims with the latest malware infections plus testing and reviewing software and the newest tech developments. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for learning new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management, Network Administration and Computer Administration of System Applications, he found his true calling within the cybersecrurity industry and is a strong believer in the education of every user towards online safety and security.

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Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer Stop Push Pop-ups

How to Remove Semalt from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove Semalt

OFFER

Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your PC with SpyHunter

Keep in mind, that SpyHunter’s scanner is only for malware detection. If SpyHunter detects malware on your PC, you will need to purchase SpyHunter's malware removal tool to remove the malware threats. Read our SpyHunter 5 review. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria

1. Hold Windows key() + R


2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.


3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
Tip: Make sure to reverse those changes by unticking Safe Boot after that, because your system will always boot in Safe Boot from now on.


4. When prompted, click on "Restart" to go into Safe Mode.


5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.


Step 2: Uninstall Semalt and related software from Windows

Here is a method in few easy steps that should be able to uninstall most programs. No matter if you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program are left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, errors with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it. To do that:


1. Hold the Windows Logo Button and "R" on your keyboard. A Pop-up window will appear.


2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.


3. This will open a window with all the programs installed on the PC. Select the program that you want to remove, and press "Uninstall"
Follow the instructions above and you will successfully uninstall most programs.


Step 3: Clean any registries, created by Semalt on your computer.

The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by Semalt there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.


2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.


3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
Tip: To find a virus-created value, you can right-click on it and click "Modify" to see which file it is set to run. If this is the virus file location, remove the value.

IMPORTANT!
Before starting "Step 4", please boot back into Normal mode, in case you are currently in Safe Mode.
This will enable you to install and use SpyHunter 5 successfully.

Step 4: Scan for Semalt with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

1. Click on the "Download" button to proceed to SpyHunter's download page.


It is recommended to run a scan before purchasing the full version of the software to make sure that the current version of the malware can be detected by SpyHunter. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria.


2. After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.

SpyHunter5-update-2018


3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.

SpyHunter5-Free-Scan-2018


4. After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any files of the associated threat and found them, you can try to get them removed automatically and permanently by clicking on the 'Next' button.

SpyHunter-5-Free-Scan-Next-2018

If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer Stop Push Pop-ups

Get rid of Semalt from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall Semalt and remove related files and objects

OFFER
Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your Mac with SpyHunter for Mac
Keep in mind, that SpyHunter for Mac needs to purchased to remove the malware threats. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter’s EULA and Privacy Policy


1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:


2. Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:


3. In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to Semalt:

Tip: To quit a process completely, choose the “Force Quit” option.


4. Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.


5. In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to Semalt. If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.


6: Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference. Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to Semalt. Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.


7: Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:

  • Go to Finder.
  • In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
  • Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
  • If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.

In case you cannot remove Semalt via Step 1 above:

In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:

Disclaimer! If you are about to tamper with Library files on Mac, be sure to know the name of the virus file, because if you delete the wrong file, it may cause irreversible damage to your MacOS. Continue on your own responsibility!

1: Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:

2: Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:

3: Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as Semalt. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.

You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:

→ ~/Library/LaunchAgents
/Library/LaunchDaemons

Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.


Step 2: Scan for and remove Semalt files from your Mac

When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as Semalt, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. SpyHunter for Mac offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.


Click the button below below to download SpyHunter for Mac and scan for Semalt:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer Stop Push Pop-ups


Remove Semalt from Google Chrome.


Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu


Step 2: Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"


Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.


Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer Stop Push Pop-ups


Erase Semalt from Mozilla Firefox.

Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window


Step 2: Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.


Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"


Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer Stop Push Pop-ups


Uninstall Semalt from Microsoft Edge.


Step 1: Start Edge browser.


Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.


Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".


Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.


Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer Stop Push Pop-ups


Remove Semalt from Safari.


Step 1: Start the Safari app.


Step 2: After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.


Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".

stf-safari preferences


Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.

stf-safari-extensions


Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.


Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.

stf-safari uninstall

A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the Semalt will be removed.


How to Reset Safari
IMPORTANT: Before resetting Safari make sure you back up all your saved passwords within the browser in case you forget them.

Start Safari and then click on the gear leaver icon.

Click the Reset Safari button and you will reset the browser.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer Stop Push Pop-ups


Eliminate Semalt from Internet Explorer.


Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.


Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'


Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.


Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.


Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.


Remove Push Notifications caused by Semalt from Your Browsers.


Turn Off Push Notifications from Google Chrome

To disable any Push Notices from Google Chrome browser, please follow the steps below:

Step 1: Go to Settings in Chrome.

settings

Step 2: In Settings, select “Advanced Settings”:

advanced settings

Step 3: Click “Content Settings”:

Content Settings

Step 4: Open “Notifications”:

notifications

Step 5: Click the three dots and choose Block, Edit or Remove options:

Block, Edit or Remove

Remove Push Notifications on Firefox

Step 1: Go to Firefox Options.

options

Step 2: Go to “Settings”, type “notifications” in the search bar and click "Settings":

Settings

Step 3: Click “Remove” on any site you wish notifications gone and click “Save Changes”

remove push notifications firefox

Stop Push Notifications on Opera

Step 1: In Opera, press ALT+P to go to Settings

opera

Step 2: In Setting search, type “Content” to go to Content Settings.

content settings

Step 3: Open Notifications:

notifications

Step 4: Do the same as you did with Google Chrome (explained below):

three dots

Eliminate Push Notifications on Safari

Step 1: Open Safari Preferences.

preferences

Step 2: Choose the domain from where you like push pop-ups gone and change to "Deny" from "Allow".


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