What’s a PUP Exactly?
PUP is short for “potentially unwanted program” (sometimes referred to as PUA, potentially unwanted application), even though a better name would be “absolutely unwanted programs”. At best, these programs provide little to no benefit, and at worst, they can be quite harmful to your system. In addition to taking up space on your hard drive, they also slow down your computer, often change settings without your say-so, the list of annoying features goes on and on. While this is obnoxious, the worst part of installing a PUP is the adware, spyware and keystroke loggers that lurk inside. That’s why you should take special care to study and avoid these PUPs!
How Can PUPs Breach Your System?
Getting a PUP into your PC can be very easy if you’re not careful. Sometimes a useful program will be bundled with “crapware” PUPs you don’t need. While you’re installing the useful program, the wizard will include options to install various programs, some of which are PUPs. They appear under the “Advanced” or “Custom” options of the installation wizard. When you click them, the list of bundled programs should be visible. Be sure to opt out of installing any programs you don’t want.
Despite being considered very unethical in software circles, PUPs aren’t necessarily viruses or malware, because they require the user’s permission to be installed. A virus needs to come in through the backdoor, while PUPs are invited through the front gates. That’s why anti-virus programs can’t classify them as a threat and may not remove them. It’s a catch 22; PUPs are almost always bad for the user, but they can’t be banned or considered viruses. The main reason is that bundling programs aren’t inherently illegal or bad.
Note!Not all bundled programs are PUPs. Some of them might even be desirable for the user and even big name companies like Microsoft and Adobe bundle their products. It’s impossible to make a legal distinction between what’s “potentially unwanted” and what plain unwanted. In addition to that, PUP developers would often go to court when an anti-virus program classify their programs as viruses.
What’s the Actual Harm of PUPs?
As mentioned beforehand, PUPs can bring on adware, spyware, keystroke logging and other nasty crapware “features”. PUPs can change your browser settings, putting new search engines, home pages and apps that can be a pain to remove, excessive and intrusive ads, popups and banners, and many other forms of annoying advertisement. Adware PUPs usually induce excessive ads, usually of the “one weird trick to lose weight” or “make lots of money just by staying at home” variety. Keystroke logging is a method of stealing personal information by recording everything written on the recorded keyboard, including passwords and codes. Spyware records the user’s actions and online behavior. That information, more often than not, goes to untrustworthy online places.
Who Benefits from PUPs?
PUP distribution can be quite lucrative. As we’ve established, combating PUPs is difficult, so it’s a lower risk endeavor than spreading viruses. Mindspark is a good example of a company that’s almost exclusively devoted to spreading PUPs. QuickPhotoEdit, TestForSpeed(.)com and FromDocToPDF(.)com are just a few recent examples of their many PUP products.
How to Protect Your System from PUPs
As annoying a PUPs can be, their installation can be avoided easily by user vigilance.
Here are a few easy steps you can take to avoid installing PUPs:
- Don’t download programs from Internet ads, pop-ups, torrent trackers, file sharing sites and other unreliable sources.
- Opt out of the setting hidden in the “Custom” or “Advanced” sections when you’re installing a program. You can deselect most PUPs from there.
- Avoid installing programs you don’t need.
- Keep an eye out of any excessive or unusual Internet advertising. These ads can be brought on by PUPs and adware attached to your browser.
- Read the terms and conditions of use when you install any programs.
- Check your installed software regularly and uninstall any applications you do not want or need.
- Install an anti-PUP program. Most security software can’t outright delete PUPs, but some of them can discover and warn the user, so he or she can do it by themselves. Some anti-virus programs have ant-PUP capabilities that are disabled by default, so make sure to turn them on. An anti-spyware program will also do the trick as it strictly watches out for spying components (like tracking cookies).
Remember that even though PUPs can be damaging to your PC, they can’t get into your PC without your permission, so be alert not to give it to them. As always, good cyber-security etiquette can prevent most online threats.
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
- Guide 1: How to Remove from Windows.
- Guide 2: Get rid of from Mac OS X.
- Guide 3: Remove from Google Chrome.
- Guide 4: Erase from Mozilla Firefox.
- Guide 5: Uninstall from Microsoft Edge.
- Guide 6: Remove from Safari.
- Guide 7: Eliminate from Internet Explorer.
How to Remove from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove
Step 2: Uninstall 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.
Step 3: Clean any registries, created by on your computer.
The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:
You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Get rid of from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall and remove related files and objects
1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
- 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 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:
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.
Step 2: Scan for and remove malware from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts, programs and malware, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. Combo Cleaner offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
Remove 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.
Erase 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.
Uninstall 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.
Remove 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".
Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.
Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.
Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.
A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the will be removed.
Eliminate 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.