Sunday, September 30, 2012
This annoying adware somehow seeped into my personal laptop and it was really annoying. While I am positive that it was not a virus, it certainly was showing up popup ads on the bottom left corner of almost ALL websites that I would browse.
I tried numerous things including checking my startup application, services to see if there were anything suspicious that I could stop by myself. Nothing helped. Next I tried deleting cookies, clearing my temporary internet files. Still… nothing.
I then Googled for hours to find a way to remove them and went ahead to try every single suggestion including installing a slew of spyware removal tools. Most of the tools were either not able to even detect these adwares as a threat or even if a few did, they would want you to pay for them to “clean” your PC.
I was not inclined towards paying nor was I willing to put up with the annoying popups. As a matter of fact, since I knew these are adware popups, I became paranoid everytime I saw those stupid ads come up. They were eating up my internet bandwidth and I could do nothing about it.
FINALLY, this is what I did which worked!
On a hunch, I checked the HOSTS file (usually in C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc folder). The first time I saw the file, it looked clean. I originally wanted to map the ad.yieldmanager to 127.0.0.1, but there was this thing I noticed – the thumb on the scrollbar was too small indicating that there was something I had to scroll down to… And when I scrolled down and further down it was all empty spaces and at the extreme bottom of the file the dirty rascals who had infected my PC had their secret entries made. Each of the websites that the popup links were pointing to had specific IP addresses mapped. I removed them all (after granting necessary permissions on the hosts file because of Windows 7) and as an extra safety measure I went ahead and subscribed for a few TPLs on my Internet Explorer 9.
I then fiddled a few of my browsing sessions and found them to be clean. It was really exalting to fix an issue, completely clean, by yourself!!!