This entry dissects the shady facet of Ads by TrafficStars virus, including its distribution workflow and tips to get rid of the underlying malicious code.
There’s a bevy of online services aimed at bridging the gap between merchants and publishers. This is certainly useful assistance that pushes numerous Internet businesses forward. Some parties involved in the process, though, engage in foul play to get the bang for their buck as quickly as possible. While at first sight the Traffic Stars ad network appears to do its job right, some adverse effects of its operation are being reported by many end users around the world. The problem has to do with Ads by TrafficStars that begin bombarding people out of the blue. These abominable commercial artifacts mainly include deals and banners that show up on top of the original content of arbitrary web pages visited by a victim.
Such dubious activity of perpetrating code affiliated with TrafficStars is routinely referred to as malvertising. Since predicaments of this sort are always isolated to a specific computer, they are conjugated with the term “Potentially Unwanted Application”, or PUA. It means that there is a troublemaking browser plugin, extension or toolbar that obtains privileges high enough to tweak the look and feel of sites. In the case of Ads by TrafficStars, the malicious rogue browser helper entity makes its ways into a PC by dint of bundling. This software distribution mechanism isn’t illegitimate per se, but it has posed cybercrooks’ favorite attack method for years. The workflow involves a certain freeware or shareware product, often downloaded via torrents, that’s harmless itself but has got company. The setup client in this scenario is stuffed with extra components. These drive-by offers aren’t listed in the open, but they do accompany the default installation routine.
Having infiltrated an unsuspecting user’s computer in such a stealth way, the TrafficStars adware adds its aggressive plugin to every web browser detected on the system. The entity is cross-browser and multi-platform, so it can run on Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari. What it actually does is it generates a virtual layer for all tabs opened with any of the above browsers. It’s this layer that hosts the annoying advertisements. In addition to the above-mentioned deals and banners, Ads by TrafficStars can also assume a shape of splash screens, interstitial adverts and in-text links. Unless eliminated, the totality of these entities will eventually slow the affected browser down and make it almost unusable. The part below is a walkthrough towards adware-free web surfing, so go ahead and follow the instructions to bid farewell to Ads by TrafficStars.
Automated removal of Ads by TrafficStars virus
Owing to an up-to-date database of malware signatures and intelligent behavioral detection, the recommended software can quickly locate the infection, eradicate it and remediate all harmful changes. So go ahead and do the following:
1. Download and install the antimalware tool. Open the solution and have it check your PC for PUPs and other types of malicious software by clicking the Start Computer Scan button
2. Rest assured the scan report will list all items that may harm your operating system. Select the detected entries and click Fix Threats to get the troubleshooting completed.
Use Control Panel to get rid of TrafficStars adware
• Open up the Control Panel from your Start menu in Windows and select Uninstall a program
• To facilitate the process of locating the threat, sort the programs list by date to get the latest ones displayed at the very top. Find TrafficStars or some other unfamiliar entry under the Name column, click Uninstall and follow further directions to get the removal done
Restore web browser settings to their original defaults
In the circumstances of a complex browser hijack like this, executing a reset makes the most sense despite a few obvious downsides. Customizations such as saved passwords, bookmarked pages etc. will be gone, but so will all the changes made by the potentially unwanted program. The instructions below address the workflow for the web browsers most targeted by TrafficStars.
Reset Mozilla Firefox
• Open Firefox, type about:support in the URL area and press Enter
• On the Troubleshooting Information screen, spot the Refresh Firefox button and click on it
• Follow subsequent directions to reset Firefox to its original settings
• Restart the browser.
Reset Google Chrome
• Open Chrome, click the icon for Chrome menu and choose Settings
• Scroll down the settings screen and click Show advanced settings
• Click Reset settings
• Finally, confirm the restoration by clicking Reset on the warning message
• Restart Chrome.
Reset Internet Explorer
• Select Internet options under IE’s Tools
• Proceed by clicking on Advanced tab, then select Reset
• To confirm the intended changes, click Reset on the Reset Internet Explorer Settings screen after ascertaining that the Delete personal settings checkbox is enabled
• Reboot the machine to fully implement the fix.
• Go to the Safari menu and select Preferences
• When on the Preferences screen, select the Privacy tab and hit the Remove All Website Data button if you are up to erasing all website data stored on your Mac. Otherwise, you can use a site-specific removal option described below
• A dialog will appear, asking you to validate your choice. Click the Remove Now button if you are sure. Be advised this will log you out of online services and undo personalized web browser settings such as saved passwords, etc.
• Safari also allows deleting data for specific sites rather than all sites in general. To use this option, click the Details button under Privacy tab
• Select the websites for which you would like to erase data and click the Remove button
• Click the Done button to confirm and exit. You can also select the Remove All option to remove all data stored by the listed websites.
Revise your security status
Post-factum assessment of the accuracy component in malware removal scenarios is a great habit that prevents the comeback of harmful code or replication of its unattended fractions. Make sure you are good to go by running an additional safety checkup.