What Is AdSafeProtected?
AdSafeProtected is flagged as a threat to your Windows PC. While it is not considered illegal, it’s classified as a potentially unwanted program (PUP) that usually gets installed on your computer via freeware and shareware. AdSafeProtected is deemed a type of adware that upsets users by displaying annoying pop-up ads, coupon codes, and other types of advertisements, as well as redirecting users to potentially harmful sites.
The AdSafeProtected PUP is advertised as a useful program that will enhance your browsing experience. However, in reality, it’s a browser hijacker that may expose your PC to various online threats. While AdSafeProtected mostly affects Mac users, Windows and Android users are also vulnerable.
Like most adware, AdSafeProtected installs itself on your browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge, and starts displaying offers, deals, pop-ups, etc. Clicking on these ads redirects you to pixel.adsafeprotected.com and other similar domains that don’t offer relevant information. This spoils your browsing experience since the annoying alert messages and pop-up ads keep flashing on your screen every time you launch your browser to surf the internet.
Subdomains: dt.fw. adsafeprotected.com
Distribution methods: fake update notifications, free software bundling, deceptive pop-up ads
Risks: potential data leaks, redirects to unsafe sites
Is AdSafeProtected a Virus?
Technically, AdSafeProtected is not a virus but rather an adware-related program. While AdSafeProtected.com is a legitimate website, its adware has been bugging users with dozens of ads to earn a profit. This means that it’s not to be trusted since hackers can use it to inject malicious code and software into your computer without your knowledge or consent, thereby damaging your PC. Therefore, AdSafeProtected should never be allowed to run on your PC.
To learn how to get rid of AdSafeProtected, keep reading this post.
The adware is also known to display fake software update notifications, send fake alert messages, and redirect users to bogus websites. Once AdSafeProtected infiltrates your Windows PC, it modifies certain settings on your browsers to be able to display advertisements. The adware then hijacks the homepage, default search engine, and new tab page, and every time you type in your search query, it records it and redirects you to strange web pages. The displayed ads are usually intrusive, random, and excessive.
Once clicked, the adware collects sensitive user information, such as sites visited, bookmarks, installed programs, keystrokes, IP addresses, visited URLs, browsing history, system information, and geolocation, among other details. It also creates an entry in the registry, making it difficult to remove from the system.
Pixel.adsafeprotected.com poses a serious privacy risk since it redirects you to multiple websites related to its domain. These sites don’t provide useful information but rather are full of fake products and services. Sometimes, you may even be forced to download other potentially unwanted programs. Regardless of what you see on such websites, you should never trust them. Clicking on any link on these websites could lead to malware infection.
What Does AdSafeProtected Do?
PUPs like AdSafeProtected may be used by cybercriminals to drive traffic to third-party shopping sites to earn money. Besides, confidential data, such as your social security number, bank account information, passwords, and credit card details, may be compromised and used for illegal activities. The advertisements may be displayed in the form of flash videos, banners or hyperlinks on legitimate sites. We, therefore, strongly advise against clicking on such links or any ads that pop up while you are browsing.
These types of adware are not easy to detect and usually install themselves in the background without your permission. However, when you see any of the following symptoms, it’s a clear indication that you’ve been infected:
- Random pop-up ads, banners, coupon codes, and other types of advertisements appear whenever you’re using your browser.
- You see fake notifications about software updates, fake error messages, and fake alerts regarding your Windows system.
- You experience slow internet speeds.
- Your browser’s homepage, new tab page, and default search engine have been changed, causing your search queries to be redirected to bogus websites.
- You notice high CPU usage.
- Windows, installed applications and webpages take longer than usual to load.
How Did AdSafeProtected Get into Your Computer?
AdSafeProtected, like any other type of adware, may sneak into your Windows PC through various channels. Here are some of the most common methods of distribution:
- Software bundling – most free applications that can be downloaded online come with hidden applications from third parties. If you’re not careful during the installation process, you might end up installing unwanted programs on your computer. That is why you should read the End User Agreement carefully and uncheck any programs that you don’t want to be installed alongside the main software.
- Visiting porn sites, online gaming sites and file-sharing sites.
- Downloading infected files from untrustworthy sites or spam emails.
- Clicking on pop-up ads while surfing the internet.
Tips to Avoid the Installation of Potentially Unwanted Programs
While it’s a fact that adware and other types of malware can be sly and difficult to detect, here are some tips to keep your PC safe from online threats:
- Only download and update software via official methods.
- Avoid clicking on suspicious ads, software update notifications, and alert warnings.
- Configure your web browser to block ads, pop-ups, and notifications.
- Keep your Windows system, installed software, and security tool updated.
- Avoid clicking on email attachments sent from unknown individuals.
How to Get Rid of AdSafeProtected on a Windows 10 Computer
Typically, adware is designed to multiply or create backdoors that can be used by other malware to infect your PC. So, the more it stays on your computer, the more damage it may cause. As soon as you detect the presence of AdSafeProtected on your Windows PC, you should take immediate action to remove it.
You’ll first need to remove the potentially unwanted application from your operating system and then reset all your browsers to get rid of any malicious extensions that could have been installed without your permission.
We mentioned earlier that hackers camouflage malware as genuine software to trick users into downloading it. Since these malicious applications modify the registry, it can be extremely difficult to remove them. That’s why we recommend enabling Safe Mode with Networking to expose any malicious apps running on your OS. To do this, follow the guide below:
- Go to your “Start” menu and select the “Power” button.
- While holding down the “Shift” key, select “Restart”.
- On the “Choose an option” screen, go to Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings, and select “Restart”.
- Press the F5 key to select “Enable Safe Mode with Networking”.
Next, go to Task Manager to kill all processes related to AdSafeProtected. Here’s how:
- Press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc shortcut to launch Task Manager.
- Identify any suspicious processes running in the background, click on them, one by one, and select “End task”. Be sure to google any process that you are not familiar with to check whether or not it’s legitimate. This way, you’ll avoid stopping crucial system processes.
Uninstall AdSafeProtected from Windows Using the Control Panel
- Press the Win + R keyboard shortcut and type cpl into the “Run” dialog box.
- This operation takes you directly to the “Programs and Features” screen in the Control Panel. Once there, look for AdSafeProtected, right-click on it and select “Uninstall”. Look for other related applications that seem suspicious and uninstall them.
Delete Folders Associated with AdSafeProtected
To completely remove the components of the potentially unwanted program, you need to delete all related folders. Open the following directories and look for any folders with unfamiliar names:
Be careful not to delete folders containing essential system files. We recommend opening each folder and researching the files contained therein.
Delete AdSafeProtected from Your Browsers
Remove AdSafeProtected from Internet Explorer
- Launch Internet Explorer and click on the gear icon in the top-right corner of the browser and select “Manage Add-ons”.
- In the “Toolbars and Extensions” section, look for AdSafeProtected and any other suspicious extensions and disable them.
If your homepage, new tab page and default search engine have been altered, follow these steps to reset Internet Explorer:
- Run Internet Explorer, click on the menu icon, and select “Internet Options”.
- Click the “Advanced” tab and select “Reset”.
- On the “Reset Internet Explorer Settings” screen that pops up, check “Delete personal settings” and click the “Reset” button. This action will revert Internet Explorer to its factory defaults and remove AdSafeProtected and related programs from your browser.
Remove AdSafeProtected from Microsoft Edge
- Go to your desktop or taskbar and launch Microsoft Edge.
- Click the three dots in the top-right corner of the browser to bring up the menu and select “Extensions”.
- Look for any suspicious extensions that you didn’t install and remove them.
- Restart Edge.
If your homepage, new tab page, and default search engine have been changed, reset Edge using the steps below:
- Launch Edge and click the menu icon.
- Open Settings > Privacy & Security, and select “Choose what to clear”.
- Select all the options that you want and click “Clear”.
Remove AdSafeProtected from Mozilla Firefox
- Double-click the Mozilla Firefox icon on your desktop to launch the browser.
- Click on the menu icon in the top-right corner of the browser and select Add-ons > Extensions.
- Look for any suspicious extensions and remove them from your browser.
- Restart Firefox.
If your homepage, new tab page and default search engine have been modified, follow the guide below to reset Firefox to its factory defaults:
- Launch Firefox and bring up the menu.
- Go to Help > Troubleshooting Information, and select “Refresh Firefox”.
- Click on the “Refresh Firefox” button.
Remove AdSafeProtected from Google Chrome
- Launch the Chrome browser and click on the menu icon (three dots) in the top-right corner of the browser.
- Select More Tools > Extensions, and remove any suspicious extensions from the browser.
- Restart Chrome.
If your homepage, new tab page, and default search engine have been altered, follow the steps below to reset Google Chrome:
- Run Chrome, click on the menu icon and select “Settings”.
- Click the “Advanced” section to display additional options and select “Restore settings to their original defaults” under “Reset and clean up”.
- Click on “Reset settings”.
Remove AdSafeProtected from Opera
- Launch the Opera browser and click on the “Menu” icon.
- Go to Extensions > Extensions.
- Identify any suspicious extension that you didn’t install and click on the “X” icon to remove it.
If your homepage, new tab page and default search engine have been altered, follow these steps to reset Opera:
- Run Opera and click on the “Menu” icon.
- Open “About Opera” and copy the “Profile” and “Cache” paths.
- Exit Opera.
- Press the Win + R shortcut, paste the Opera profile path in the “Run” box and hit “Enter”.
- Delete the entire folder.
- Repeat the same procedure for the “Cache” path and delete the entire folder.
Scan Your Windows PC to Remove AdSafeProtected
We always recommend running regular malware scans on your Windows PC to keep your system and data protected. Since most types of malware are designed to evade detection by your antivirus program, you need an aggressive malware removal tool like Auslogics Anti-Malware. This program is intelligently programmed to detect and remove all types of malware that may infiltrate your Windows OS. It performs a deep scan and automatically removes any malicious items that may be hiding in your system.
The security tool checks the entire system, including the registry, browser extensions, cookies, system memory, and temporary folders, to mention but a few. In addition, the program checks the safety of programs set to auto-start every time you boot Windows. If it detects any suspicious entities, it quarantines them so that you can decide whether to remove them or not.
You can even schedule automatic scans to keep your PC protected at all times. Using Auslogics Anti-Malware is simple and straightforward. Plus, it’s designed not to conflict with your main antivirus program. Since it receives regular updates, it’s capable of capturing the latest threats. This way, you can rest assured that your privacy is always protected.
Were you able to get rid of AdSafeProtected using the tips above? Please let us know by commenting below.