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Is there a way to get rid of "AdChoices"?

I've been to all the sites suggested by Google to eliminate "Adchoices".

Nothing seems to work to get rid of this infestation.

Does anyone really know how to get rid of this annoying malware?
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gbmcneil
Asked:
gbmcneil
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1 Solution
 
akbCommented:
Easiest way to get rid of this type of malware is to restore to a System Restore point prior to when the malware was installed.
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gbmcneilAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your reply, akb.

But, I don't know exactly when the AdChoices malware ended up on my computer. And, even if I did, a system restore is a very radical procedure. Furthermore, it is not going to prevent future infection.

I think I have to find a way to surgically remove the offending components when I notice that offending ads.

I am very much surprised that the big name anti-malware companies have not developed a solution, to my knowledge.
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akbCommented:
A system restore is not a "very radical procedure". It simply restores the system state to an earlier time while leaving all your data as it is now.
Can you see AdChoices in Control Panel -> Programs? If so, that will give you the date and time it was installed.
"Furthermore, it is not going to prevent future infection" - No method of uninstalling AdChoices (or any other malware) will prevent future infection. You need good anti virus/anti malware software and common sense to prevent reinfection.
Have you tried using MalwareBytes to remove the malware?
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gbmcneilAuthor Commented:
I have MalwareBytes, but maybe I don't have the correct version. It doesn't do anything to remove Adchoices.

I just erased all the files in \Temporary Internet Files. Now I get the Adchoices app with no viewable content. That is, erasing Temporary Internet Files does nothing to remove Adchoices.

A solution to this problem shouldn't be that difficult. Can you tell me how to view other people's questions with the "Adchoices"?  There must be 100 million other computer users who have this same problem.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
Which 'AdChoices' are you talking about?  There are 'AdChoices' advertisements in many web pages.  Info here: https://support.google.com/adsense/troubleshooter/1631343?hl=en
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gbmcneilAuthor Commented:
Okay. I get it. AdChoices is a part of Google. I never appreciated that.

And websites are probably paid to trigger AdChoices popup ads.

So, it seems unless there's a "Internet Option" to suppress this kind of crap, we're all stuck with it.

Is there such a control switch in iExplorer 11.0 "Internet Options"?  Thanks.
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jcimarronCommented:
gbmcneil--
Right click on some of those ads, then Properties.  Do you see a common URL on the Address (URL) line?  If so you can put that URL into your HOSTS file.  
http://www.windowsdevcenter.com/pub/a/windows/2004/03/30/hosts.html
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
The only 'popup' ads that I have seen were Flash based on Yahoo.  There was also something called 'youradchoices' which was not Google.  I think.  Can you show us a screen capture of one of them?
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
adwcleaner will remove it from safe mode and it does mean resetting each browser that you use.
http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-Adchoices
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akbCommented:
If you want to get rid of all ads from all web pages have a look at AdBlock.
https://getadblock.com/
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gbmcneilAuthor Commented:
I am not a happy camper. I wrote you all a nice note to thank you. Then pressed the button for multiple winners. It differed to David Baldwin.

I'm going to take it up with the webmaster and see if I can get you all paid.

Thanks very much.
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gbmcneilAuthor Commented:
150301-Screen-Shot-WBZ-With-AdChoices.jp
Screen shot attached. You can see the Properties dialog on the left and the "blank" AdChoices popup in the lower right. At the moment the ad is blank because I erased at the Temporary Internet Files.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
I went to that page and got the popup like you did.  It is nothing on your computer that is causing that.  To get rid of that popup, you would have to turn off javascript in your browser.  The company listed in the URL (picadmedia.com) provides code to cause that popup when you mouse over one of the images on that page.  Everybody is getting paid for that popup but the viewer...
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gbmcneilAuthor Commented:
Hi Dave -

Are you saying that if I put the URL of the ad server (picadmedia.com) in my HOSTS file as suggested by jcimarron, that is not going to stop the popup window from popping up? I'm still going to end up with these freaking ads?

Thanks.

GBM
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
It looks like you can block the ad content that way but the window will still popup.  I think.  I just reloaded that page without moving the mouse over any of it and the popup still showed up.
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gbmcneilAuthor Commented:
If you take a look at the link that jcimarron provided, the article suggests that by placing the website URL into the HOSTS file, Internet Explorer won't go that site.  The site listed below is supposed to identify 17,000 up-to-date URLs that drive adware content.

http://mvpshostsnews.blogspot.com/

It's almost midnight here in Boston. Let me try loading the MVPS HOSTS file onto my system tomorrow and see what happens. If you download http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.zip it includes a readme.txt file that describes how to install the HOSTS file on your PC.

Talk to you tomorrow, should you be interested.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
I've been using SpyBot for years which does something similar with the HOSTS file.  I checked and it does not include picadmedia.com.  I looked at your download of 'hosts.zip' and although it has two listings for 'picadmedia.com', it does not have the one in your image above which means it won't block that ad.  I have a previous version of that file from 2004...
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gbmcneilAuthor Commented:
Based on what you are saying, it may be more practical and effective to initially concentrate on the 15 or 20 websites you go to time and again. Example for me: the WBZ Television Weather page here in Boson. I check that site regularly to see when the next blizzard is coming.

If building a little HOSTS file that tries to exclude the server addresses that we now assume are contacted repeatedly doesn't work, adding another 17,000 sites to the HOSTS file isn't going to help.

I don't know whether it is just me, but I am getting bombarded with AdChoices ads. First full-screen ads. Then small popups trying to access the same website. This is really annoying.

Let me experiment.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
I'm pretty sure everyone is 'getting bombarded with AdChoices ads'.  Not all of them are popups though.
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gbmcneilAuthor Commented:
If you re-visit the WBZ Weather Page, you'll see that the AdChoices popup in the lower right corner has changed. For one thing, you can't right click on it to get the URL of the server. When I click on it, I don't get the menu which lists "Properties" as a choice.

Earlier this morning, I check the Weather Page and saw a different ad. The Properties menu was working then, but it indicated a totally different server URL.

http://weather.boston.cbslocal.com/US/MA/Boston/KBOS.html

This means that adding a URL here or there to the HOSTS file isn't going to do a thing. The number of URLs is probably infinite, and if they keep changing, so there is no way that the HOSTS file will have any material effect.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
That is typical operation for an 'ad delivery network'.  I just looked and the popup content is still coming from 'picadmedia.com'.  Today's ad for me was for Verizon.
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jcimarronCommented:
gbmcneil--
I do not believe you have told us the name of the website that shows the popups you do not want.
Based on your screenshot, however, I tried http://weather.boston.cbslocal.com/US/MA/Boston/KBOS.html
No popup on my PC and I use MVPS HOSTS.  The site picadmedia.com is in the HOSTS file supplied by MVPS. (One is quite specific to adservices.picadmedia.com)  But you could have done the same by right click|Properties as I originally suggested.  There is no need for the other 16,999 sites in this instance, but I think you will find site rendering is faster on many webpages.

I am not sure Dave Baldwin has given you the best information, such as
"two listings for 'picadmedia.com', it does not have the one in your image above which means it won't block that ad"
Whether or not the 2004 version of MVPS HOSTS includes picadmedia, the latest version does and seems to block the popup quite effectively.
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gbmcneilAuthor Commented:
jcimarron -

Thanks for your input. Given your advice, I'm inclined to build a little HOSTS file and see whether this helps.

The problem is, I think that on some web pages trying to identify the URL ad servers is a moving target. I may succeed temporarily, but within a few days they will turn everything upside down and my efforts will go for not. But, I am willing to try.

I will need a few days to experiment, so I may not be back with a quick progress report.

GBM
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
The current hosts file from MVPS lists 'adservices.picadmedia.com' and 'services.picadmedia.com'.  Neither of those will block ''adservices02.picadmedia.com'.
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jcimarronCommented:
Dave Baldwin--
Since there is no confirmation that the WBZ site I used
http://weather.boston.cbslocal.com/US/MA/Boston/KBOS.html
is the site on which gbmcneil has the problem, I cannot be sure that the suggestion I made is correct.  However, I use the MVPS HOSTS file and am not getting any popups on the page.  I do not use any AdBlocker, but it is always possible that something else on my PC is blocking the popup.

I also seem to remember that just using picadmedia.com in the HOSTS is sufficient to block any site with URL ending in picadmedia.com .  Unfortunately I cannot find a reference at the moment.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
I can confirm that that is the correct site.  All I have to do in Firefox is scroll down near the bottom and after a short while that popup appears.  It is also on the Sacramento CBS-local weather page so I suspect it is on all CBS-local weather pages.  CBS is also an advertising company as well as a TV network.  All the CBS TV web pages that I have seen seem to act the same... which is terribly overburdened with advertisements.
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jcimarronCommented:
gbmcneil--
If you find using the HOSTS file does away with the popup, you can always change your decision as you mentioned in http:#a40638841 by clicking the Request Attention button at the bottom right of your original post.
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gbmcneilAuthor Commented:
Yes, I will do that.
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