I wrote this article to help you remove Adf.ly. This Adf.ly removal guide works for Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.
Adf.ly is a website which provides advertising services. The platform enables users to make revenue though supported advertising. The field on Adf.ly is used to shorten URL addresses and add external links to them. You can create an account on the website and select a default language. The platform is available in 10 languages: English, Spanish, German, Chinese, Portuguese, French, Russian, Arabic, Thai and Hindi. Adf.ly has a forum and accounts on social networks Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The service Adf.ly offers may look reliable, but the domain is connected to an adware program. The rogue tool can cause security problems for you and your computer.
What security risks does Adf.ly involve?
The adware has been developed to raise proceeds. This is achieved through supported advertising, as the website indicates. The shady program generates advertisements in a variety of formats, including pop-ups, pop-unders, in-text links, coupon boxes, freebies, interstitial, transitional, inline, contextual, floating, comparison and full-page ads. They promote bargain shopping deals for different items, like clothes, furniture, technological devices, accessories, decorations, gardening equipment, sports gear, games and others. These offers lead to supported websites. The catch is that the adware does not scan the pages it forwards to. Any of the ads could lead you to a corrupted domain which carries malware. There is a way to tell whether an advertisement is associated to Adf.ly. The adware flags all of its ads with its name. Look for a label, listing phrases like “Ads by Adf.ly”, “Brought to you by Adf.ly” and “Powered by Adf.ly”. The banner is usually located on the upper or lower window frame.
The other major security problem around Adf.ly concerns personal data. The clandestine program has the ability to track users’ browsing sessions and collect input on them. This encompasses your search history, cookies, keystrokes, IP address, geographic location, area code, system specifications, email, telephone number, fax, demographic details, user names, passwords and other personally identifiable information (PII). The owners of the adware can sell your data on darknet markets without asking for permission or notifying you. The people behind Adf.ly, a company from San Diego, California called x19 Limited, have published a disclaimer which exempts them from responsibility for users’ security.
How does the adware behind Adf.ly penetrate computers?
The adware behind Adf.ly uses a couple of dark patterns or propagation vectors to sneak into people’s machines. Both methods rely on your hesitation and lack of knowledge. Educating yourself about the strategies the furtive program uses can help you avoid it. The method Adf.ly prefers is bundling. The covert program merges itself with freeware, shareware and pirated copies of paid tools. It attempts to get the green light to be installed together with the main program. The adware is included in the terms and conditions of the download client as a bonus. You have to find where it is mentioned and deselect it. Our advise is to take the time to review the end user license agreement (EULA) of the utilities you add to your system.
The other vector Adf.ly utilizes is spam emails. The clandestine program hides behind attached files, listed as documentation. The spammer will try to convince you that the letter was sent by a legitimate company or entity, like the national post, the police department, a courier firm, a bank, a government branch or an institution. The sender can devise the email to look like an official correspondence letter. To proof the reliability of a message from your in-box, look up the email account. It should belong to the organization the sender claims to be representing. You can go to its official website for reference.
Before starting the real removal process, you must reboot in Safe Mode. If you know how to do this, skip the instructions below and proceed to Step 2. If you do not know how to do it, here is how to reboot in Safe mode:
For Windows 98, XP, Millenium and 7:
Reboot your computer. When the first screen of information appears, start repeatedly pressing F8 key. Then choose Safe Mode With Networking from the options.
For Windows 8/8.1
Click the Start button, next click Control Panel —> System and Security —> Administrative Tools —> System Configuration.
Check the Safe Boot option and click OK. Click Restart when asked.
For Windows 10
Open the Start menu and click or tap on the Power button.
While keeping the Shift key pressed, click or tap on Restart.
Please, follow the steps precisely to remove Adf.ly from the browser:
Remove From Mozilla Firefox:
Open Firefox, click on top-right corner , click Add-ons, hit Extensions next.
Look for suspicious or unknown extensions, remove them all.
Remove From Chrome:
Open Chrome, click chrome menu icon at the top-right corner —>More Tools —> Extensions. There, identify the malware and select chrome-trash-icon(Remove).
Remove From Internet Explorer:
Open IE, then click IE gear icon on the top-right corner —> Manage Add-ons.
Find the malicious add-on. Remove it by pressing Disable.
Right click on the browser’s shortcut, then click Properties. Remove everything after the .exe” in the Target box.
Open Control Panel by holding the Win Key and R together. Write appwiz.cpl in the field, then click OK.
Here, find any program you had no intention to install and uninstall it.
Run the Task Manager by right clicking on the Taskbar and choosing Start Task Manager.
Look carefully at the file names and descriptions of the running processes. If you find any suspicious one, search on Google for its name, or contact me directly to identify it. If you find a malware process, right-click on it and choose End task.
Open MS Config by holding the Win Key and R together. Type msconfig and hit Enter.
Go in the Startup tab and Uncheck entries that have “Unknown” as Manufacturer.
Still can not remove Adf.ly from your browser? Please, leave a comment below, describing what steps you performed. I will answer promptly.