What are Coupon Viruses (coupon adware)?
Coupon virus (in plural Coupon viruses), is a term we introduced used to describe malware or potentially unwanted programs categorized as adware that primarily serve coupon, deal, offer, and reward-based advertisements. Coupon viruses may display in-text advertisements, pop-up advertisements, “drop down tab” type advertisements, and/or scrolling-menu type advertisements on a variety of websites, especially eCommerce and retail websites such as Amazon and Sears or “deal” based websites such as Kayak.com, as well as advertisements that appear on and offline. Coupon virus advertisements often claim to contain “discounted offers,” coupons, and deals for products relative to what the internet user is currently searching for or viewing on the internet. When viewing a specific item online an advertisement may appear claiming to have a better deal or a coupon code for said item. Sometimes these advertisements display similar items, for example if hovering your mouse over the Microsoft surface tablet, coupon advertisements pop out that may display similar tablets such as ipads, as well as competing prices for the original item.
- Most coupon viruses are categorized as a combination of adware and browser hijacker.
Are coupon viruses dangerous?
Coupon viruses can be dangerous for reasons concerning cyber criminal activity, entrapment, and the invasion of privacy, but it should be noted, not all adware pray on the less experienced computer user and primarily want to display advertisements.
Some coupon viruses allow or install alongside third-party malware, including adware, spyware, especially browser hijackers, and even trojan horses. Third-parties and parties responsible for unwanted coupon advertisements may collect sensitive information about computer users including browsing habits, as well as information submitted into forms like passwords and bank accounts. Victims of coupon malware often receive excessive email spam, junk mail, telemarketers, and may even draw the attention of scam artists who may attempt to extort a victim using their existing sensitive information (phishing).
How to become infected with coupon viruses (coupon adware)
Coupon adware can be manually and voluntarily installed from a variety of sources, under a variety of titles, but most coupon adware platforms install to computer systems without consent or a symptom of being entrapped by associated third-parties.
Many software distrubition websites such as CNET’s download.com bundle coupon adware with their free downloads, especially Coupon Drop Down and Coupon Companion, and other similar platforms in order to generate revenue. Though CNET claims to allow users the option to “opt out” of installing bundled software, victims of coupon adware claim that the additional item installed without consent or knowledge.
It should also be noted that some third-parties use unethical marketing tactics to entrap users into using coupon serving adware, including confusing installation process and misleading links. Furthermore, coupon adware primarily bundles inside or alongside freeware, shareware, codecs, and torrents. Even third-party browser attachments and software advertised as legitimate.
Rarely is coupon malware introduced to a computer system via exploit kits or hacked websites, though some third-party browser hijackers, including unethical search engines may associate with coupon advertisements.
How to remove coupon viruses (adware)
- Automatically remove coupon malware – Scan for and automatically remove malware
- Manually remove coupon malware – Remove/Uninstall coupon-advertising platforms
1. Automatic coupon virus removal
Use the instructions below to automatically remove coupon viruses and third-party malware, as well as automatically remove unwanted search engines from your home page, default search engine, browser shortcuts, and other hijacked settings.
1. Install the free or paid version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
2. Once Malwarebytes is installed, run the program. If you are using the free version of Malwarebytes you will be prompted to update the database, make sure to do so.
3. On the first tab labeled “Scanner” select the Perform full scan option and click the Scan button to perform a full system scan. Malwarebytes will automatically detect malware infecting the computer system.
4. Once the malware scan is complete, Malwarebytes may prompt a notice stating malicious objects were detected. Select the malicious objects and click the Remove Selected button to completely remove the malicious files from your computer (the image below shows a file that is NOT selected) or click the Delete button to remove quarantined files.
CCleaner can be used to automatically repair internet browser settings startup up settings, and uninstall stubborn coupon- ad serving software. You can even use CCleaner to remove ransomware, but that does not apply here.
1. Install the free or paid version of CCleaner by Piriform.
2. Once installed, open the program and navigate to Cleaner > Windows/Applications and click the Analyze button. Afterwards, click the Run Cleaner button on the bottom right of the program interface.
3. Next, navigate to Tools > Startup and search through each tab starting from windows, internet explorer, etc., all the way to Content Menu, for additional suspicious entries and click Disable and Delete once anything is found.
4. To automatically uninstall coupon serving programs, navigate to the Uninstall tab and search for coupon serving software, etc. in the list of installed programs. Uninstall the programs as selected.
2. Manual coupon virus removal
Use the instructions below to manually uninstall coupon viruses using generic removal procedures.
How to uninstall coupon malware
1. Access Windows Start Menu and navigate to the Control Panel.
2. Click Uninstall a program or Add and remove a program.
3. In the list of installed programs, search for suspicious and potentially unwanted software, including software downloaded from websites such as download.com. Once located, double click the unwanted programs or highlight them in the list and click the Uninstall button.
How to remove unwanted add-ons and extensions
Use the instructions to remove unwanted add-ons, extensions, plugins, and toolbars.
1. Click on the Customize icon (wrench or 3 bar icon) next to the address bar and navigate to Tools > Extensions.
2. Search for the unwanted extension and remove it by clicking the trashcan icon next to them.
1. Type Ctrl+Shift+A.
2. On the Extensions and Plugin search for the unwanted add-on and remove it.
Microsoft Internet Explorer
1. Click Tools and select Manage add-ons.
2. On the Toolbars and Extensions tab search for the unwanted add-on and remove it if located.
For links concerning coupon-adware please see the second paragraph at the top of this page.
- How to remove Mywebsearch (hijacker/redirect)
- How to remove Text Enhance (In-text adware)
- How to block advertisements and malicious resources using Windows hosts file
- How to stop unwanted redirections
- How to restore Microsoft Windows Operating Systems (XP, Vista, 7)
- How to refresh/reset Microsoft Windows 8 Operating Systems