Remove “Ads by PublicHotspot” Virus (Chrome/Edge/Firefox) | Updated

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I wrote this article to help you remove “Ads by PublicHotspot”. This “Ads by PublicHotspot” removal guide works for Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.

You might have stumbled across a program called Public Hotspot. It is advertised as a useful tool that helps you find free public hotspots with ease. The thing is, this program is actually categorized by malware researchers as adware and is anything but useful. It has a malicious purpose and will only cause you trouble. “Ads by PublicHotspot” is the typical text, that marks advertisements generated by this adware. And the amount of intrusive ads and pop-ups that are displayed by this pest is enormous.

“Ads by PublicHotspot” is able to gather valuable data on the victim, like their browsing history, habits or search queries. It is not unusual to obtain information such as but not limited to passwords, IP addresses, bank account credentials, credit card numbers, etc. The main goal is to create revenue from each click the user makes. A task like this one will prove to be very easy, as it will be able to display targeted content that the user is most likely to click on, thanks to the already stolen private information about their online experience.

Adware is most commonly spread through spam email messages, email attachments and executable files, software bundles, fake update requests, as well as shady links and pop-ups. We advise our readers to think twice before they open emails from unknown senders. Often, people receive messages that claim to be sent from respectful sources like eBay, Amazon or PayPal, and will include a specific title that will aim to make the user click without giving much thought if it’s real or not.

If you receive an email from a person you don’t know, and it has an attached fail to it, we recommend not clicking anywhere near it. Chances are, it might carry a malicious infection. If you happen to download software from the internet, we suggest that you opt for a Custom/Advanced type of installation. This way you will easily see if there is any hidden additional software that was not properly disclosed. More often than not, such programs and applications are malware in disguise and only seek to harm your PC.

Users should not underestimate adware’s abilities. Make no mistake. It is not harmless. While an ad attack might not seem like much to many users, there is a hidden danger behind them. You might be one click away from allowing other cyber criminals into your computer system. It is not unusual for the adverts to turn out to be disguised sources of other malicious threats like Trojans, worms, hijackers, spyware, or even ransomware! Which is why it is important not to fall into such traps.

You put your security and privacy in jeopardy. The longer you let adware to stay on your computer, the worse its effect will get. You will notice that your browser performance and internet connection will get slower. Not to mention that at some point your browser will start to frequently crash and freeze, due to the huge amount of ads that are being generated by this malicious software. You need to proceed with its immediate removal, as soon as you detect its malicious presence on your computer.

“Ads by PublicHotspot” Removal

STEP-1 Before starting the real removal process, you must reboot in Safe Mode. If you are familiar with this task, 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.
Safe Mode with Networking
For Windows 8/8.1
Click the Start button, next click Control Panel —> System and Security —> Administrative Tools —> System Configuration.‌
Windows 8 Safe Mode with Network
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.
win10 safemode 1
While keeping the Shift key pressed, click or tap on Restart.
win10 safemode 2

STEP-2Here are the steps you must follow to permanently remove from the browser:

Remove From Mozilla Firefox:

Open Firefox, click on top-right corner , click Add-ons, hit Extensions next.
firefox extensions
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).
chrome extensions

Remove From Internet Explorer:
Open IE, then click IE gear icon on the top-right corner —> Manage Add-ons.
ie gear
Find the malicious add-on. Remove it by pressing Disable.

STEP-3

Right click on the browser’s shortcut, then click Properties. Remove everything after the .exe” in the Target box.

ff shortcut

STEP-4

Open Control Panel by holding the Win Key and R together. Write appwiz.cpl in the field, then click OK.

appwiz

Here, find any program you had no intention to install and uninstall it.

STEP-5

Run the Task Manager by right clicking on the Taskbar and choosing Start Task Manager.

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.

STEP-6

Open MS Config by holding the Win Key and R together. Type msconfig and hit Enter.

msconfig

Go to the Startup tab and Uncheck entries that have “Unknown” as Manufacturer.

Still cannot remove “Ads by PublicHotspot” from your browser? Please, leave a comment below, describing what steps you performed. I will answer promptly.

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Daniel Stoyanov
Daniel Stoyanov has a Master's degree in Computer Science from the Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria. He is also a Microsoft Certified Professional. Daniel provides top cyber security news with in-depth coverage of malware, vulnerabilities, PC and Network security, online safety.If you have any questions feel free to ask him right now.

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