Pony Virus

Also Known As: Pony malware
Type: Adware
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

Pony removal instructions

What is Pony?

Pony is malware that steals personal data. Research shows that cyber criminals spread this malware in various ways: spam emails, fake Adobe Flash Player updates, scams such as The HoeflerText Font Wasn't Found, etc. The presence of adware-type applications that generate pop-up ads can also lead to Pony infections.

Spam email distributing Pony virus:

Pony virus distributing spam email

Pony is a virus designed to collect users' logins/passwords and send them to a remote server controlled by cyber criminals. Research shows that this malware is capable of cracking passwords saved in over one hundred applications including Internet browsers, FTPs, VPNs, and many others. The collected data might be sensitive. For example, criminals can gain access to your bank accounts. Therefore, the presence of Pony malware can lead to significant financial losses. In addition, Pony might connect a victim's PC to a botnet, which is used to proliferate this malware to other devices. If you suspect that your system is infected or you have recently opened/downloaded dubious files/applications, you should immediately scan the system with a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite and eliminate all detected threats.

As mentioned above, Pony might have been distributed using intrusive pop-up ads or delivered by potentially unwanted adware-type programs (PUPs). These programs deliver advertisements such as coupons, banners, and so on. The ads can lead to malicious websites and execute scripts that download and install malware. Therefore, even a single click can result in high-risk computer infections. Furthermore, these applications significantly diminish the browsing experience and are displayed using tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site. Therefore, they are likely to conceal website content. Another important issue is information tracking. As with Pony, adware can also gather information that includes personal details, however, these applications are typically not so advanced - they simply record users' Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, websites visited, pages viewed, search queries, and so on. PUP developers share the collected data with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) to generate revenue. Therefore, having adware-type apps installed on your computer can also lead to privacy issues. We strongly recommend that you uninstall these programs immediately.

Pony shares similarities with FormBook, Adwind, and dozens of other viruses. Following infiltration, the malware starts gathering sensitive information and sending it to the developers/distributors (cyber criminals). These people then attempt to misuse received data in any possible way to generate as much revenue as possible. Some viruses are also used to further infect the system. Trojans are known for distributing file-encrypting viruses (a.k.a. ransomware). In the case of these infections, users' privacy and stored data is at risk. Ransomware-type viruses encrypt files using various mathematical algorithms. Therefore, in most cases, restoring them without developers' help (not recommended) is impossible. In summary, chain computer infections can cause significant issues.

How did potentially unwanted programs install on my computer?

As mentioned above, Pony is promoted in various ways including spam emails containing malicious attachments (e.g., JavaScript files, MS Office documents, PDF files, etc.) By opening these attachments, users run scripts that download and install malware. Fake Flash Player updates and scam errors download and install malware rather than promoted updates/products. Adware-type applications are typically distributed using "bundling" and intrusive advertising. "Bundling" is stealth installation of PUPs together with regular apps. Developers hide "bundled" programs within "Custom/Advanced" settings or other sections of the download/installation processes. Many users rush and skip these procedure steps and are also likely to click advertisements. This behavior often leads to inadvertent installation of potentially unwanted programs.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

To prevent this situation, be very cautious when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing software. Think twice before opening files attached to emails. If messages are sent from suspicious/unrecognizable email addresses, delete them immediately and certainly do not open any attachments. Furthermore, keep installed applications up-to-date and use a legitimate anti-virus software, however, since criminals proliferate malware via fake updaters, we recommend that you use implemented update functions or tools provided by the official developer only. It is also very important to carefully analyze each window of the download/installation dialogs and opt-out of all additionally-included programs. Third party downloaders/installers are often monetized using the "bundling" method. Therefore, these tools should not be used. Download your apps from official sources only, using direct download links. Intrusive advertisements usually seem legitimate, but when clicked redirect to dubious sites (gambling, adult dating, pornography, etc.) If you experience these redirects, immediately remove all dubious applications and browser plug-ins. Having a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running is also paramount. The key to computer safety is caution.

Another spam email distributing Pony virus:

Pony virus distributing spam email

Malicious .doc file distributing Pony virus:

Pony virus distributing doc file

Sample of Pony malware in Task Manager:

Pony virus in Task Manager

Instant automatic removal of Pony malware: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Reimage Repair is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of Pony malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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Quick menu:

Removal of potentially unwanted programs:

Windows 7 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.

Windows XP users:

Accessing Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP

Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.

Windows 10 and Windows 8 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose Programs and Features.

Mac OSX users:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.

Pony adware uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window, look for any suspicious/recently-installed applications, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted program, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

Remove rogue extensions from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove potentially unwanted browser add-ons:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing rogue extensions from Internet Explorer step 1

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for any recently-installed suspicious browser extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".

Removing rogue extensions from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the pony malware, reset your Internet Explorer settings to default.

Windows XP users: Click Start, click Run, in the opened window type inetcpl.cpl In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows XP

Windows Vista and Windows 7 users: Click the Windows logo, in the start search box type inetcpl.cpl and click enter. In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 7

Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.

Reseting Internet Explorer settings to default in Windows 8 - accessing

In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - Internet options advanced tab

Click the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - click the Reset button in the Internet options advanced tab

Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - confirm settings reset to default by clicking the reset button

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing rogue extensions from Google Chrome step 1

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, select these entries and click the trash can icon.

Removing rogue extensions from Google Chrome step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the pony malware, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.

Google Chrome settings reset step 1

After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 2

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 3

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing rogue extensions from Mozilla Firefox step 1

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click "Extensions", in the opened window, remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.

Removing rogue extensions from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with pony malware removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.

Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

removing adware from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....

removing adware from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge logoRemove malicious add-ons from Microsoft Edge:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the three horizontal dots icon edge more icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Look for any recently-installed suspicious extensions, right click your mouse on these entries and click "Uninstall".

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 2

Optional method:

Click the three horizontal dots icon edge more icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), and select Settings.

Resetting Microsoft Edge settings step 1

In the opened tab, click the "Choose what to clear" button.

Resetting Microsoft Edge settings step 2

Click Show more and select everything, and then click the "Clear" button.

Resetting Microsoft Edge settings step 3

  • If this didn't help, please follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset Microsoft Edge browser.

Summary:

declining installation of adware while downloading free software sampleCommonly, adware or potentially unwanted applications infiltrate Internet browsers through free software downloads. Note that the safest source for downloading free software is via developers' websites only. To avoid installation of adware, be very attentive when downloading and installing free software. When installing previously-downloaded free programs, choose the custom or advanced installation options – this step will reveal any potentially unwanted applications listed for installation together with your chosen free program.

Removal assistance:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove pony malware from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

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