Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is HidenGate?
HidenGate is a deceptive application that falsely claims to provide VPN functions. On initial inspection, HidenGate may seem legitimate, however, this app is categorized as adware and a potentially unwanted application (PUA).
There are three main reasons for these negative associations: 1) installation without permission; 2) display of intrusive advertisements, and; 3) tracking of personal information.
This potentially unwanted application delivers intrusive advertisements, such as pop-ups, coupons, banners, and so on. To achieve this, developers employ various tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site. Therefore, ads often conceal underlying content, thereby significantly diminishing the browsing experience.
Furthermore, they can lead to malicious websites and execute scripts that download/install malware or PUAs. Even a single accidental click might result in high-risk computer infections. As with most adware-type apps, HidenGate gathers information relating to browsing activity (e.g., website URLs visited, pages viewed, IP addresses, etc.).
Recorded data often includes personal information that HidenGate's developers sell to third parties. These people (potentially, cyber criminals) generate revenue by misusing private information. In doing so, they pose a significant threat to your privacy. Therefore, we strongly advise you to eliminate HidenGate adware immediately.
|Name||HidenGate potentially unwanted application|
|Threat Type||Adware, Unwanted ads, Pop-up Virus|
|Symptoms||Seeing advertisements not originating from the sites you are browsing. Intrusive pop-up ads. Decreased Internet browsing speed.|
|Distribution methods||Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers.|
|Damage||Decreased computer performance, browser tracking - privacy issues, possible additional malware infections.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
HidenGate has very similar characteristics to hundreds of other adware-type apps, such as NativeDesktopMediaService, FastDataX, and GeoSmartDNS.
Most claim to enable "useful features", however, these programs are designed only to generate revenue for the developers - the claims are merely attempts to give the impression of legitimacy and trick users to install. Rather than giving any real value for regular users, adware-type applications cause unwanted redirects and gather sensitive information .
How did HidenGate install on my computer?
This adware has an official download/promotion website. Bear in mind, however, that developers proliferate it using a deceptive marketing method called "bundling" and the aforementioned intrusive advertisements. "Bundling" is essentially stealth installation of third party applications together with regular software/apps.
Developers do not disclose PUA installations properly. Most are hidden within "Custom/Advanced" settings (or other sections) of the download/installation processes.
In addition, developers often rush download/installation processes and skip steps. In addition, many users click advertisements without understanding the possible consequences. This behavior often leads to inadvertent installation of potentially unwanted applications such as HidenGate.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
To prevent system infiltration by PUAs, be very cautious when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing software. Deceptive ads typically seem legitimate, since developers invest many resources into their design, however, they ads can lead to gambling, adult dating, pornography, and other dubious websites.
If you see these advertisements, immediately remove all dubious applications and browser plug-ins. Carefully analyze each window of the download/installation dialogs and opt-out of all additionally-included programs. We recommend that you download your programs from official sources only, using direct download links.
Third party downloaders/installers are monetized using the "bundling" method. Therefore, these tools should never be used. The key to computer safety is caution. If your computer is already infected with HidenGate, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this adware.
Deceptive free software installer distributing HidenGate adware:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is HidenGate?
- STEP 1. Uninstall HidenGate application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove HidenGate adware from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove HidenGate ads from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove 'Ads by HidenGate' from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove HidenGate extension from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
HidenGate adware removal:
Windows 11 users:
Right-click on the Start icon, select Apps and Features. In the opened window search for the application you want to uninstall, after locating it, click on the three vertical dots and select Uninstall.
Windows 10 users:
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.
Windows 7 users:
Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.
macOS (OSX) users:
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.
In the uninstall programs window, look for "HidenGate", select this entry and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted application that causes HidenGate ads, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Remove HidenGate adware from Internet browsers:
At time of research, HidenGate did not install its browser plug-ins on Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox, however, it was bundled with other adware. Therefore, you are advised to remove all potentially unwanted browser add-ons from your Internet browsers.
Video showing how to remove potentially unwanted browser add-ons:
Remove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:
Click the "gear" 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".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the hidengate potentially unwanted application, 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.
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.
Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.
In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.
Click the Reset button.
Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:
Click the 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 and remove them.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the hidengate potentially unwanted application, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the 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.
After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions", in the opened window, remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.
Computer users who have problems with hidengate potentially unwanted application removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.
Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, in the opened menu, click Help.
Select Troubleshooting Information.
In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.
Remove malicious extensions from Safari:
Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....
In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...
In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.
Remove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:
Click the Edge menu icon (at the upper-right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and click "Remove" below their names.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the hidengate potentially unwanted application, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.
In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.
Select Restore settings to their default values. In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Microsoft Edge settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
- If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.
Commonly, 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.
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