Web Companion Unwanted Application
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is Web Companion?
Developed by Adaware (previously known as Lavasoft), the Web Companion application is antivirus-type software designed to protect computers from malware infections and privacy breaches. In fact, it is categorized as a potentially unwanted application (PUA) due to the way developers distribute it.
Apps of this type are often installed by users inadvertently, thus allowing the software to make changes to browser settings.
During installation of Web Companion, the installer demands permission to make changes to browser settings. Many users skip software installation steps and agree to everything, unaware of the risks. At time of research, Web Companion's installer promoted the Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo search engines.
Therefore, giving permission to change browser settings will result in the default search engine, new tab URL, and homepage options being assigned to one of these websites. As mentioned above, this app is classified as a PUA, since developers promote it using deceptive methods such as "bundling".
Therefore, it is often installed unintentionally. Do not trust applications distributed using deceptive methods. Although Web Companion is not a malicious program, many PUAs are distributed in packs that might include adware and browser hijackers.
|Name||Web Companion potentially unwanted application|
|Threat Type||PUP (potentially unwanted program), PUA (potentially unwanted application)|
|Detection Names||DrWeb (Program.Unwanted.3914), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/WebCompanion.C Potentially Unwanted), Fortinet (Riskware/WebCompanion), Sophos AV (Generic PUA BJ (PUA)), Full List (VirusTotal)|
|Symptoms||A program that you don't recall installing suddenly appeared on your computer. New application is performing computer scans and displays warning messages about found issues. Asks for payment in order to eliminate the supposedly found errors.|
|Distribution methods||Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers.|
|Damage||Monetary loss (unnecessary purchase of fake software), unwanted warning pop-ups, slow computer performance.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
Many apps are distributed using "bundling" and other similar methods. Examples include Lowe Registry Cleaner, Power PC Care 2018, and Advance PC Protector. Generally, these apps are promoted as providing 'useful' tools, features, and so on, however, few provide the functionality promised.
Most cause problems and diminish browsing quality, cause unwanted redirects, deliver ads, etc.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
The official website can be used to download Web Companion, however, if it was installed unintentionally, this probably happened when software developers employed the "bundling" method (mentioned above). Bundling is a deceptive marketing method used to trick people into installing potentially unwanted apps together with other software.
Developers hide these apps in "Custom", "Advanced", and other similar settings/options of the download or installation set-ups. Information about the inclusion of PUAs within set-ups is not properly disclosed. They can easily go unnoticed, especially if the installation/download steps are skipped and all settings left unchanged.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
When installing or downloading software, check all "Advanced", "Custom" and other similar settings/options, deselect (opt-out of) unwanted applications and only then finish the download/installation process. Avoid using third party software downloaders, torrents or other peer-to-peer networks, and unofficial or/and untrustworthy sources to download software.
Use only official channels (websites) and direct links. Bear in mind that cyber criminals invest time and money into ad design and, therefore, most intrusive advertisements will seem legitimate. Once clicked, however, they often redirect to unwanted/untrustworthy websites such as pornography, gambling, adult dating, and so on.
If you experience these redirects, or ads that cause them, check for unwanted extensions, add-ons, and plug-ins installed on your browser.
Also check the list of installed programs on your computer. Remove any suspicious/unwanted entries. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.
Screenshot of Web Companion unwanted application:
Web Companion installation setup:
Web Companion installer offering to change browser settings:
Deceptive free software installer bundling Web Companion unwanted application:
Web Companion process in Windows Task Manager:
Example of an ad that is used to promote Web Companion extension:
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 Web Companion?
- STEP 1. Uninstall deceptive applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove malicious plug-ins from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove rogue extensions from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove potentially unwanted plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue extensions from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Removal of potentially unwanted applications:
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 "Web Companion" and other suspicious/recently-installed applications, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted application, 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:
At time of research, Web Companion did not install any unwanted browser extensions, however, some unwanted applications are installed together with adware and browser hijackers. If you experience unwanted ads or unwanted redirects when browsing the internet, continue with the removal guide below.
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 web companion 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 web companion 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 web companion 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 web companion 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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