What is WikiNow?
WikiNow is adware-type software endorsed as a tool for quick access to the Wikipedia online encyclopedia and Wiki information/content repositories. Following successful installation, WikiNow runs intrusive advertisement campaigns. I.e., it delivers various misleading and harmful ads.
Additionally, most adware-type programs collect browsing-related information. Due to the dubious methods used to proliferate this app, WikiNow is also classified as a Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA).
Adware enables the placement of pop-ups, banners, coupons, surveys, full-page and other intrusive advertisements, typically on any visited website. The delivered ads significantly diminish the browsing experience, as they overlay web page content and reduce browsing speed.
Furthermore, intrusive ads also pose a threat to device/user safety. Once clicked, they redirect to various untrusted, rogue, sale-based (of legitimate and fraudulent content), deceptive/scam, compromised and malicious sites. Some intrusive ads can even be triggered (when clicked) to execute scripts designed to download/install software (e.g. PUAs) without users' consent.
These unwanted apps have varied dangerous functionality and these functions can be in different combinations. PUAs can force-open dubious and dangerous websites. Another type called browser hijackers make modifications to browser settings and restrict/deny access to them to promote fake search engines.
The promoted search engines are seldom able to provide search results, and so they tend to redirect to (or cause redirection chains ending with) Google, Yahoo, Bing and other legitimate search engines. Most PUAs have data tracking capabilities.
They can monitor browsing activity (visited URLs, viewed web pages, searched queries, etc.) and gather sensitive information extracted from it (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). The collected data typically contains personally identifiable information.
Furthermore, this vulnerable data is then monetized by sharing with and/or selling to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). In summary, the presence of unwanted software on devices can lead to system infections, serious privacy issues, financial loss and even identity theft.
To ensure device integrity and user privacy, it is crucial to remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.
|Name||Ads by WikiNow|
|Threat Type||Adware, Unwanted ads, Pop-up Virus.|
|Supposed Functionality||Easy access to Wiki content.|
|Detection Names||Ikarus (Trojan-Downloader.JS.Agent), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/Wacatac.B!ml), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal).|
|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.
They may seem legitimate and harmless, and users are lured into download/installation and/or purchase with offers of various "useful" features, however, despite how good the advertised functionality may sound, they are usually nonoperational. This applies to most PUAs.
The only purpose of this unwanted software is to generate profit for the developers. Rather than delivering any real value, PUAs can run intrusive ad campaigns, cause redirects, hijack browsers and collect private data.
How did WikiNow install on my computer?
PUAs are often downloaded/installed together with other products. This deceptive marketing technique of pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions is called "bundling".
By rushing through download/installation of software (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps and sections, using "Quick/Express" settings, etc.) many users risk unintentionally allowing bundled content into their devices. Intrusive advertisements proliferate PUAs as well.
When clicked, the ads can execute scripts to download/install these applications without users' permission. Some PUAs (including WikiNow) have "official" download web pages from which they can be downloaded.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
You are advised to research all software before download/installation. Use only official and verified download channels. Unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, Gnutella, eMule), and other third party downloaders commonly offer harmful and bundled content, and are therefore untrusted and should be avoided.
When downloading/installing, read the terms, study all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of additional apps, tools, features, and so on. Intrusive advertisements typically seem legitimate, however, they can redirect to dubious and malicious sites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, and many others).
If you encounter ads or redirects of this kind, inspect the system and remove all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately. If your computer is already infected with WikiNow, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this adware.
Screenshot of WikiNow adware installation setup:
Screenshots of the website used to promote WikiNow 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 WikiNow?
- STEP 1. Uninstall WikiNow application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove WikiNow ads from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove 'Ads by WikiNow' from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove WikiNow extension from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
- STEP 6. Remove WikiNow adware from Internet Explorer.
WikiNow 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 "WikiNow", select this entry and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted application that causes WikiNow ads, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Remove WikiNow adware from Internet browsers:
At time of research, WikiNow 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 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 ads by wikinow, 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 ads by wikinow 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 ads by wikinow, 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.
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 ads by wikinow, 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.
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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