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How to uninstall SketchBall adware and remove the adverts it delivers?

Also Known As: Ads by SketchBall
Type: Adware
Damage level: Medium

What is SketchBall?

SketchBall, also known as SnetchBall, is a piece of rogue software classified as adware. It operates by running intrusive advertisement campaigns. In other words, this application delivers various misleading, deceptive, and malicious ads.

Additionally, most adware-types have data tracking abilities, which are employed to spy on users' browsing habits and collect private data. Since most users download/install SketchBall, it is also deemed to be a PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application).

SketchBall adware installation folder

Adware enables the placement of third-party graphical content, typically on any visited website. This software delivers pop-ups, banners, coupons, surveys, full-page, and other intrusive ads. These adverts seriously diminish the browsing experience.

Furthermore, upon being clicked, intrusive advertisements redirect to untrustworthy/malicious sites and some can download/install software (e.g., PUAs) without user consent. Potentially unwanted apps can have a variety of heinous functionalities, and these functions can be in different combinations.

For example, these applications can force-open dangerous websites and/or deliver intrusive advert campaigns. Most PUAs can track and gather data. Information of interest includes: URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, IP addresses, geolocations, and even personally identifiable details.

The collected data is then shared with and/or sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals). To summarize, presence of unwanted software on devices - can lead to system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.

Therefore, it is strongly recommended to eliminate all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by SketchBall
Threat Type Adware, Unwanted ads, Pop-up Virus
Detection Names (installer) Avast (Win32:AdwareX-gen [Adw]), BitDefender (Application.DealAlpha.2.Gen), ESET-NOD32 (Multiple Detections), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.Win32.Vosteran.), Microsoft (Trojan:Script/Phonzy.A!ml), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Detection Names (application) BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Ursu.843485), Fortinet (PossibleThreat), Malwarebytes (Malware.AI.4028135232), McAfee (Artemis!9EB1AE7D345F), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/Woreflint.A!cl), 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.
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Clear HistoryTrash the Cache, and Application are a couple examples of adware-type apps. They appear legitimate and harmless. Users are lured into download/installation with offers of various functionalities. However, despite how "useful" the features sound - they are usually nonoperational.

In fact, this is true of practically all PUAs. The sole purpose of unwanted software is to generate revenue for the developers; hence, functionality and user safety are irrelevant. PUAs are designed to run intrusive advertisement campaigns, cause redirects, modify browsers (browser hijackers), and gather vulnerable information.

How did SketchBall install on my computer?

PUAs are spread via download/installation setups of other programs. This deceptive marketing technique of packing ordinary software with unwanted or malicious additions - is termed "bundling". By rushing through download/installation processes (e.g., by ignoring terms, using "Easy/Express" settings, etc.) - users risk allowing bundled content into their devices.

Intrusive ads proliferate PUAs as well. Once clicked on, the adverts can execute scripts to stealthily download/install these applications. Some PUAs also have "official" promotional webpages from which they can be downloaded and/or purchased.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

It is important to research software products before download/installation and/or purchase. Additionally, only official and trustworthy download channels must be used. Dubious download sources, e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, and other third-party downloaders - commonly offer bundled content.

When downloading/installing, it is advised to read terms, study all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out from additional apps, tools, functions, etc. Intrusive advertisements appear legitimate and harmless; however, they redirect to highly questionable sites (e.g., gambling, adult-dating, pornography, and many others).

Should users encounter ads and/or redirects of this kind, they must inspect their devices and immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected. If your computer is already infected with SketchBall, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this adware.

SketchBall adware's download/installation setup:

SketchBall adware downloader/installer

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Quick menu:

SketchBall adware removal:

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.

SketchBall adware uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window, look for "SketchBall", select this entry and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted application (which causes SketchBall ads), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

Remove SketchBall adware from Internet browsers:

At time of research, SketchBall 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:

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing SketchBall  ads 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 and remove them.

Removing SketchBall ads from Google Chrome step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the ads by sketchball, 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 plugins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing SketchBall ads 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 on "Extensions", in the opened window remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.

Removing SketchBall ads from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with ads by sketchball 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 (Chromium) logoRemove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:

Removing adware from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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.

Removing adware from Microsoft Edge step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the ads by sketchball, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 1

In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 2

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.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 3

  • If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing SketchBall ads 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 SketchBall ads from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the ads by sketchball, 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

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 ads by sketchball from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

Post a comment:
If you have additional information on ads by sketchball or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Software uninstall instructions
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Ads by SketchBall QR code
Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Ads by SketchBall on your mobile device.
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