What is darkscreen?
While inspecting questionable download webpages, our research team discovered a rogue browser extension called "darkscreen". It is promoted as a tool capable of enabling dark mode for simple design websites. However, our analysis of darkscreen revealed that it operates as advertising-supported software (adware) instead.
Darkscreen adware overview
Advertising-supported software delivers intrusive advertisement campaigns. In other words, adware enables the placement of ads on visited websites and/or different interfaces.
These adverts endorse untrustworthy/harmful sites and software, online scams, and malware. Additionally, some intrusive advertisements can make downloads/installations without user permission - upon being clicked.
While legitimate products can be encountered through these ads - they are unlikely to be promoted in this manner by their actual developers. The endorsement is usually undertaken by scammers abusing the products' affiliate programs to obtain illegitimate commissions.
It is noteworthy that advertising-supported software may not deliver adverts if certain conditions are unsuitable (e.g., incompatible browser/system specs or user geolocation, particular sites are not visited, etc.). However, regardless of whether darkscreen displays ads - its presence endangers device/user safety.
Furthermore, darkscreen spies on users' browsing activity. Targeted information can include: visited URLs, viewed webpages, searched queries, personally identifiable details, usernames/passwords, credit card numbers, etc. The collected data is then shared with and/or sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals).
To summarize, the presence of software like darkscreen on devices can lead to system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.
|Name||Ads by darkscreen|
|Threat Type||Adware, Unwanted ads, Pop-up Virus|
|Supposed Functionality||Dark mode for simple websites|
|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.
We have analyzed countless adware samples; Action Colors, Filmedia, and ClearBrowser are merely some examples. Advertising-supported software typically appears legitimate and offers "handy" features. However, these functionalities are rarely operational. Hence, not only is adware useless, but it also threatens device integrity and user privacy.
How did darkscreen install on my computer?
We acquired the darkscreen browser extension from a dubious download webpage. In addition to such sites, adware is promoted on scam pages. Most users access these webpages through redirects caused by mistyped URLs, pages using rogue advertising networks, spam browser notifications, intrusive ads, or installed adware (with browser force-opening capabilities).
Additionally, once clicked on, some intrusive advertisements can execute scripts to download/install software (adware included) stealthily.
Advertising-supported software is also proliferated using the "bundling" technique - packing regular program installers with unwanted/malicious additions. Download from untrustworthy sources (e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.) and rushed installations increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system.
How to avoid installation of adware?
We strongly recommend researching software and downloading only from official/verified channels. Furthermore, installation processes must be treated with care, e.g., by reading terms, inspecting possible options, using the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opting-out of all additions.
We advise being vigilant when browsing since fraudulent and malicious content usually appears legitimate. For example, intrusive advertisements look ordinary and innocuous, yet they redirect to highly questionable websites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult-dating, etc.).
In case of encounters with such adverts and/or redirects, check the system and immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with darkscreen, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this adware.
Screenshot of the website used to promote darkscreen adware:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT 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 darkscreen?
- STEP 1. Uninstall darkscreen application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove darkscreen ads from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove 'Ads by darkscreen' from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove darkscreen extension from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Darkscreen 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 "darkscreen", select this entry and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted application (which causes darkscreen ads), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Remove darkscreen adware from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove darkscreen adware using Combo Cleaner:
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 "darkscreen" and all other recently-installed suspicious extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the ads by darkscreen, 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 plugins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons and themes". Click "Extensions", in the opened window locate "darkscreen" and all other recently-installed suspicious extensions, click on the three dots and then click "Remove".
Computer users who have problems with ads by darkscreen 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 darkscreen, 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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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What harm can adware cause?
Adware delivers ads that diminish browsing quality and promote harmful content that can cause severe issues (e.g., system infections, financial losses, etc.). This software usually has data tracking functionalities, which make it a privacy threat.
What does adware do?
Adware stands for advertising-supported software. It displays advertisements on visited websites and/or other interfaces. Additionally, some types can force-open webpages and collect private data.
How do adware developers generate revenue?
Adware developers generate profit primarily through affiliate programs by endorsing various websites, software, products, services, etc.
Will Combo Cleaner remove darkscreen adware?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan devices and eliminate installed adware-type apps. It is pertinent to mention that manual removal (unaided by security programs) might not be ideal. In some cases, even after the adware has been (manually) removed - various remnants (files) stay hidden within the system. What is more, this leftover content can continue running and causing issues. Therefore, it is essential to eliminate advertising-supported software thoroughly.