What is PixelSee?
While inspecting rogue websites, our research team found a page promoting the PixelSee application. It is endorsed as a free media player.
However, due to the app's dubious promotion and potentially unmentioned undesirable functionalities, it is classed as a PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application). It is likely that this piece of software tracks user data, and it may have other harmful abilities. Additionally, freeware and PUAs are often bundled with unwanted/hazardous software.
Potentially unwanted application overview
Potentially unwanted applications are designed to generate revenue for their developers; they might do so by promoting in-app purchases, showing ads, causing redirects, and collecting data.
The pop-up displayed following PixelSee's installation indicated that the app would use the device's resources. It did not specify them, but did state that the resources would not be used for storage or cryptocurrency mining purposes and that the application will not collect personal information.
Regardless of the data PixelSee gathers, it will be shared with or sold to third-parties. The information may only reach legitimate parties – however, there are no guarantees that that will continue to be the case.
The pop-up window also provided users with an option to deny the resource usage and instead – allow PixelSee to display advertisements.
Software that is supported through advertising (i.e., enabling the placement of ads on various interfaces) is categorized as adware. It is pertinent to mention that some adware-types can also force-open webpages and gather private data.
Note that both adware and PUAs usually have data-tracking functionalities. Targeted information may include: browsing and search engine histories, IP addresses, Internet cookies, usernames/passwords, credit card numbers, and so on.
In summary, the presence of an unwanted application on the device may result in decreased system performance, system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Name||PixelSee potentially unwanted application|
|Threat Type||PUP (potentially unwanted program), PUA (potentially unwanted application)|
|Supposed Functionality||Media player|
|Detection Names (installer)||Combo Cleaner (Application.Agent.KYP), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/MediaGet.AO Potentia), Fortinet (Riskware/MediaGet), Malwarebytes (PUP.Optional.PixelSee), Microsoft (PUABundler:Win32/MediaGet), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Detection Names (app)||N/A (VirusTotal)|
|Symptoms||A program that you do not recall installing suddenly appeared on your computer. Seeing advertisements not originating from the sites you are browsing. Intrusive pop-up ads. Decreased system performance.|
|Distribution Methods||Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling).|
|Damage||Monetary loss (unnecessary purchase of fake software), unwanted pop-ups, slow computer performance, privacy issues.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
Potentially unwanted application examples
PUAs typically appear legitimate and offer a wide variety of functionalities. However, it is often the case that these features are merely bait to trick users into download/installation or purchase. Keep in mind that even if a piece of software operates as indicated by its promotional material – that is not a guarantee of its legitimacy or safety.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
We downloaded PixelSee from its "official" promotional page. In addition to such sites, PUAs are pushed through scam webpages. Most users access such sites via redirects caused by pages using rogue advertising networks, mistyped URLs, spam browser notifications, intrusive ads, or installed adware (with browser force-opening capabilities).
"Bundling" – packing ordinary program installers with unwanted/malicious additions – is used to proliferate PUAs as well. Downloading from dubious channels (e.g., freeware and third-party websites, P2P sharing networks, etc.) and rushing through installation processes (e.g., skipping steps, using "Easy/Express", etc.) – increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the device.
Additionally, intrusive adverts spread PUAs. When clicked on, some of these advertisements can execute scripts to perform downloads/installations without user permission.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
We highly recommend researching software before downloading/installing and/or purchasing it. Furthermore, all downloads must be performed from official and verified sources. It is just as important to approach installation with care, e.g., by reading terms, exploring possible options, using the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings, and opting out of all supplementary apps, extensions, tools, etc.
We also advise being vigilant while browsing since fake and malicious online content typically appears legitimate and innocuous. For example, intrusive ads may look harmless yet redirect to unreliable/questionable sites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult dating, etc.).
Should you keep experiencing adverts/redirects of this kind, inspect the device and immediately remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.
Websites used to promote the PixelSee application:
Installation setup of the PixelSee application:
Pop-up displayed after PixelSee application's installation:
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 PixelSee?
- STEP 1. Uninstall deceptive applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove rogue extensions from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove potentially unwanted plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove rogue extensions from Safari.
- STEP 5. 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 "PixelSee" 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, PixelSee did not install any unwanted browser extensions, however, some unwanted applications can be installed together with adware and browser hijackers. If you experience unwanted ads or redirects when browsing the Internet, continue with the removal guide below.
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 extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the pixelsee 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 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 all recently-installed suspicious extensions, click on the three dots and then click "Remove".
Computer users who have problems with pixelsee 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 pixelsee 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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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the purpose of an unwanted application?
Unwanted applications aim to generate revenue for their developers. Common monetization techniques include promoting in-app purchases, displaying ads, force-opening webpages, collecting sensitive information, and so forth.
Is PixelSee unwanted application legal?
Typically, unwanted applications are considered legal due to their End User License Agreements (EULA) informing users about their potential behavior.
Is having PixelSee installed on my computer dangerous?
Having PixelSee installed may decrease system performance and/or be a privacy concern. This application does collect information and may display advertisements. However, its presence could pose more significant threats, especially if this app is installed alongside harmful software (e.g., adware, browser hijackers, etc.).
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove PixelSee unwanted application?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan devices and remove detected unwanted/malicious applications. It must be mentioned that manual removal (unaided by security software) might be ineffective. In some cases, even after an unwanted app is removed – various file leftovers remain hidden within the system. Furthermore, the remnants may continue to run and cause problems. Therefore, it is paramount to eliminate software thoroughly.