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Stairway to Savings Virus

Also Known As: Stairway to Savings Ads
Type: Adware
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

Stairway to Savings removal instructions

What is Stairway to Savings?

Developed by Engaging Apps, Stairway to Savings is a rogue browser extension claiming to save time and money by enabling coupons, comparison shopping, and displaying discounts/special offers available on shopping websites. While this functionality may seem legitimate, be aware that this extension is categorized as adware or a potentially unwanted application. Stairway to Savings employs a deceptive software marketing method called 'bundling' to install on Internet browsers (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome) without users' consent. Following successful infiltration, this potentially unwanted browser extension tracks users' Internet browsing activity and generates intrusive online advertisements.

Stairway to Savings virus

These advertisements including search, text-link, interstitial, sponsored link, targeted video, and pop-up ads. There is a high probability that clicking these ads will cause high-risk adware or malware infections. In addition, this rogue browser add-on continually monitors users' Internet browsing activity by collecting various information, which may be personally identifiable. For example: geographic locations, unique identifier numbers, URLs visited, search queries entered, pages viewed, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, and other similar details. This behavior may lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft, and therefore, users are strongly advised to uninstall Stairway to Savings from their Internet browsers.

Stairway to Savings is similar to other rogue browser extensions (such as Atomic SavingsCoupon Waterfall, and Savings Season) developed by Engaging Apps. Neither Stairway to Savings, nor any of these other browser plug-ins add any real value for the user. Their purpose is to generate revenue by the display of intrusive online advertisements. At time of research, Stairway to Savings was distributed via fake downloads (for example, Java updates, browser updates, etc.) and free software 'download clients' on freeware download sites such as download.com, soft32.com, and softonic.com

Download clients are used to monetize these websites' free services by offering installation of promoted 'virus-free' browser add-ons together with the chosen free software. Thus, careless download and installation of freeware risks computer infection with adware or malware. To avoid installation of Stairway to Savings or other potentially unwanted applications, be attentive when downloading free software and decline installation of any additional programs offered. If you are installing downloaded software, select the 'Custom' or 'Advanced' installation options - this will reveal any bundled applications listed for installation with the chosen free software, and allow you to decline them. Internet users who have already installed Stairway to Savings and observe "Ads by Stairway to Savings" advertisements when surfing the Internet, should follow this removal guide to eliminate this adware from their Internet browsers.

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Quick menu:

Stairway to Savings 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.

Stairway to Savings adware uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window: look for "Stairway to Savings", select this entry and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

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

Remove Stairway to Savings ads from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove potentially unwanted browser add-ons:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing Stairway to Savings 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 "Stairway to Savings", select this entry and click "Remove".

Removing Stairway to Savings ads from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the stairway to savings ads, 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

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing Stairway to Savings ads from Google Chrome step 1

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome options icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) select "Tools" and click on "Extensions". Locate: "Stairway to Savings", select this entry and click the trash can icon.

Removing Stairway to Savings ads from Google Chrome step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the stairway to savings ads, 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

If you are unable to remove Stairway to Savings and it is greyed-out ("Installed by enterprise policy"), follow this removal guide - how to remove a Google Chrome extension that is "Installed by enterprise policy"?

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plugins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing Stairway to Savings 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 "Stairway to Savings".

Removing Stairway to Savings ads from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with stairway to savings ads 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 stairway to savings ads, 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.

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 stairway to savings ads from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

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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
Stairway to Savings Ads QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Stairway to Savings Ads on your mobile device.
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