Protect Surf Ads

Also Known As: Protect Surf virus
Type: Adware
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

Protect Surf removal instructions

What is Protect Surf?

Developed by Intriguing Apps, Protect Surf is a rogue browser extension claiming to enhance users' online protection by preventing malware and spyware infections when browsing malicious websites. Although this functionality may appear useful and legitimate, be aware that Protect Surf is categorized as adware or a potentially unwanted application. The developers of this rogue browser plug-in employ a deceptive software marketing method called 'bundling' to stealthily install Protect Surf on Internet browsers (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox) without users' consent. Following successful infiltration, Protect Surf generates various intrusive online advertisements including interstitial, coupon, banner, pop-up, targeted video ads, and download offers of other potentially unwanted applications also considered to be adware. There is a high probability that clicking these advertisements will lead to high-risk adware or malware infections.

Protect Surf adware

In addition, Protect Surf continually monitors users' Internet browsing activity by recording various software and hardware information such as IP addresses, unique identifier numbers, geo-locations, search queries entered into search engines (Google, Bing, etc.), URLs of websites visited, pages viewed, and other details, which may be personally identifiable. Protect Surf is similar to other rogue browser extensions such as Browsing Safeguard, BrowserWatchdog, Surf Safer, and many others. Having any of these browser extensions installed on your computer may result in serious privacy issues or identity theft, and therefore, you are strongly advised to uninstall Protect Surf from your Internet browsers.

At time of research, Protect Surf was distributed via fake downloads (Java updates, browser updates, etc.) and other adware-type applications. For example: Coupon Server and other savings and coupons related adware. Most users inadvertently install Protect Surf during download of free software via small programs called 'download clients' on freeware download websites such as download.com, soft32.com, and softonic.com Download clients are used to monetize these websites' free services by offering installation of promoted 'legitimate' browser extensions together with the chosen free software. Thus, reckless download and installation of freeware often results in adware or malware infections. To prevent installation of Protect Surf, or other potentially unwanted applications, be attentive when downloading free software and never accept installation of any additional applications offered. Furthermore, if you are installing downloaded software, select the 'Custom' or 'Advanced' installation options - this will reveal any bundled applications listed for installation and allow you to decline them. Internet users who have already installed Protect Surf adware, should follow this removal guide to eliminate it from their Internet browsers.

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Quick menu:

Protect Surf 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.

Protect Surf adware uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window, look for "Protect Surf" (or other potentially unwanted applications - at time of testing, Protect Surf ads were generated by various coupon ads showing adware), select this entry and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

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

Remove Protect Surf adware from Internet browsers:

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

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing Protect Surf 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 "Protect Surf", select this entry and click "Remove". Note that Protect Surf ads can be caused by other adware. In the Manage Add-ons window, remove all suspicious browser add-ons.

Removing Protect Surf ads from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the protect surf virus, 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 Protect Surf 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: "Protect Surf", select this entry and click the trash can icon. Note that Protect Surf ads can be caused by other adware. In the "extensions" window of Google Chrome, remove all suspicious browser extensions.

Removing Protect Surf ads from Google Chrome step 2

If you are unable to remove Protect Surf (or any other add-on) 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"?

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the protect surf virus, 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 Protect Surf 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 "Protect Surf". Note that Protect Surf ads can be generated by other adware. In the "Add-ons Manager" window, remove all suspicious browser add-ons.

Removing Protect Surf ads from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with protect surf virus 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 protect surf virus, 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 protect surf virus from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

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

tendrilpatera

this removal guide solved my problem, finally got rid of this stupid protect surf virus. ty

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
Protect Surf virus 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 Protect Surf virus on your mobile device.
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