Some pieces of malware just refuse to die. They hit the scene, infect a lot of people, draw a lot of attention, and are defeated . . . but then they come back. Browser Warden is one of those pieces of malware. It serves up really annoying ads, and absolutely will not go away. If your computer’s been infected with Browser Warden, it’s time to put an end to it. Here’s how to get rid of it—permanently.
What Is Browser Warden?
Browser Warden is a piece of adware, as is its cousin Web Warden. Adware is a small program that lives on your computer and serves up a bunch of ads when you’re on the Internet. These ads can manifest as pop-ups, pop-overs, or even as links inserted into the page (you’ll notice a lot of underlined text if you have Browser Warden). As you can see from this image from MalwareTips, adware can get really annoying really fast.
You may be wondering how Browser Warden got onto your computer in the first place. Most people end up with this and other adware when they download a piece of free software. Freeware often comes bundled with a number of other apps, and those apps are often adware. You can easily download them onto your own computer without ever knowing (if you’re curious as to how this happens, check out Justin’s article on OpenCandy).
If you regularly download free software, it’s important to be extra vigilant about the apps you’re downloading. Also, remember that many sites that offer many free downloads, like Softonic and CNET, have been known to offer a lot of bundled adware with their programs. The best way to make sure you’re getting a good app is to get it from a verified app store or from a developer’s website.
How to Get Rid of Browser Warden
To finally rid yourself of this troublesome pest, you’ll need to remove the program from your computer, and then remove the browser extension from all of the browsers that it’s able to infect. This might take a while, but it’s absolutely worth it.
The first step is to remove the Browser Warden software from your computer. To do that, you’ll need to find and uninstall it. Go to Start Menu > Settings > Apps and Features and scroll through the list of apps until you find something that you don’t recognize. It might be called Browser Warden, but it could be called many other things, as well.
MalwareTips compiled this list of potentially malicious adware apps that you should uninstall: Browser Warden, Sm8mS, Discount Cow, V-bates, PriceMeter, Supra Savings, Network System Driver, FreeSoftToday, Search Assist, Re-Markable, Zombie Alert, Wajam, Coupon Server, Lollipop, HD-Total-Plus, BlockAndSurf, Safe Saver, SupTab, WebenexpV1, Lollipop, Software Updated Version, DP1815, Video Player, Convert Files for Free, Plus-HD 1.3, BetterSurf, MediaPlayerV1, PassShow, LyricsBuddy-1, PureLeads, Media Player 1.1, RRSavings, Fraveen, Websteroids, Savings Bull, TidyNetwork, Search Snacks, MediaBuzzV11, and Re-markit.
Once you’ve found the offending app, click it and the hit the Uninstall button. To see a video explanation of uninstalling apps in Windows 10 and 8, see the videos above.
Once you’ve deleted the offending apps, it’s time to clean out your browsers. We’ll start with Chrome. To remove adware from Chrome, click on the menu button at the end of the menu bar or click File > Preferences, and select Extensions from the left sidebar (or simply type “chrome://extensions” into your address bar). Scroll through the list of extensions, and delete anything that you don’t remember installing. If it looks suspicious, get rid of it by clicking the trash can displayed to the right of the extension name.
The process is similar for Firefox. Click the menu button on the menu bar, select Tools, then select the Add-Ons Manager tab. Under Extensions, find anything that looks suspicious, click it, and hit Remove.
Internet Explorer—if you’re still using it—also allows you to remove add-ons. Click on Tools or the gear icon and select Manage add-ons. Just click on the Remove button to get rid of a specific add-on. This video explains it well:
While you’re getting rid of Browser Warden, you might want to check for these other malicious extensions as well. And when you’re done, be sure to restart your browser to make sure all of your changes take effect.
Double-Check with Malwarebytes
Once you’ve taken these steps, you should be free of Browser Warden. Just to be sure, though, it’s a good idea to run a check with an anti-malware app like Malwarebytes, which is available for free. It’ll sweep your system looking for Browser Warden and similar malware, helping you keep your computer clean.
Download the software from Malwarebytes, run it, and clean up anything that it finds.
Now that you’ve gotten the offending files off of your computer, you should be in the clear. Just make sure to be more careful when you’re downloading free software next time! Look up reviews, avoid sites like Softonic and CNET, and keep an eye on the files installed on your computer to see if anything snuck in with your new software. Check the Apps and Features window and your browser extensions regularly for programs that you didn’t install, and get rid of them.
Have you dealt with Browser Warden before? Did you manage to get rid of it? Share your experiences below!
Image Credits:89/365 aaAAAaaaaAhhHhHhHh!! by Pascale PirateChickan via Flickr