Groundflares Virus

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Groundflares

Groundflares is a potentially unwanted piece of software. And the reason is that Groundflares tends to spam users’ browsers with intrusive advertisements and page redirects to different webpages.

Groundflares
The Groundflares virus will display pop up ads and notifications

Groundflares also tends to tinker with the settings of the browser, be it Chrome, Firefox, Edge or some other one. And it ultimately replaces some of its elements such as the homepage address, the search engine, the new-tab page address and maybe even some of the toolbar components.

There are many different kinds of software that you might not want to have on your computer either because they are hazardous and harmful or simply because they are irritating and unpleasant to have around. In all cases of potentially unwanted software, however, understanding the most typical traits and characteristics of the said app is half the battle of dealing with it. 

Now, there are a lot of normal browser extensions that tend to do similar things but in those cases, the modifications are mainly aimed at helping the user in a certain way. With Groundflares, it’s actually the opposite. The changes to the browser are mostly unwanted since they are usually there for the sole reason of promoting different products on the users’ screens. Also, the ads and the redirects we already mentioned only further add to the overall irritation caused by Groundflares, Lookaside.fbsbx.com and Hutters.click.

The Groundflares Virus

In fact, the Groundflares virus belongs to a whole group of similar apps collectively known as browser hijackers. As we said, having a good understanding of the nature of different unwanted types of software is really important when it comes to successfully dealing with them. Therefore, if you currently have the Groundflares virus hijacker within your system and need help removing it, we advise you to have a look at the guide down below and use its instructions or the specialized removal tool in it to eliminate the unwanted app.

…and remember to remain cautious!

Browser hijackers such as the one we introduced you to in the current post are not as harmful and as dangerous as real malware threats like viruses, spyware programs, Trojan horses, rootkits, ransomware and so on. They are, in fact, mostly legitimate apps that simply tend to utilize some rather aggressive methods in order to advertise different products.

However, while all of this is mostly technically legal, you should always remain cautious around a hijacker that’s still in your system. The issue here is that the different commercial materials spammed on your screen by Groundflares may sometimes represent fake or maybe even unsafe offers and links to hazardous pages and sites. Now, this doesn’t happen all that often but is certainly still a very real possibility. This is why the best way to protect your system from potential harm is to eliminate any hijacker that may be in your system so that the obstructive (and sometimes potentially hazardous) ads cease to appear on your screen.

SUMMARY:

NameGroundflares
Type Adware/Browser Hijacker
Danger LevelMedium (nowhere near threats like Ransomware, but still a security risk)
Detection Tool

Remove Groundflares Virus

To try and remove Groundflares quickly you can try this:

  1. Go to your browser’s settings and select More Tools (or Add-ons, depending on your browser).
  2. Then click on the Extensions tab.
  3. Look for the Groundflares extension (as well as any other unfamiliar ones).
  4. Remove Groundflares by clicking on the Trash Bin icon next to its name.
  5. Confirm and get rid of Groundflares and any other suspicious items.

If this does not work as described please follow our more detailed Groundflares removal guide below.

If you have a Windows virus, continue with the guide below.

If you have a Mac virus, please use our How to remove Ads on Mac guide.

If you have an Android virus, please use our Android Malware Removal guide.

If you have an iPhone virus, please use our iPhone Virus Removal guide


Step1

Some of the steps will likely require you to exit the page. Bookmark it for later reference.

Reboot in Safe Mode (use this guide if you don’t know how to do it).

Step2

WARNING! READ CAREFULLY BEFORE PROCEEDING!

Press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC at the same time and go to the Processes Tab (the “Details” Tab on Win 8 and 10). Try to determine which processes are dangerous. 

malware-start-taskbar

Right click on each of them and select Open File Location. Then scan the files with our free online virus scanner:

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    After you open their folder, end the processes that are infected, then delete their folders. 

    Note: If you are sure something is part of the infection – delete it, even if the scanner doesn’t flag it. No anti-virus program can detect all infections. 

    Step3

    Hold together the Start Key and R. Type appwiz.cpl –> OK.

    appwiz

    You are now in the Control Panel. Look for suspicious entries. Uninstall it/them.

    Type msconfig in the search field and hit enter. A window will pop-up:

    msconfig_opt

    Startup —> Uncheck entries that have “Unknown” as Manufacturer or otherwise look suspicious.

    Step4

    Hold the Start Key and R –  copy + paste the following and click OK:

    notepad %windir%/system32/Drivers/etc/hosts

    A new file will open. If you are hacked, there will be a bunch of other IPs connected to you at the bottom. Look at the image below:

    hosts_opt (1)

    If there are suspicious IPs below “Localhost” – write to us in the comments.

    Open the start menu and search for Network Connections (On Windows 10 you just write it after clicking the Windows button), press enter.

    1. Right-click on the Network Adapter you are using —> Properties —> Internet Protocol Version 4 (ICP/IP), click  Properties.
    2. The DNS line should be set to Obtain DNS server automatically. If it is not, set it yourself.
    3. Click on Advanced —> the DNS tab. Remove everything here (if there is something) —> OK.
    DNS

    Step5
    • After you complete this step, the threat will be gone from your browsers. Finish the next step as well or it may reappear on a system reboot.

    Right click on the browser’s shortcut —> Properties.

    NOTE: We are showing Google Chrome, but you can do this for Firefox and IE (or Edge).

    browser-hijacker-taskbar-properties

    Properties —–> Shortcut. In Target, remove everything after .exe.

    Browser Hijacker Removal Instructions

    ie9-10_512x512  Remove Groundflares from Internet Explorer:

    Open IE, click  IE GEAR —–> Manage Add-ons.

    pic 3

    Find the threat —> Disable. Go to IE GEAR —–> Internet Options —> change the URL to whatever you use (if hijacked) —> Apply.

    firefox-512 Remove Groundflares from Firefox:

    Open Firefoxclick  mozilla menu  ——-> Add-ons —-> Extensions.

    pic 6


    chrome-logo-transparent-backgroundRemove Groundflares from Chrome:

    Close Chrome. Navigate to:

     C:/Users/!!!!USER NAME!!!!/AppData/Local/Google/Chrome/User Data. There is a Folder called “Default” inside:

    Rename the Folder to Backup Default

    Rename it to Backup Default. Restart Chrome.

    Step6

    Type Regedit in the windows search field and press Enter.

    Inside, press CTRL and F together and type the threat’s Name. Right click and delete any entries you find with a similar name. If they don’t show up this way, go manually to these directories and delete/uninstall them:

    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—–Random Directory. It could be any one of them – ask us if you can’t discern which ones are malicious.
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—Microsoft—-Windows—CurrentVersion—Run– Random
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—Microsoft—Internet Explorer—-Main—- Random

    If the guide doesn’t help, download the anti-virus program we recommended or try our free online virus scanner. Also, you can always ask us in the comments for help!

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    About the author

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    Violet George

    Violet is an active writer with a passion for all things cyber security. She enjoys helping victims of computer virus infections remove them and successfully deal with the aftermath of the attacks. But most importantly, Violet makes it her priority to spend time educating people on privacy issues and maintaining the safety of their computers. It is her firm belief that by spreading this information, she can empower web users to effectively protect their personal data and their devices from hackers and cybercriminals.

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