Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)

Web Companion

Web Companion is an browser extension-like app developed by Lavasoft and it is a free tool which is supposed to help you with adware, browser hijackers and other similar unwanted software elements that can get installed in your browser and interrupt your online experience. However, ironically, Web Companion is, in fact, regarded as a PUP (potentially unwanted program) by a number of software security researchers and specialists due to a number of unpleasant traits and features that it seems to possess.

Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)

Web Companion by Lavasoft

In the next lines, we will go over the most glaring examples of why this app is actually a PUP and why you might want to uninstall it. Also, for those of you who actually have Web Companion on their machines and would like to have it taken away, we have a removal guide that we’ve posted further down this page. You can use it if you like in order to eliminate the PUP or you can resort to the recommended removal tool that’s in the guide. Using both the manual instructions from the guide and the removal program is also an option and it is actually what we’d advise you to do in order to make sure that there’s indeed nothing left of the pesky app on your computer.

What is Web Companion by Lavasoft?

First and foremost, we must make it clear what Web Companion is not. Web Companion is not a virus program – it is not a Trojan Horse infection, a Ransomware cryptovirus, a sneaky Spyware program or some other kind of malicious and illegal piece of software that can be used to harm you and your PC. On the contrary, albeit being a PUP, this program is perfectly legal and legitimate and it might even prove to be useful in a number of situations.

The reason most specialists regard it as a PUP is not because it is useless and doesn’t do what it is supposed to but because it actually uses similar techniques and has similar features to the ones that possessed by the very types of software that it is supposed to protect your browser against.

But what’s the thing about this program that really makes it unwanted?

Well, to put it simple, Web Companion functions as a browser add-on-like app – it gets installed in your browser and from there it tries to fend off different unwanted software components such as Adware and Browser Hijackers and prevent them from getting inside your browser, messing with its settings and spamming you with obnoxious ads. Web Companion also seeks to protect you against potentially hazardous web-addresses and keep you away from nay type of online content that might be regarded as questionable. So far, so good. However, and this is where the main problem is, the add-on component that Web Companion installs in your browser, in and of itself, functions very similarly to an app of the Adware or of the Browser Hijacker category. It might display ads on your screen on a regular basis, change certain elements of the browser you use such as its starting page, the search engine, the toolbar and so on. This typically happens to popular browsers like Chrome, IE and Firefox but it’s possible that it might also occur on other browsers as well. In addition to all that, Web Companion might also try to promote other products by Lavasoft and prompt you to download and install them. In many cases, the promoted products would be paid ones and if you opt for downloading them, you may also need to pay a certain amount of money to actually purchase the rights to use them. With this all in mind, it should be rather obvious why there are a lot of people out there who do not really want to have this software tool on their computers.

Avoiding PUPs in the future

Programs like Web Companion oftentimes have their official sites and users can download them from there. However, such free tools also tend to use other methods of distribution as well in order to get to as many users as possible and thus increase the profits from their ads. A very common technique used by software developers that seek to increase the number of PCs that have their products installed on them is the file-bundling method. This is when a given app is included as a bonus element in the installation package of some other program. Users can typically leave out the extra component but to do that they usually need to access the Advanced setup option from within the installation manager and manually opt out of the added/bundled component’s installation. It is very important that you do that each and every time you are about to install a new program on your computer, especially if that new program is free, so as to avoid landing some undesirable PUP.


Name Web Companion
Type  Adware/Browser Hijacker
Danger Level PUP (not particularly dangerous but still undesirable)
Symptoms  Ads and changes to your browser as well as a new add-on that you might not necessarily remember installing.
Distribution Method This app has an official site but it might also get distributed via file-bundles.
Detection Tool

Web Companion Removal

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

Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)

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).

Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)


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. 

Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)

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

Each file will be scanned with up to 64 antivirus programs to ensure maximum accuracy
This scanner is free and will always remain free for our website's users.
This file is not matched with any known malware in the database. You can either do a full real-time scan of the file or skip it to upload a new file. Doing a full scan with 64 antivirus programs can take up to 3-4 minutes per file.
Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)
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Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)
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Each file will be scanned with up to 64 antivirus programs to ensure maximum accuracy
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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. 

    Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)

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

    Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)

    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:

    Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)

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

    Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)

    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:

    Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)

    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.

    Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)

    Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)

    • 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).

    Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)

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

    Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)

    Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)  Remove Web Companion from Internet Explorer:

    Open IE, click  Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter) —–> Manage Add-ons.

    Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)

    Find the threat —> Disable. Go to Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter) —–> Internet Options —> change the URL to whatever you use (if hijacked) —> Apply.

    Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter) Remove Web Companion from Firefox:

    Open Firefoxclick  Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)  ——-> Add-ons —-> Extensions.

    Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)

    Find the adware/malware —> Remove.
    Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)Remove Web Companion from Chrome:

    Close Chrome. Navigate to:

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

    Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)

    Rename it to Backup Default. Restart Chrome.

    Web Companion (Lavasoft Imposter)

    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!


    About the author


    Brandon Skies

    Brandon is a researcher and content creator in the fields of cyber-security and virtual privacy. Years of experience enable him to provide readers with important information and adequate solutions for the latest software and malware problems.

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