What is Pinaview and How to Get Rid of It

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What is Pinaview?

Proxyware Trojan Pinaview tries to present itself as a helpful utility, full of useful features any user should want (at least according to the marketing), but in reality, it is a simple gimmick program. It is said to enable picture-in-picture mode in Windows, but the OS already has this feature. In reality, the supposed functionality of Pinaview serves the sole purpose of persuading users to install it without realizing that they are letting malware into their systems.

Pinaview task process
The Pinaview virus as a task process in Task Manager

After being installed, Pinaview does appear to provide some functionality to the user, but only barely so. Still, this convinces most users that it is probably nothing more than a PUP and there’s no reason to worry. In reality, the true goal of this malware is converting the user’s computer to a proxyware gateway. This way, Pinaview can let other users or organizations route internet traffic through the user’s device and share its internet connection without consent.

On another note, the unauthorized sharing of your internet by Pinaview reveals significant additional risks. For example, if someone is linked to your Internet and commits illegal acts, your IP address will be identified as a distributor. The sharing of bandwidth also noticeably reduces internet performance, which will often decrease your Internet speed to a crawl.

pinaview site
Pinaview’s official site.

Pinaview’s limited functionality also shows that its creators either have very low standards or are well-aware of the fact that their application is actual malware. In both instances, removing this software is the recommended action, so you should make sure to get it deleted from your machine ASAP.

It must be noted that Pinaview technically informs the user about its true goal in its license agreement, but people rarely pay this much attention to a program’s documentation. Besides, even if the practices of this program are stated in its EULA, this doesn’t make them any less underhanded, especially considering the program itself is next to useless and often gets distributed in misleading ways.

pinaview terms of use
Pinaview informing you about its ability to use your PC as an exit node through which its partners can route their traffic.

Is Pinaview Dangerous?

Although we define it as malware, Pinaview isn’t the most threatening program out there. It is sketchy for sure, and it does things in your PC that it shouldn’t be allowed to, but at least the chances of it directly harming your files or stealing your data are low. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the software should be allowed to function on your PC.

The fact that this app is able to secretly run unwanted process on your system means you can never fully trust it. Also, as we mentioned, the proxyware nature of this program means others can route their traffic through your PC. This introduces all sorts of risks to your virtual privacy and security. Before you know it, a more dangerous malware could enter your machine, or someone might attempt to steal sensitive data from your PC and then blackmail you.

Pinaview Reddit user thread

Now, we ought to say that having your PC be used by a proxyware program like Pinaview doesn’t mean anyone has direct access to the computer. Generally, the stuff stored on your hard drives should still be mostly safe. However, your IP address, geolocation, and online activities could be exposed to nefarious third-parties and this could, in turn, make it more likely for hackers to directly target your computer.

The takeaway from this section is that Pinaview, while not directly damaging or harmful, should still be seen as a major security risk. Because of this, you shouldn’t waste any time and see to its prompt removal.

What Does Pinaview Do in Your Computer?

If you actually take your time to read the app’s EULA, you’ll get a pretty good idea of what exactly it does in your machine. Upon installation, the end-user license agreement mentions “sharing some internet traffic” under the Global Hub SDK. In layman’s terms, this means the program effectively transforms your computer into a node for routing internet traffic. This leads to several issues:

Pinaview monopolizes your bandwidth. This considerably reduces your internet speed to the point you may not be able to perform regular online activities. We are talking about browsing or streaming videos and music. And let’s not even talk about downloading – you’d be lucky if you manage to download a single gigabyte in an hour. What’s even worse is that, if you’re on a data plan, Pinaview can rapidly consumes your data, potentially racking up outrageous charges. 

pinaview system tray
The Pinaview icon in the Windows system tray.

On top of everything, it can be quite challenging to stop. Pinaview runs in the background and probably has made changes in the system that ensure you won’t be able to stop it by simply killing its process. But an additional problem with these system changes is that they can make your PC vulnerable to other threats – Trojans, Ransomware, worms, you name it.

Thus, if there is Pinaview or anything similar on the device, the application must be eliminated. After all, it not only does it not enhance your experience, but it actually actively worsens it by siphoning off your bandwidth and undermining your digital protection. The most dreadful aspect is that it is probably “legal” on a technicality, so your antivirus may not view it as a threat. Nevertheless, if you are reading this text, it means you are aware of your problem with PInaview and can now do something about it.

Pinaview Can Hijack Your Browser

In addition to turning your PC into a node for routing Internet traffic that can be used by who knows who, Pinaview could display several other unpleasant characteristics. Some users who have faced this app report that it introduced unpleasant changes to their browsers, such as installing unwanted extensions and replacing their homepage and default search engine. 

Pinaview Reddit thread

When the users tried to restore the preferred settings of their browsers, they got the “Managed by your organization” message that prevented them from making settings changes. Also, all searches get redirected through a sequence of intermediate rogue pages before landing on a Yahoo or Bing search results page. All of this shows that, aside from operating as a proxyware, Pinaview also has browser-hijacking abilities, giving you yet another reason to seek its immediate removal.

How Did Pinaview Enter Your PC?

One thing that’s unusual for an unwanted app/malware like Pinaview is that it actually has a website from where you can download it directly. However, if you have Pinaview on your PC at the moment, chances are that you didn’t get it from there. Most people get this software from file bundles – those are program installers that have several programs and apps included in them. Normally, a file bundle will install one main program – the one that the user actually wants – and one or more additional “bonus” ones that are typically unwanted and, sometimes, possibly dangerous.

Technically, Pinaview can be attached to any program installer, but in our research, we determined that most of the time, the rogue software is bundled with stuff downloaded from the Steamunlocked torrent site. Needless to say, we strongly advise against downloading anything from Steamunlocked or from any other torrent site. In fact, Pinaview is one of the less problematic malware apps you could get from downloading torrents.

Pinaview Reddit user complain

All in all, if you are presently dealing with Pinaview, you should carefully think about what you’ve downloaded recently. Note that, in some cases, downloads can occur without you realizing it. For instance, if you’ve clicked on a sketchy link or pop-up from a suspicious website, you could have unknowingly downloaded Pinaview.

You may also have another rogue app – Viewndow – on your PC alongside if Pinaview is installed there. This is basically the same app under a different name. It has the same lackluster functionality and performs the same unwanted background processes. Therefore, if you see it on your computer, make sure to remove it as well. Another thing you may also notice in your Task Manager is Atruic Service which is a Trojan cryptominer process. It’s a piece of malware that often travels together with Pinaview and should also be removed.

SUMMARY:

NamePinaview
TypeTrojan
Danger LevelHigh (Trojans are often used as a backdoor for Ransomware)
Detection Tool

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*Source of claim SH can remove it.

How to remove Pinaview?

The removal of Pinaview requires you to explore different parts of your system and carefully clean every location and system setting that may carry the mark of this app. Be sure to perform the next steps as they are shown and in the same order. Also, remember that you’ll be completing the guide at your own risk and we can’t be held responsible if something goes wrong. If you don’t feel confident enough to manually remove this malware, we recommend using SpyHunter – a professional malware-removal software capable of finding and eliminating the rogue program on your computer.

Delete Rogue Installs

As mentioned, the most likely reason you have Pinaview at the moment is that you have recently installed (knowingly or not) a file bundle that contained the malware. Therefore, your first task now is to find and delete any suspicious apps currently present on your computer.

  1. First, search for “Apps & Features” in the Start Menu, open it, and look at the list of programs.
  2. Search the list for “Pinaview” and if you find it, click its name, then click the Uninstall option, and follow the prompts. 
  3. Sort the list of apps by installation date to see the most recent installs at the top.
  4. Look for other suspicious software (like Viewndow) that you don’t think should be on your PC and that could be linked to Pinaview.
  5. If you see anything questionable, click it, select Uninstall, and perform the uninstallation.
uninstall pinaview app
Search for and delete any apps potentially linked to Pinaview.

Many users report getting the error:225 message when they attempt to do this. If you get the same error, proceed with the next steps and try again after you complete them.

Clean the Task Manager

If you manage to find and quit the rogue Pinaview process and delete its data, you will be very close to fully removing this malware from your PC. Here’s how to do this:

  1. Start by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open your Task Manager, and then click the More details option if not all process are shown.
  2. Then look for the Pinaview process (usually with a red heart icon), and right-click it. Open Properties > Security > Advanced, select the Disable Inheritance option, and then click OK.
  3. Once again right-click the process, open its File location folder, and delete all contents of said folder. 
  4. It’s possible that you may not be allowed to delete one or more of the components there. In this case, download Lock Hunter, install it, and then right-click each locked component. Select the “What’s locking this file/folder?” button, and then click “Delete it”.
  5. Following this, right-click the Pinaview process a third time and select the End Task option to end it.

Finally, make sure to look around the other processes – sort them by CPU and Memory usage to make finding suspicious ones easier. If you notice any questionable entries (Atruic Service, Viewndow, etc.) that consume too much of either resource, perform on them the previous steps (2 to 5).

Clean the System Settings

As we said in the article, Pinaview has probably made changes in different parts of your system, so revoking them is important to securing your computer. This will also ensure that the malware doesn’t automatically come back to your PC in the future.

  1. Back in the Task Manager, check the Startup tab. If you see Pinaview, Viewndow, or anything else that’s questionable, select it, click on Disable, and then on OK.
  2. Next, in your Start Menu, search for and open the Task Scheduler.
  3. Click the Task Scheduler Library (top-left) and search the list of tasks that appear for Pinaview entries or other suspicious items.
  4. If anything looks like it shouldn’t be there, right-click it and select Delete.
  5. Lastly, search for regedit in the Start Menu, right-click on the first item, click Run as Administrator, and select Yes.
  6. In the next window, open Edit > Find, and type Pinaview in the box.
  7. Click Find next and if an item is found, delete it. Search again and delete all consecutive items that are found until there are no more Pinaview entries.
  8. Then search for Viewndow and do the same thing with any related items.
pinaview registry editor
You need to search for and delete any Pinaview items from your system’s Registry.

This should take care of any remnants of the malware on your PC. However, you still need to ensure your browsers are also clean.

Clean Your Browsers

As we said, Pinaview may also gain access to and modify your browsers. Therefore, you must also check each of them for unwanted changes and restore it to its previous state if Pinaview has hijacked it.

First, we’ll start with Chrome:

  1. Click the three-dots menu, go to Settings, and click Extensions in the left panel
  2. See what extensions are installed in Chrome and remove all extensions that you don’t recognize, don’t need, or don’t remember installing.
  3. Go back to Settings, open Privacy and Security from the left, and click on Clear Browsing Data
  4. Make sure you are on the Advanced Tab, check everything except Passwords and other sign-in data, and click the Clear Data button.
  5. Then scroll down to Site Settings, and, one-by-one, check each Permissions and Content category for sites that you don’t trust. If you find any unknown or untrusted sites, click the three dots next to their entries, and click Remove.
  6. Now go to Appearance from the left and see if there’s a custom URL written in the Home button section. If there is, and you don’t recognize it, delete it.
  7. Next, visit the Search Engine tab, make sure that the default search engine is the one you want, and then go to Manage Search Engines.
  8. Look for unknown and questionable search engines and if you find anything, click the three dots next to it, and click Remove.

To ensure Chrome is fully cleaned, head over to the “On Startup” tab and see if the third option is selected there. If you spot any odd-looking URLs listed, go ahead and remove those as well.

Next, we’ll show you how to clean Firefox:

  1. First click the puzzle icon in the top-right, then click Manage Extensions, and delete any unwanted or unfamiliar ones.
  2. Next, click the three horizontal lines in the top-right, access Settings, and open the Home tab. See if there are any unusual URLs added to the Homepage, New Windows, and New Tabs settings and if so, delete them.
  3. Then go to the Search tab and make sure that the default search engine is the one you want.
  4. Scroll down to the table of search engines that Firefox can use, and if you see anything fishy there, select it, and then select Remove.
  5. Go to Privacy and Security, scroll down until you get to Cookies and Site Data, and click on Clear Data. Make sure that both boxes are checked and click on Clear.

Lastly, don’t forget to go down to the Permissions section, open the Settings of each category, and remove any questionable URLs.

Finally, here’s how to clean the Edge browser:

  1. In Microsoft Edge, go to the three-dots menu and click on Extensions.
  2. Click on the Manage extensions button in the pop-up that appears.
  3. On the next page, look for suspicious extensions and delete anything you find.
  4. Open the Edge menu again and click on Settings.
  5. Go to the Privacy tab, click on Choose what to clear under Clear Browsing Data, leave only Passwords unchecked, and click on Clear Now.
  6. Scroll down to the bottom of this section, and click on Address bar and search.
  7. Change the default search engine if you don’t want or trust the current one, then click on Manage search engines.
  8. If you see anything sketchy there, click its three-dots menu and click Remove.
  9. Check the Start, Home, and New Tabs section for suspicious URLs that need to be deleted.

Finally, go down to Cookies and site permissions, check the various permissions categories for any suspicious sites, and delete anything unwanted that you find.

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About the author

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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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