What is aa.hta? Should I remove it?

by Olivia Morelli - -
aa.hta

aa.hta – problematic executable which is related to Amazon Assistant app

aa.hta is an executable that is closely related to Amazon Assistant browser plug-in. Although it is a legitimate app produced by Amazon, its questionable distribution techniques and intrusive advertisements that might redirect users to dangerous websites have initiated serious doubts regarding the app. Beware that, by using this extension, there is a chance of getting infected with malware or having your sensitive information compromised. Users have also reported that they are struggling to eliminate Amazon Assistant aa.hta file, as the removal button is grayed out.

SUMMARY
Name aa.hta
Type Adware/PUP
Related to Amazon Assistant, 7.hta
Danger level Low to medium
Distribution Software bundling, suspicious websites
Elimination To get rid of aa.hta, download and install Reimage and perform a full system scan

Although aa.hta might be obtained after downloading Amazon Assistant from official websites, it is not the most common way how users get introduced to this file onto their PCs. Victims reported that they noticed the executable lurking the task manager after they updated MS Edge or installed Java update using automatic setting. This type of distribution is called software bundling and is often used by freeware developers (Amazon in this case).

The main problem with aa.hta is that it spams users' Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla Firefox or other browsers with endless advertisements which may be filled with offensive content leading their victims to potentially dangerous domains on the Internet. Users can also be interrupted by shopping offers, price comparisons and similar advertisements, but these offers might not always be genuine. Additionally, it can change browsers' settings without users' consent.

Some people might believe that they are infected with Amazon Assistant aa.hta virus, as some activities this unwanted application brings might look extremely malicious. For example, in some cases, as soon as users start up their computers they can often see multiple pop-up windows that keep re-opening every 10-30 seconds and victims' desktop ends up being filled with empty windows indicating the following at the top:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Amazon\Amazon Assistant\aa.hta. 

This process is repeated continually; thus, no wonder that users try to find aa.hta removal solutions. Nevertheless, this app is not a virus so security software will not detect it. However, you can uninstall the program manually and get rid of all its related problems. Find out how at the bottom of this article.

aa.hta appearance in the Task Manager might also be an indication of a severe malware infection. Viruses, especially trojan horses, are known to replace original program or system files to prevent detection. You should be especially worried if you see several instances of aa.hta running. Regardless of symptoms, you should scan your machine with Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes and make sure that no malicious program is polluting your PC.

Unwanted applications enter machines without users' consent

Most users who complained about modifications to their browsers and system settings reported that they never installed additional applications themselves. It is not surprising, as most unwanted apps infiltrate machines as optional components in software bundles. This method allows freeware and shareware developers to inject unwanted apps into users' devices and earn revenue for every install made.

To avoid that, you should be more attentive when downloading and installing free software from the internet. The key is not to rush the installation of a new program and pick Advanced or Custom installation settings. This way you will be able to get rid of all the optional components before the installation of the desired app is complete. Despite recommendations, never pick Recommended or Quick installation mode.

Security researchers also urge users not to carelessly open spam emails or browse websites of dubious content, including porn, gambling, file-sharing and other domains.

Uninstall aa.hta safely

In case aa.hta executable is a virus (remember that the virus might be difficult to recognize), we recommend you download and install security software – Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes. These programs can find and eliminate even the most stubborn malware infections. What is more, this process also takes only a few minutes to complete. Additionally, if aa.hta virus has been bothering you for awhile, there is a high chance that you contaminated your machine with other PUPs.

Nevertheless, you can also remove aa.hta manually. For a simple guide, please follow our Amazon Assistant virus removal guide

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is a recommended tool to scan your system for possible threats and crappy software. The trial version of the product will find harmful applications in your system.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Malwarebytes.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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