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Remove Auto Purge (Virus Removal Instructions) - Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

Auto Purge extension for Chrome may expose users to potentially dangerous third-party sites

Auto Purge extension for Chrome
Auto Purge is a browser hijacker or redirects virus that can reroute users to suspicious sites

Auto Purge extension for Chrome is a tricky third-party tool that promises potential users many useful features, while in reality, it can hardly fulfill any of them. Prevent tracking of search history, stop advertisements from chasing you, and cleaning Chrome's history automatically are the three things that this tool promises to do. However, do not fall for believing it blindly because this extension has recently been classified as a browser hijacker and potentially unwanted application (PUA) due to intolerable activities. 

Based on the NoVirus.uk[1] researchers, Auto Purge has been spreading in disguise with freeware as a pre-selected component (hidden under Quick installation setup). Consequently, it reached thousands of computers without users' authorization. Its primary goal – to set sponsored Bing search instead of a default search engine, replace start page, new tab window, and other Chrome settings to make people see the content of its sponsors and take control over users' web traffic.

Thus, even though this dubious extension promises its users to disable ads and improve their online privacy, it disables original ads and replaces them with the content of its sponsors, promotes questionable third-party websites, and injects its own cookies to monitor users' web browsing activities. Therefore, it's advisable to remove Auto Purge extension from Chrome without a delay. 

Name Auto Purge
Developer Responsible LLC, registered by GoDaddy.com LLC
Classification Browser hijacker, Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP)
Compatibility The extension has been developed for Chrome. Can settle down on Windows and Macs
Distribution Direct download from the official website. Direct download from Chrome Web Store. Indirect download via freeware bundles
Symptoms If the user downloads the extension, all he or she notices – abnormal web browser's behavior:
– search.bing.com is set instead of a default search engine;
– start page and new tab windows altered without permission;
– web browser regularly reroutes to suspicious third-party websites;
– intrusive ads and pop-ups cover the original content on most of the visited websites;
– tracking cookies are installed for ongoing monitoring of browsing activities;
Danger level  Relatively low. The extension is not capable of causing direct harm to the system. The only risk that it causes – exposure to dangerous malware-infected sites
Removal options Browser hijackers target to attack web browsers. Thus, it's a must to restore the web browser's settings in the first place. After that, eliminate PUPs from the machine. Manual removal is possible, however, you can kill two birds with one stone by running a scan with a robust anti-malware tool
Recovery Each unwanted application leaves its footprint on the system. Thus, experts recommend taking care of the system and regularly optimize it with Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego software. 
Do not call Auto Purge a virus because it's not malicious. This term has no ground. However, upon the analysis, it turns out to be a regular browser hijacker and PUP that seeks to alter web browser's settings and show users distorted search results. 

The Auto Purge extension for Chrome promises to disable third-party content, including intrusive advertising and cookies that disrupt web browsing activities and interfere the privacy. The problem is that the extension is sponsored by third parties, meaning that it is programmed to show the content of its sponsored for an agreed commission fee. Here's an excerpt from the EULA[2] of the extension:

The Services may contain links to other Internet websites and services owned by third parties. Your use of each of those websites and services is subject to the conditions, if any, that each of those websites has posted. You acknowledge and agree that we have no control over websites that are not ours, and we are not responsible for any changes to and/or content on them. Our inclusion of any third-party Content or a link to a third-party website or service is not an endorsement of such third-party content or third-party site. […] Any questions, complaints, or claims related to any product or service should be directed to the appropriate third party.

The Auto Purge redirects should not be tolerated because no one knows what parties initiate them and what content is positioned behind. In the worst-case scenario, you may get exposed to phishing sites where you may be offered to participate in prize giveaways in exchange for your personal details (first name, last name, telephone number, e-mail address, home address, etc.). In addition to that, you can also be tricked into visiting malware-infected websites that spread malware like Auto Refresh, Dirty Tinder, CookieMiner, and others. 

Auto Purge virus
Auto Purge is called a virus due to intrusive Chrome's changes, redirects, and advertising

Apart from rather aggressive advertising, Auto Purge removal is recommended to improve privacy security. The extension is represented as a tool that protects privacy. On the one hand, it blocks third-party cookies. On the other hand, it enables its own cookies and web beacons to record personally non-identifiable information (PII) and then shares it with the sponsors for marketing improvements. 

  • User IP Address;
  • Search Term;
  • Ad clicked, Organic/Web results clicked & Search Engine Overridden;
  • User-Agent.

Therefore, we strongly recommend you to remove Auto Purge virus from your machine. It does not have a real value, except ambiguous activities. Luckily, it's removal is not too difficult – a manageable task for less experienced PC users. You can select either manual or automatic removal option. 

Auto Purge malware
Auto Purge extension promises its users to protect their privacy online, but, in fact, drops cookies and records users' browsing behavior by itself

Manual Auto Purge removal should be initiated in stages, i.e. PUP removal, extension removal, and full system optimization. Users can find manual elimination guidance and recommended anti-malware tools at the end of this article. Additionally, we recommend not leaving the system caches with outdated registry entries. This task can be initiated by Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego optimizer. 

Make a research on any freeware before installing it

This Chrome extension has the official download website where it is promoted in a rather appealing manner. The download costs nothing and, we believe, that people who accidentally land on this site may decide to tithe this browser-based a try. However, direct downloads are very rare.

Usually, PUPs like this are downloaded in bundled[3], which is why users often don't even realize that they have installed unwanted applications. The so-called “bundling” is a method known for ages, though for the last ten years it has been misused for distributing PUPs and other malware. 

Auto Purge download site
Auto Purge can be downloaded from the official website, Chrome Web Store, and freeware bundles

That's why it's so important to download freeware purposely and deliberately. Choose official websites if possible, download freeware by picking up the Advanced/Custom installation technique, reject the installation of additional components (add-ons, toolbars, plug-ins, etc.). 

Ways of getting rid of  Auto Purge malware

Remember that  Auto Purge virus is capable of displaying third-party content, initiated ongoing web browser's redirects, and collecting browsing-related information behind your back. Even though it cannot be called a virus, the content it returns can be misleading or even dangerous. 

Auto Purge installation setup

Therefore, we recommend people to initiate a full  Auto Purge removal as soon as it starts showing signs of presence. The easiest way to do that is to run a full scan with a robust anti-malware tool. Nevertheless, the web browser's settings will have to be restored manually. 

When you remove Auto Purge-related malware from the system, you should open the web browser and delete the extension manually. First of all, disable the extension and then delete the search engine. At best, restore the default Chrome's settings.

You may remove virus damage with a help of Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego. SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and Malwarebytes are recommended to detect potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

To remove Auto Purge, follow these steps:

Eliminate Auto Purge from Windows systems

The following list explains how to eliminate PUPs from Windows.

  1. Click Start Control Panel Programs and Features (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs). Click 'Start -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features' (if you are 'Windows XP' user, click on 'Add/Remove Programs').
  2. If you are Windows 10 / Windows 8 user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once Quick Access Menu shows up, select Control Panel and Uninstall a Program. If you are 'Windows 10 / Windows 8' user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once 'Quick Access Menu' shows up, select 'Control Panel' and 'Uninstall a Program'.
  3. Uninstall Auto Purge and related programs
    Here, look for Auto Purge or any other recently installed suspicious programs.
  4. Uninstall them and click OK to save these changes. Right click on each of suspicious entries and select 'Uninstall'
  5. Remove Auto Purge from Windows shortcuts
    Right click on the shortcut of Mozilla Firefox and select Properties. Right click on browsers' icon and select 'Properties'
  6. Go to Shortcut tab and look at the Target field. Delete malicious URL that is related to your virus. Select 'Shortcut' tab and delete 'http://isearch.babylon.com...' or other suspicious URL

Repeat steps that are given above with all browsers' shortcuts, including Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. Make sure you check all locations of these shortcuts, including Desktop, Start Menu and taskbar.

Delete Auto Purge from Mac OS X system

Mac users can also get infected by Auto Purge. In this case, follow this tutorial to remove it.

  1. If you are using OS X, click Go button at the top left of the screen and select Applications. Cick 'Go' and select 'Applications'
  2. Wait until you see Applications folder and look for Auto Purge or any other suspicious programs on it. Now right click on every of such entries and select Move to Trash. Click on every malicious entry and select 'Move to Trash'

Uninstall Auto Purge from Internet Explorer (IE)

  1. Remove dangerous add-ons
    Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top right corner of the browser and choose Manage Add-ons. Click on menu icon and select 'Manage add-ons'
  2. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for Auto Purge and other suspicious plugins. Disable these entries by clicking Disable: Right click on each of malicious entries and select 'Disable'
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the gear icon (menu) on the top right corner of the browser and select Internet Options. Stay in General tab.
  4. Here, remove malicious URL and enter preferable domain name. Click Apply to save changes. Delete malicious URL, enter your desired domain name and click 'Apply' to save changes
  5. Reset Internet Explorer
    Click on the gear icon (menu) again and select Internet options. Go to Advanced tab.
  6. Here, select Reset.
  7. When in the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete Auto Purge removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again

Get rid of Auto Purge from Microsoft Edge

Reset Microsoft Edge settings (Method 1):

  1. Launch Microsoft Edge app and click More (three dots at the top right corner of the screen).
  2. Click Settings to open more options.
  3. Once Settings window shows up, click Choose what to clear button under Clear browsing data option. Go to Settings and select 'Choose what to clear'
  4. Here, select all what you want to remove and click Clear. Select 'Clear' button
  5. Now you should right-click on the Start button (Windows logo). Here, select Task Manager. Open the start menu and select 'Task Manager'
  6. When in Processes tab, search for Microsoft Edge.
  7. Right-click on it and choose Go to details option. If can’t see Go to details option, click More details and repeat previous steps. Right-click 'Microsoft Edge' and select 'Go to details' Select 'More details' if 'Go to details' option fails to show up
  8. When Details tab shows up, find every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right click on each of them and select End Task to end these entries. Find Microsoft Edge entries and select 'End Task'

Resetting Microsoft Edge browser (Method 2):

If Method 1 failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method.

  1. Note: you need to backup your data before using this method.
  2. Find this folder on your computer: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  3. Select every entry which is saved on it and right click with your mouse. Then Delete option. Go to Microsoft Edge folder on your computer, right-click every entry and click 'Delete'
  4. Click the Start button (Windows logo) and type in window power in Search my stuff line.
  5. Right-click the Windows PowerShell entry and choose Run as administrator. Find Windows PowerShell, right-click it and select 'Run as administrator'
  6. Once Administrator: Windows PowerShell window shows up, paste this command line after PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> and press Enter:
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml -Verbose}
    Copy and paste a required command and press 'Enter'

Once these steps are finished, Auto Purge should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

Erase Auto Purge from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Mozilla Firefox, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Add-ons Extensions. Click on menu icon and select 'Add-ons'
  2. Here, select Auto Purge and other questionable plugins. Click Remove to delete these entries. Select 'Extensions' and look for malicious entries. Click 'Remove' to get rid of each of them
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the menu (top right corner), choose Options General.
  4. Here, delete malicious URL and enter preferable website or click Restore to default.
  5. Click OK to save these changes. When in 'General' tab, delete malicious URL from 'Home Page' section or click on 'Restore to Default' button. Click 'OK' to save changes
  6. Reset Mozilla Firefox
    Click on the Firefox menu on the top left and click on the question mark. Here, choose Troubleshooting Information. Click on menu icon and then on '?'. Select 'Troubleshooting Information'
  7. Now you will see Reset Firefox to its default state message with Reset Firefox button. Click this button for several times and complete Auto Purge removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Remove Auto Purge from Google Chrome

Auto Purge extension is compatible with the Google Chrome browser only. To disable it, follow these steps:

  1. Delete malicious plugins
    Open Google Chrome, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Tools Extensions. Click on menu icon. Select 'Tools' and 'Extensions'
  2. Here, select Auto Purge and other malicious plugins and select trash icon to delete these entries. Look for malicious entries and delete each of them by clicking on the Trash bin icon
  3. Change your homepage and default search engine if it was altered by your virus
    Click on menu icon and choose Settings.
  4. Here, look for the Open a specific page or set of pages under On startup option and click on Set pages. After clicking on menu and 'Settings', select 'Set pages'
  5. Now you should see another window. Here, delete malicious search sites and enter the one that you want to use as your homepage. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  6. Click on menu icon again and choose Settings Manage Search engines under the Search section. When in 'Settings', select 'Manage search engines...'
  7. When in Search Engines..., remove malicious search sites. You should leave only Google or your preferred domain name. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  8. Reset Google Chrome
    Click on menu icon on the top right of your Google Chrome and select Settings.
  9. Scroll down to the end of the page and click on Reset browser settings. When in 'Settings', scroll down to 'Reset browser settings' button and click on it
  10. Click Reset to confirm this action and complete Auto Purge removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Eliminate Auto Purge from Safari

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu at the top left of the screen. Once you do this, select Preferences. Click on 'Safari' and select 'Preferences'
  2. Here, select Extensions and look for Auto Purge or other suspicious entries. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid each of them. Go to 'Extensions' and uninstall malicious add-ons
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Open your Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu section. Here, select Preferences as it was displayed previously and select General.
  4. Here, look at the Homepage field. If it was altered by Auto Purge, remove unwanted link and enter the one that you want to use for your searches. Remember to include the "http://" before typing in the address of the page. When in 'General', delete malicious URL and enter your desired domain name
  5. Reset Safari
    Open Safari browser and click on Safari in menu section at the top left of the screen. Here, select Reset Safari.... Click on 'Safari' and select 'Reset Safari...'
  6. Now you will see a detailed dialog window filled with reset options. All of those options are usually checked, but you can specify which of them you want to reset. Click the Reset button to complete Auto Purge removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

Access your website securely from any location

When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. It is a hassle when your website is protected from suspicious connections and unauthorized IP addresses.

The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address. If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for server or network manager that need to monitor connections and activities. This is how you bypass some of the authentications factors and can remotely use your banking accounts without triggering suspicious with each login. 

VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world. It is better to clock the access to your website from different IP addresses. So you can keep the project safe and secure when you have the dedicated IP address VPN and protected access to the content management system.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer various losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Software issues created by malware or direct data loss due to encryption can lead to problems with your device or permanent damage. When you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work.

It is crucial to create updates to your backups after any changes on the device, so you can get back to the point you were working on when malware changes anything or issues with the device causes data or performance corruption. Rely on such behavior and make file backup your daily or weekly habit.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware occurs out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the system restoring purpose.

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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