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Remove Bonzi Buddy virus (Virus Removal Instructions) - Oct 2020 update

removal by Jake Doevan - -   Also known as BonziBuddy | Type: Adware

Bonzi Buddy is one of the most infamous adware with spyware traits, which has been shut down in 2004, but renewed download emerge in 2020

BonziBuddy adware

BonziBuddy is the name used to describe an adware-type application developed by Joe and Jay Bonzi. The software has been released in 1999 and worked similarly to Office Assistant. The two characters Peedy (green parrot) and Bonzi (purple ape) were introduced as virtual desktop assistants were interacting with the users in a form of text box or speech. However, due to the mixed traits of adware, malware, spyware, and browser hijacker, multiple cybersecurity vendors included it into the virus database as adware or spyware[1]. The final point to the BonziBuddy adware assistance was the official Federal Trade Commission statement fining the developers $75,000 in fees for spyware activities against children under the age 9. 

Although the software was discontinued in 2004 and the reports about the closure of the official website's closure were released in 2008, BonziBuddy adware remains reminiscent. In 2016, a file-encrypting virus called BonziBuddy ransomware has been revealed on the landscape spreading as a second payload of a trojan infection. Moreover, in spring 2020 cybersecurity experts form novirus.uk[2] draw their attention to the suspicious fake website (fightfasr731.weebly.com) offering a download of Bonzi Buddy app for Macs. 

Malware summary
Name BonziBuddy / Bonzi Buddy
Release date 1999 the initial release. The second update emerged in 2000, while in 2004 the software has been discontinued
Classification The software belongs to the adware and Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUP) category. However, it exhibited spyware traits and was even fined for violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.
Distribution  The adware used to have an official download website, which has been shut down in 2008. However, experts warn that some malware may try to mimic the BonziBuddy assistant and spread it in a freeware bundle. Besides, spam emails should be treated with caution to evade infiltration of related ransomware
Detection Adware.Win32.Bonzo.2!c, Trojan.Generic.IS.543530, Not-a-virus:AdWare.Win32.Bonzo.f, Win32:Adware-gen [Adw], ApplicUnwnt@#13y1vkoet2u8a, PUA:Win32/Presenoker, etc.
Symptoms The original application used desktop helper characters Peedy or Bonzi, which kept displaying text messages and voice interaction directly on the desktop. However, one of its additional traits was to display commercial ads or banners imitating Windows security alerts. It may also trigger high CPU consumption
Danger level Medium. The software is known for displaying intrusive advertisements, which contain an idle close button and, therefore, cannot be closed. However, the adware tends to function as spyware and may collect some pieces of Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
Removal BonziBuddy malware removal rely on a professional anti-virus program. Additional malware components may be left unnoticed on the system upon manual removal
Malware damage Malware can compromise legitimate Windows system files and processes, thus causing slowdowns, crashes, and errors. Upon removal, the system required optimization and the ReimageIntego can be of use this time. 

The Bonzi Buddy app has been promoted in an appealing manner and had a relatively wide community of users at that time. Jokes, facts, songs, conversations, or download management services provided by BonziBuddy were treated as handy and entertaining by many users of those days, and, in fact, some people are still looking[3] for a download of this tool. Unfortunately, most of them were not aware of the fact that the software has hidden functions and intentions.  

He will explore the Internet with you as your very own friend and sidekick!  He can talk, walk, joke, browse, search, e-mail, and download like no other friend you've ever had!  He even has the ability to compare prices on the products you love and help you save money! Best of all, he's FREE!  

First of all, it has been described as a free application, which is a false claim used to tempt users for a download. In fact, the free version exhibited samples and demos only, and users were regularly offered to pay for the new modules. 

In addition to that, the application was reported for impersonating Windows security warnings, which contained false claims about the broadcasted IP addresses[4]. The purpose of such notifications is not known, though there are speculations that they may be used for distributing affiliate software. 

However, intrusive advertising campaign and Windows slowdowns are not the only side effects of the BonziBuddy malware. It tended to drop cookies and spyware software that may track browsing and system-related information, as well as some pieces of personally identifiable information. This fact has been proven when the developers have been convicted to pay a $75,000 fine for privacy violation of children under 9. 

BonziBuddy virusBonziBuddy has been classified as one of the most intrusive adware-type programs ever released

If you are dealing with an adware-type program that displays a purple ape on your desktop, delivers ads, compromises web browser's settings, or perform other unwanted activities, take corresponding actions and get rid of it. BonziBuddy removal is not a difficult task. You can try to eliminate it manually with the help of a guide positioned below. 

Nevertheless, this adware and spyware mix has been rated 6th on a list of “The Top 10 Most Annoying Tech Products”[5] for a reason. The adware may be used for promoting other malware or use supportive files and processes that may be difficult to detect and eliminate. For this reason, we recommend you remove BonziBuddy virus with a powerful anti-virus program, for example Malwarebytes or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner

Revived strains of Bonzi Buddy malware manifests on the market in 2020

Having these facts in mind, security experts warn online society to beware of the apps carrying names like BonziBuddy or Bonzi Buddy. Although they can hardly be the same as the ancient desktop assistant featuring malware traits, there is a potential danger to download even more malicious tools.

Despite the official application has been discontinued in 2004, several questionable download websites, including Tucows downloads, keep promoting the purple ape app. Besides, the official website bonzi.link also seems to be active. Our security experts checked the domain and found out that both download links and ads positioned on this domain are active. Clicking on BonziBuddy ads redirect the web browser to a domain promoting Honey coupon extension for Chrome, which is a highly questionable tool resembling adware. 

Moreover, initially designed for Windows OS only, the infamous adware now seems to have switched its target to Mac OS and iOS users. One of the main promotion sources is Twickd, which represents the BonziBuddy for Mac iOS as a personal buddy that can talk to users personally and “turn your icons slowly into bananas.” The renewed app is under the active development stage, so it's not yet clear will it mimic the behavior of its predecessor or emerge as a malware-free application. 

BonziBuddy downloadsSome websites offer free BonziBuddy downloads these days, though there's not much know if these updated versions are reliable

Two ways to get adware – download it reasonably or bundled with freeware

Adware and other PUPs are promoted in several ways and we will briefly explain each of them. However, before pointing out the possible adware distribution techniques, we'd like to stress the fact that not all programs that have official websites, a well-prepared description, and strong marketing are reliable.

  • In the case of the adware described above, most of the downloads have been registered directly from its official website. It means that people get tempted by vivid descriptions of tools and download free apps willingly. 
  • Nevertheless, unwanted programs are frequently attached to freeware and shareware downloads. For the monetization purposes, free software developers append additional plug-ins, add-ons under Quick installation setup and grant their access by placing a tick next to the user's consent. That's why it's important to opt for Advanced installation and untick pre-selected additional tools. 
  • Questionable ads may redirect to adware download websites. If the system is infected by adware or browser hijacker, web browser may continuously redirect to suspicious websites promoting malware. 
  • Other third-party websites. Questionable download websites like download, cnet, Softonic, and many others may promote free apps that are classified as potentially unwanted due to advertising or spyware activities. 

In general, the only way to stay away from unwanted programs that once installed start disrupting activities and compromise system's performance is to render consciousness. Make small research on apps that you are planning to download and do not trust unreliable sources. Besides, render a professional security tool, which will warn you when an unwanted program seeks to enter. 

A full guide on how to remove Bonzi Buddy from Windows and Mac 

Despite the fact that BonziBuddy malware has been discontinued more than 15 years ago, there are questionable downloads of the supposedly renewed or rogue variants. If you noticed questionable activities on your PC, for example, ads by BonziBuddy, a purple ape character on your desktop and visited websites, web browser's new tab replaced by an unknown domain, etc., you may need help. 

One of the ways to remove BonziBuddy adware is to analyze apps on the system and eliminate the adware installer. After that resetting web browser's settings is advisable to disable a plug-in and tracking cookies. 

However, manual BonziBuddy removal may fail due to additional adware components. Windows Registry may contain the related key, as well as some supporting components that may be run in Task Manager. In this case, a full system scan with a powerful AV tool may help. Besides, as the last point, restore the system to the state prior to adware infection with an optimization tool ReimageIntego.  

You may remove virus damage with a help of ReimageIntego. 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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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 Bonzi Buddy virus, follow these steps:

Uninstall Bonzi Buddy from Windows systems

In case you accidentally downloaded BonziBuddy virus on your PC, follow these steps to successfully eliminate it.

To remove Bonzi Buddy from Windows 10/8  machines, please follow these steps:

  1. Enter Control Panel into Windows search box and hit Enter or click on the search result.
  2. Under Programs, select Uninstall a program.Uninstall from Windows 1
  3. From the list, find entries related to Bonzi Buddy (or any other recently installed suspicious program).
  4. Right-click on the application and select Uninstall.
  5. If User Account Control shows up, click Yes.
  6. Wait till uninstallation process is complete and click OK.Uninstall from Windows 2

If you are Windows 7/XP user, proceed with the following instructions:

  1. Click on Windows Start > Control Panel located on the right pane (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs).
  2. In Control Panel, select Programs > Uninstall a program.Uninstall from Windows 7/XP
  3. Pick the unwanted application by clicking on it once.
  4. At the top, click Uninstall/Change.
  5. In the confirmation prompt, pick Yes.
  6. Click OK once the removal process is finished.

Delete Bonzi Buddy from Mac OS X system

Although the original application has been developed for Windows, currently some new variants were found promoting the adware for Macs. Therefore, our team has submitted a detailed guide on how to remove BonziBuddy from Mac OS easily.

If your macOS is displaying some infection symptoms, proceed with the following guide:

Remove Bonzi Buddy from Applications folder:

  1. From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  2. In the Applications folder, look for Bonzi Buddy-related entries.
  3. Click on the app and drag it to Trash (or right-click and pick Move to Trash)Uninstall from Mac 1

To fully remove Bonzi Buddy, you need to access Application Support, LaunchAgents, and LaunchDaemons folders and delete relevant files:

  1. Select Go > Go to Folder.
  2. Enter /Library/Application Support and click Go or press Enter.
  3. In the Application Support folder, look for any dubious entries related to Bonzi Buddy and then delete them.
  4. Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the Bonzi Buddy-related entries.Uninstall from Mac 2

Eliminate Bonzi Buddy from Internet Explorer (IE)

Remove dangerous add-ons:

  1. Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top-right corner of the browser
  2. Pick Manage Add-ons.
  3. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for Bonzi Buddy and other suspicious plugins. Click on these entries and select Disable.Remove add-ons from Internet Explorer

Change your homepage if it was altered:

  1. Open IE and click on the Gear icon.
  2. Select Internet Options.
  3. In the General tab, delete the Home page address and replace it by your preferred one (for example, Google.com).
  4. Click Apply and then select OK.Reset IE homepage

Delete temporary files:

  1. Press on the Gear icon and select Internet Options.
  2. Under Browsing history, click Delete…
  3. Select relevant fields and press Delete.Clear temporary files from Internet Explorer

Reset Internet Explorer:

  1. Click on Gear icon > Internet options and select Advanced tab.
  2. Select Reset.
  3. In the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete Bonzi Buddy removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Remove Bonzi Buddy virus from Microsoft Edge

Delete unwanted extensions from MS Edge:

  1. Select Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and pick Extensions.
  2. From the list, pick the Bonzi Buddy-related extension and click on the Gear icon.
  3. Click on Uninstall at the bottom.Remove extensions from Edge

Clear cookies and other browser data:

  1. Click on the Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and select Privacy & security.
  2. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  3. Select everything (apart from passwords, although you might want to include Media licenses as well, if applicable) and click on Clear.Clear Edge browsing data

Reset MS Edge if that above steps did not work:

  1. Press on Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details arrow at the bottom of the window.
  3. Select Details tab.
  4. Now scroll down and locate every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right-click on each of them and select End Task to stop MS Edge from running.Reset MS Edge

If this solution failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method. Note that you need to backup your data before proceeding.

  1. Find the following folder on your computer: C:\\Users\\%username%\\AppData\\Local\\Packages\\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  2. Press Ctrl + A on your keyboard to select all folders.
  3. Right-click on them and pick DeleteAdvanced MS Edge reset 1
  4. Now right-click on the Start button and pick Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  5. When the new window opens, copy and paste the following command, and then press Enter:

    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\\AppXManifest.xml” -VerboseAdvanced MS Edge reset 2

Instructions for Chromium-based Edge

Delete extensions from MS Edge (Chromium):

  1. Open Edge and click select Settings > Extensions.
  2. Delete unwanted extensions by clicking Remove.Remove extensions from Chromium Edge

Clear cache and site data:

  1. Click on Menu and go to Settings.
  2. Select Privacy and services.
  3. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  4. Under Time range, pick All time.
  5. Select Clear now.Clear browser data from Chroum Edge

Reset Chromium-based MS Edge:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. On the left side, pick Reset settings.
  3. Select Restore settings to their default values.
  4. Confirm with Reset.Reset Chromium Edge

Erase Bonzi Buddy from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Upon adware removal, restore your web browser's settings to disable add-on, toolbars, and other unwanted entries.

Remove dangerous extensions:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click on the Menu (three horizontal lines at the top-right of the window).
  2. Select Add-ons.
  3. In here, select plugins that are related to Bonzi Buddy and click Remove.Remove extensions from Firefox

Clear cookies and site data:

  1. Click Menu and pick Options.
  2. Go to Privacy & Security section.
  3. Scroll down to locate Cookies and Site Data.
  4. Click on Clear Data…
  5. Select Cookies and Site Data, as well as Cached Web Content and press Clear.Clear cookies and site data from Firefox

In case Bonzi Buddy did not get removed after following the instructions above, reset Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click the Menu.
  2. Go to Help and then choose Troubleshooting Information.Reset Firefox 1
  3. Under Give Firefox a tune up section, click on Refresh Firefox…
  4. Once the pop-up shows up, confirm the action by pressing on Refresh Firefox – this should complete Bonzi Buddy removal.Reset Firefox 2

Get rid of Bonzi Buddy from Google Chrome

Reset Google Chrome to terminateBonziBuddy ads.

Delete malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

  1. Open Google Chrome, click on the Menu (three vertical dots at the top-right corner) and select More tools > Extensions.
  2. In the newly opened window, you will see all the installed extensions. Uninstall all the suspicious plugins that might be related to Bonzi Buddy by clicking Remove.Remove extensions from Chrome

Clear cache and web data from Chrome:

  1. Click on Menu and pick Settings.
  2. Under Privacy and security, select Clear browsing data.
  3. Select Browsing history, Cookies and other site data, as well as Cached images and files.
  4. Click Clear data.Clear cache and web data from Chrome

If the above-methods did not help you, reset Google Chrome to eliminate all the Bonzi Buddy-components:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. In the Settings, scroll down and click Advanced.
  3. Scroll down and locate Reset and clean up section.
  4. Now click Restore settings to their original defaults.
  5. Confirm with Reset settings to complete Bonzi Buddy removal.Reset Chrome 2

Uninstall Bonzi Buddy from Safari

Remove unwanted extensions from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. In the new window, pick Extensions.
  3. Select the unwanted extension related to Bonzi Buddy and select Uninstall.Remove extensions from Safari

Clear cookies and other website data from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Clear History…
  2. From the drop-down menu under Clear, pick all history.
  3. Confirm with Clear History.Clear cookies and website data from Safari

Reset Safari if the above-mentioned steps did not help you:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. Go to Advanced tab.
  3. Tick the Show Develop menu in menu bar.
  4. From the menu bar, click Develop, and then select Empty Caches.Reset Safari

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. 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 the server or network manager that needs to monitor connections and activities. 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.

 

Recover files after data-affecting malware attacks

While much of the data can be accidentally deleted due to various reasons, malware is one of the main culprits that can cause loss of pictures, documents, videos, and other important files. More serious malware infections lead to significant data loss when your documents, system files, and images get encrypted. In particular, ransomware is is a type of malware that focuses on such functions, so your files become useless without an ability to access them.

Even though there is little to no possibility to recover after file-locking threats, some applications have features for data recovery in the system. In some cases, Data Recovery Pro can also help to recover at least some portion of your data after data-locking virus infection or general cyber infection. 

 

About the author
Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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