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Cacaoweb virus. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Ugnius Kiguolis - - | Type: Adware

Cacaoweb – an adware program that can rent, sell or otherwise share users' personal information

Cacaoweb virus
Cacaoweb virus is a computer infection that usually shows up after freeware or shareware installation

Cacaoweb virus is a rogue application developed by CACAOWEB LIMITED, located in the UK and registered in Hong Kong. Its authors claim that the app allows users to share data and communicate with friends, as well as integrate content from the internet. However, upon closer inspection, it turned out that the program is, in fact, adware[1] in disguise. Cacaoweb virus injects Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari with pop-ups, in-text links, auto-play video and audio ads, and other commercial content. Additionally, digging through Privacy Policy, we found that, by registering to the service, users agree for their personal information to be shared with third parties for marketing purposes.

Summary
Name Cacaoweb
Type Adware/PUP
Developer CACAOWEB LIMITED
Distribution Software bundling, official website
Symptoms Intrusive ads and redirects plague each of the affected browsers
Potential dangers Sensitive data loss, malware infections
Elimination Use our instructions below this article and then scan your device with Reimage

Users can find the program on the official website, although it is not how Cacaoweb is usually injected into their computers. Instead, the app relies on software bundling – a deceptive marketing technique used all over the world by shareware and freeware authors. For that reason, it is classified as a potentially unwanted program, and many AV engines recognize it as such. 

While some adware can be pretty harmless and easily detectable/removable, Cacaoweb is not so much. Officially, it cannot be classified as malware, but it certainly posses several features of it. The program performs the following upon installation:

  • Adds an exclusion to itself on Windows Firewall;
  • Modifies Windows Registry;
  • Runs cacaoweb.exe in the background;
  • Starts installing additional components without users' permission.

These factors alone should warrant Cacaoweb virus removal. For that purpose, users should check our instructions below, and then scan the device using Reimage to repair Windows Registry and other PC functions.

Another terrifying feature of Cacaoweb adware is the information gathering. It turns out that developers harvest a large amount of personal and non-personal data by using cookies and web beacons[2] technologies. While the non-PI collection is a common practice among PUPs, personal information sharing raises serious privacy and security concerns.

We struggled to find the Privacy policy of the Cacaoweb app immediately, as it was not listed on the main site. Only after entering Terms of Service we managed to find a link to it. It states the following:

The Personal Information that you submit to us remains your property, but by submitting such information to us you grant us the right, subject to applicable state and federal law, to use the Personal Information (other than Sensitive Information) for marketing purposes. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, we reserve the right to share, sell, rent, lease and/or otherwise distribute any and all Personal Information (other than Sensitive Information) with/to any third-party for any and all uses permitted by this Privacy Policy and applicable law

Developers then claim that your telephone number and email address can be passed on to e-mail marketers, telemarketers, SMS text-based marketers, and similar. In case your inbox is cluttered with spam – now it should be clear where all the junk is coming from.

We cannot stress enough that providing personal details for apps like Cacaoweb is not a good idea. In the best case scenario, you will end up with advert spam on all possible platforms you own. In the worst case, you could get your identity or money stolen.

Thus, if you value your online safety and do not wish to be disturbed by telemarketers constantly, make sure you remove Cacaoweb virus before it's too late. If you already installed the app and provided personal details, removing yourself from lists might be exceptionally complicated, as you would have to contact all partners of Cacaoweb and request your PII withdrawal.

Cacaoweb adware
Cacaoweb is an adware-type application that collects and shares personal details with third-parties

Adware might be dangerous – here's how to avoid it

As we already mentioned, most adware applications are simply annoying to deal with, but they usually do not endanger computer safety if the user is careful enough. Nevertheless, some adware-type programs are incredibly aggressive in their operation and closely resemble malware.

Therefore, experts[3] advise users to avoid the installation of rogue programs by following these tips:

  • Do not click on suspicious links that pop-up on questionable sites;
  • Always read up online about the program that is being offered to you before proceeding with the installation;
  • Use official sites for your downloads;
  • Read through Privacy policy and ToS before installing anything. Do not risk installing software that does not provide these documents;
  • When prompted, always pick Advanced or Custom installation mode;
  • Untick any pre-selected boxes that offer add-ons, toolbars, system optimization tools, etc.

Uninstall Cacaoweb adware to protect your personal data

There is no need to risk your online safety for the supposedly useful functionality of Cacaoweb app. There are plenty of other programs that are capable of doing the same things but do not track and share your personal details for marketing purposes. Thus, if your machine is infected, you should not wait any longer and remove Cacaoweb virus.

You should first try using our manual instructions below – if you do everything correctly, there will be no problems. However, if you find the guide too confusing, we can suggest you automatic Cacaoweb removal using security software. We listed several anti-malware applications below, although you can try any other trusted sources.

Remember that you should reset each of the installed browsers as per our instructions below. Otherwise, several components of adware might be still present, and the unwanted activity might continue.

You can remove virus damage automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes. We recommend these applications because they 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, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.
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.

To remove Cacaoweb virus, follow these steps:

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall Cacaoweb from Windows systems

To remove Cacaoweb virus from Windows, follow this guide:

  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 Cacaoweb and related programs
    Here, look for Cacaoweb 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'
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Eliminate Cacaoweb from Mac OS X system

If your macOS is affected by adware, perform the following steps:

  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 Cacaoweb 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'
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Erase Cacaoweb 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 Cacaoweb 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 Cacaoweb removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove Cacaoweb virus 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, Cacaoweb should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Get rid of Cacaoweb from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Don't forget to refresh Mozilla Firefox after the PUP elimination:

  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 Cacaoweb 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. 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'
  4. Now you will see Reset Firefox to its default state message with Reset Firefox button. Click this button for several times and complete Cacaoweb removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Delete Cacaoweb from Google Chrome

  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 Cacaoweb 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. Click on menu icon again and choose Settings Manage Search engines under the Search section. When in 'Settings', select 'Manage search engines...'
  4. When in Search Engines..., remove malicious search sites. You should leave only Google or your preferred domain name. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  5. Reset Google Chrome
    Click on menu icon on the top right of your Google Chrome and select Settings.
  6. 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
  7. Click Reset to confirm this action and complete Cacaoweb removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall Cacaoweb 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 Cacaoweb or other suspicious entries. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid each of them. Go to 'Extensions' and uninstall malicious add-ons
  3. 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...'
  4. 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 Cacaoweb removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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References