Severity scale:  
  (11/100)

Pokki explained. Versions provided. Guide to remove included

removal by Linas Kiguolis - - | Type: Adware

Pokki – a legitimate platform misused to perform questionable behavior as a Windows Start Menu

Pokki applicationPokki - a legitimate app which has lately been developed into an aggressive Windows Start menu

Questions about Pokki virus

Pokki is a free digital distribution platform developed by SweetLabs, Inc in 2014. It is represented as a tool allowing to search for apps, files, power options, Control Panel features, and other options on Windows 8 and 10 with one click on the Start button. However, currently, most of the reliable AV engines detect it as PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program), Win32/Pokki BrowserModifier or Win32/Pokki, while security experts recommend people to stay away from it. It seems that from a regular browser hijacker, that replaces the start page and search engine, it has been developed into a quite aggressive Pokki Start Menu entry which is used to promote misleading apps. 

Summary:
Name Pokki virus
AV detection name Win32/Pokki; Win32/Pokki BrowserModifier; Win32/Pokki Start Menu
Type Adware
Danger level Medium. The ad-supported application cannot harm the system or files. However, they can display potentially dangerous content and increase chances to catch a serious computer virus
Symptoms
  • Delivery of aggressive pop-ups, ads or banners
  • Random text turned into hyperlinks
  • Altered search results
  • Browser redirects to suspicious websites
Distribution methods Software bundles, freeware or shareware download sites
Prevention measures Advanced/Custom settings allow managing downloads and installations on your own, so you should always opt for this type of configuration while downloading software from the Web
To delete Pokki virus, install Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego and run a full system scan

While Pokki itself is legitimate[1] and can be used to change the start menu on Windows computers to simulate a mobile app interface, it can lead to some problems. It is compatible with a variety of operating systems starting with Windows XP and ending with the latest Windows 10 version, so there are numerous users complaining about it. Therefore, it has also been referred to as a Pokki update virus. 

Generally, this application is safe and does not include any malicious features itself. However, it has been described as PUP due to tricky distribution strategy (“Bundling”) as well as highly suspicious behavior. The program has an official download site where a free download is available. However, most frequently it sneaks into the system unnoticed with the help of freeware.[2]

For this reason, users often refer to it as Pokki virus or Pokki software virus. However, technically speaking, this is not the right term to describe it. It's a potentially unwanted application that can only cause problems while browsing the web. However, it does not mean that these activities should be tolerated as they might end up with much more harmful consequences than expected.

Pokki malware

Pokki virus is detected by numerous anti-virus programs

Users usually learn about Pokki update virus when they unexpectedly receive a notification urging to install available updates for the program they haven’t installed. We have already told that program can get into the system with the help of software bundling strategy which allows infiltrating devices silently.

However, in 2013 the program spread pre-installed on Lenovo computers with Windows 8 operating system.[3] Though Pokki update virus is known as bloatware,[4] and these programs once in a while need to be updated too. Security specialists recommend finding and uninstalling this program instead of updating it.

Various antivirus programs detect this application as Win32/Pokki Virus BrowserModifier, PUP, PUA, and similarly. Based on the latest reports by security experts, it seems that the program is not changing its advertising strategies. Instead of improving its reputation, the company turns Pokki app to a more aggressive.

Currently, it may not only install updates for itself automatically but also download other PUPs alongside its updates or cause browser's redirects to rogue download sites. One of the symptoms indicating that the system is at the risk of PUP infection are pop-ups like that: 

Pokki has been updated to the latest version update.

The Start Menu Updated

There's no doubt that you should remove Pokki as soon as it is installed on your machine. It doesn't matter whether you installed it yourself in order to change the Windows Start menu interface, or if it arrived in the software bundle, it's important to get rid of it because it might:

  • deliver an increased amount of ads that might redirect to misleading or even infected websites;
  • display banners, pop-ups and other types of ads might cover necessary content on the site;
  • redirect to fraudulent websites once you click on search results, links or it might open new browser tab out of nowhere;
  • collect information about users.

Pokki app samplePokki is a suspicious application that can be removed with reputable software

Authors of Pokki have been offering their promotional services to app developers. The developers tell that they have a partnership with computer manufacturers and can promote programs through the Windows Start menu, App Store, and Game Arcade. Hence, such description proves that it's an ad-supported program.

Security specialists from LosVirus[5] warn that developers of PUPs or even malicious apps might take advantage of such service. For this reason, we recommend performing Pokki removal immediately. If it arrived on the system in the software bundle, you should use anti-malware software, like Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego, to get rid of all its related components.

Pokki virus Pokki virus - a PUP which can deliver altered search results

Suspicious data tracking tendencies

Before using any program, it's important to read privacy policy[6] where developers inform whether they collect information about users and how they treat users' data. Pokki developers clearly state that they are interested in specific information:

Generally, our Services automatically collect usage information regarding the software, apps and services you use or have downloaded or installed from us, such as the frequency with which an app or Service has been clicked or opened, and how long an app or Service remains open. We also collect installation information, which may include information on whether certain apps or Services have been installed or uninstalled, and how long a Service has been installed or used on your system.

Though they claim that such information is used purely for statistical purposes, they also mention that third-parties which promote their content via Pokki app may also use tracking tools. Thus, they cannot be liable for what tools these parties use and how they manage collected information. In short, while using this app, you may notice more excessive advertising[7].

Negative effect on the system's performance

Pokki update virus can also have a negative effect on Windows 8 and 10 performance. People noticed that right after the infiltration of this PUP, the system gets more sluggish and unresponsive. One of the reasons might be a high CPU usage by pokki.exe or HostAppServiceUpdater.exe files. 

Pokki pop-up Pokki is a legitimate application but it can be misused by various crooks for bad purposes (for example, delivery of numerous misleading notifications)

Besides, it may run multiple processes and cause slowdowns during the active phase of update downloading and installing. Sometimes, a prolonged Windows startup process can be noticed. That's because Pokki adware can change Windows startup and enable related components during startup. Thus, that's yet another reason why you should respond to your web browser's hijack and get rid of this app without a delay. 

Pokki Start Menu is a common version of the virus

Pokki Start Menu is a related application which can be used by Windows users. The app is completely legitimate and can be downloaded by the user himself. This software is liked by people as it changes the default start menu into one which is similar to the Windows 7 menu. However, it often gets installed on the machine without the user's notice through other software and is categorized as a potentially unwanted program.

Even though Pokki Start Menu provides very comfortable and useful parameters, you cannot close your eyes for all suspicious activities that it might perform. Cybersecurity specialists call this program adware as it can push annoying notifications on targeted web browsers and relate in the regular system and browser freezes due to the increasing number of ads each day. Furthermore, these adverts can cause potentially dangerous redirects.

Nevertheless, Pokki Start Menu virus can initiate the installation of other unwanted applications such as scareware, browser hijackers, suspicious browser tools, extensions, and others. Avoid receiving all this junk by removing the ad-supported application from the system and browser applications. The removal process can be completed in the same way as for Pokki virus (by automatical or manual technique).

Distribution strategies used to spread the program

Besides the mentioned distribution method via freeware, you can also download the program from its official website. Additionally, this app might be promoted via sponsored domains and ads. In other words, you might click on the link which does not indicate this program but redirects you to this domain.

Pokki appPokki is described as a potentially unwanted program as it can come bundled with other software

In order to avoid installing similar programs, pay attention to the installation wizard. Despite what program you are about to install, optional add-ons may be promoted. In order to detect them, choose “Advanced” installation mode. Unmark irrelevant programs and continue proceeding further. Likewise, you will be able to prevent Pokki and similar questionable tools.

Get rid of Pokki virus

You can remove Pokki manually via the Control Panel. If you still spot pokki.exe running in the Task Manager, you can scan the system with malware elimination tool. If you do not have one, install it as it will come in handy dealing with more elaborate threats, keeping the system secure, and optimizing it once in a while.

After you complete Pokki removal, check the list of system apps. Additional programs may have been installed too. Uninstall them without any consideration. Moreover, you should look through browser extensions and remove unknown entries. Browser reset is also recommended to delete tracking cookies or other spying technologies. 

Pokki virus might bring various additional components to infected web browser applications. Apps such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, and Safari need to be fully cleaned from suspicious content and all adware-related changes have to be reversed or the adware program might launch itself again within the next PC boot.

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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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 Pokki virus, follow these steps:

Eliminate Pokki from Windows systems

Follow these steps to uninstall Pokki and its related components:

To remove Pokki 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 Pokki (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.

Get rid of Pokki from Mac OS X system

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

Remove Pokki from Applications folder:

  1. From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  2. In the Applications folder, look for Pokki-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 Pokki, 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 Pokki and then delete them.
  4. Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the Pokki-related entries.Uninstall from Mac 2

Remove Pokki from Internet Explorer (IE)

These instructions help to revert changes caused by adware:

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 Pokki 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 Pokki removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Erase Pokki virus from Microsoft Edge

MS Edge web browser app can be cleaned from all suspicious content with the help of these guiding steps:

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 Pokki-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

Uninstall Pokki from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

If you spot adware-related content on Firefox, you can use these instructions to get rid of it easily:

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 Pokki 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 Pokki 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 Pokki removal.Reset Firefox 2

Delete Pokki from Google Chrome

Chrome reset is recommended to get rid of Pokki virus:

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 Pokki 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 Pokki-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 Pokki removal.Reset Chrome 2

Eliminate Pokki 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 Pokki 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. 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 from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.

About the author
Linas Kiguolis
Linas Kiguolis - Expert in social media

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