Discover the typical schemes used by malware to attack Internet Explorer and learn how to fix this type of infection in just a few steps.

None of the current major web browsers can compete with Internet Explorer in terms of history. It was launched in 1995, so it really is an old stapler that has lived long before modern competition. 20 years of experience is sometimes controversial, but IE deserves respect. Security-conscious users are aware of the drawbacks of this browser, including security flaws that Microsoft does not always manage to fix in a timely manner. These flaws exposed this software to repeated zero-day attacks. Still, according to NetMarketShare, different versions of Internet Explorer are used on about 40% of desktops. These statistics can be a little vague because of the particular nature of this product, namely that it is integrated into Windows operating systems without the ability to uninstall it. The fact that IE is very popular and its potential vulnerabilities encourage attackers to use it all the time.

Cybercriminals focus on injecting malicious applications, called adware, into Internet Explorer. The name of this category of malware is pretty obvious: These are unwanted entities designed to display ads when a victim is browsing the Internet. Adware is usually disguised as browser helpers and plug-ins, and its moderate severity allows scammers to escape prosecution in most cases. At the same time, by redirecting the victim’s web traffic to pages with sponsored messages or by inserting them directly into websites, black hat hackers can easily and quickly make money.


The subcategory of adware that intrudes into other people’s Internet settings is growing. Also known as homepage and search engine hijackers, these viruses force you to repeatedly visit fake search engines. When a random search is conducted on these pages, the results contain a number of relevant listings in addition to ads. This unwanted activity is usually caused by a malicious add-on that automatically replaces the user’s settings with a different URL, thus corrupting the home page, new tab and default search values. What is particularly repulsive about this malware is the circumvention of user authorization.

Sponsored objects added by IE malware

Equally annoying and destructive are infections that embed various types of advertisements into websites that the victim visits via Internet Explorer. Redundant ads can appear above search results, on social media, and in the layout of popular websites such as blogs, news sites, etc. Users constantly come across large banners with information about various products, price comparisons, coupon boxes and dubious offers to download apps. When a victim clicks anywhere on the page, including empty parts of the page, interstitials may appear in blue. Moreover, some words become clickable thanks to the added hyperlinks that redirect you to the sponsored page.

Most categories of IE malware are distributed via software wrappers or packages. This method gives the impression that the user accepts an installation, when in fact he almost never notices the extra items in the installation. Free programs such as video downloaders or format converters are major vectors for adware infections. Sometimes you can unsubscribe (see image below), but not always.

A typical distribution scheme for adware

It’s hard to judge the veracity of the stereotype that Internet Explorer is not very secure, since other browsers have also been targeted by large-scale malware attacks. The vast majority of infection cases are due to low security awareness and lack of caution when installing new software. If a malicious application has compromised IE on your computer, use the following instructions to get rid of the malware.

Methods to remove malware from Internet Explorer

Different vectors can be used to detect malicious code that has entered your browser. Since search engine hacks and ad insertion bugs tend to turn into malicious extensions or plug-ins, the first solution to the problem is to remove these applications. While this approach is often effective, sometimes it doesn’t work – depending on the severity of the threat in question. At worst, resetting IE works fine, but this process erases all custom data in the browser. So try the first technique first, and if it doesn’t work, move on to the second (the steps are described below).

Method 1: Manual removal of harmful components of Internet Explorer

Method 2: Restore Internet Explorer to its original state

Make sure the virus is completely removed from IE.

As a safety measure, it is recommended that you run a scan with automatic security software to make sure that no harmful residue of this adware remains in the Windows registry and other operating systems. This method should also be used where manual troubleshooting at work has proved ineffective.

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