Wow! It’s been a long, long time since I’ve fallen prey to adware. But sometime earlier this week, I granted permission for some to make its obnoxious, intrusive and generally irritating way onto one of my test machines. I was reading in the bedroom on my Lenovo X380 Yoga, and surfing the web. Somewhere along that distracted multi-tasking path (really, multi-goofing-around) I clicked the “Allow” button on the innocuous looking graphic shown in this story’s lead. Man! Was I soon sorry for my attention deficit. Soon thereafter, I started getting notifications to update Norton AntiMalware, followed not long thereafter by similar exhortations for Avast AV. Is it just me, or is there indeed bitter irony in being nagged by adware (a close cousin to malware) to install such software? Ouch!
Complex Cleanup Ensues
Of course once I realized what was going on, I was able to identify the culprit as 5sercher.biz. They obligingly included that info in the pop-up, with an indirect reference in the related Web page they also forced open in Chrome. Upon researching “adware 5sercher.biz” I found any number of removal/repair guides online. All directed me to the Notifications item in Chrome in Settings → Privacy and Security → Notifications. I blundered around a bit getting there (Hint: jump there immediately searching on “Notifications” in Google’s Search Settings search bar). Amidst the rest of my notifications for various Google services (docs, drive, and mail) I found an entry that read https://5sercher.biz:443. I could have selected “Remove” from its pop-up controls, but I elected “Block” instead. I never want to hear from those guys again. At the same time, I also activated the slide for “Use quieter messaging” so that I won’t be interrupted with notifications from Chrome when I’m using another application (just like I was using Kindle the other night when those pesky notifications just kept on a-poppin’ on the X380).
When I see a Sercher5.biz entry in the Notifications for Chrome, I immediately change its status to “Blocked.” No more pop-ups!
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Author: Ed Tittel
Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.