There is an increasingly fine line between what is a virus/malware and what is not, especially in the realm of items that come along for the ride with free software. Most legitimate apps pop up a message that asks the user if he or she wants to install app X along with the software they downloaded. However, this is frequently checked by default — opt-in instead of opt-out, hoping people click right past. Even Flash is now guilty of this sneaky behavior.
For the most part, these extras are just annoying (Yahoo Toolbar for example), but sometimes they are less benign, even when it comes along with legitimate software.
A case in point is the rather prevalent Conduit, which comes in various forms from toolbar, to search hijacking to browser extensions. While it seems rather nasty on the surface, it does not require scanning software or, worse, a Windows reinstall to get rid of it.
In Google’s Chrome web browser, for instance, it hijacks the new tab page, changing it to search page that uses Conduit.
There are a couple of steps you will need to follow in order to be completely rid of this annoying little takeover. In some cases you may also need to change a few browser settings, but we will get to that in the end, as most users likely will not find that step necessary, though it may be wise to follow it for peace of mind.
Start by heading to Control Panel and choose “Uninstall a Program”. Scroll through the list and look for any entry that contains “Conduit”. Likely it will be listed as “Search Protect by Conduit”.
Uninstall this and then look for another entry called “MyFreeGames” and do the same. The latter may or may not be here, but it frequently rides along with Conduit.
Now head to Chrome and go to “Tools” and “Extensions”. Here you will need to look for add-ons under those same two names and, when found, remove them as well.
Finally, still in Chrome, head into Settings and look for the search section and tap the “Manage search engines” button. Scroll through the list and look for “Conduit” entries and click the X next to each one to remove it.
The final step is not necessary, but its best to go ahead and follow it, just to be safe. Once all of this has been taken care of, your browser should be clean and working normally again.