Every so often, even I get a problem. I can get complacent, trust something I ought not, accidentally clicked the wrong thing, or even have gotten suckered by a warning that looked real, but wasn't. Usually, I realize my error quickly, and reverse course. I know a lot of the tricks of the trade to restore things to normal without too much fuss.
First, I should explain that I run dual monitors, and I am usually running Internet Explorer 11, Firefox and AOL at the same time (AOL?!? Yeah, I know. Shut up, it's how I work, okay?). And this new demon affects both AOL--and get this--FIREFOX. Not IE. It's working just fine. No, this one is throwing up random ads from Firefox and AOL, for both bogus and real products. Sometimes it's TuneUp Utilities, a program that used to be very helpful but bloomed into a nuisance, sometimes it's WIX.com. Other times it's for very shady programs that cause the very thing I'm trying to get rid of. And sometimes, it's bogus upgrade notices for video players I don't even have, to the point of attempting to start downloads of the programs.
It's driving me bananas. I've gone through my bag of tricks. I'm using Windows 8.1, so I've got Windows Defender already. I've run Malwarebytes several times. I installed and ran Avast! I've tried SUPERAntiSpyware. All of these programs found problems and allegedly cleaned them. And the problem remains exactly the same. No change. Presently, I'm going into my old bag of tricks, a program called SpyBot Search & Destroy, something I haven't used for years. But I'm desperate! I'm really not sure what to try next. At present, this problem doesn't seem particularly dangerous, it's just incredibly annoying.
So, I'm sending this out to the universe, in the hopes someone stumbles upon it via Google or Bing. Any help will be appreciated. And also, could someone please tell me what purpose this crap serves in the first place? It's garbagy, clunky, obviously crap stuff popping up. I can't imagine it fooling a neophyte. A lot of work must go into this kind of malware. But how in the world is it worth it? If their aim is simply to torment and annoy, then mission accomplished. But if the aim is leaching money from people, they really must be trolling for dummies. Because if I wasn't a guru? I'd throw my hands up and call "that guy" to just come fix it.
UPDATED: I should also say that whatever is going on, in both AOL and Firefox, ordinary ads that appear on websites have been replaced with really ugly, very cheesy "your computer is running slow," "Microsoft certified"-type ads with blinking "click here" and "PLAY"-type buttons. We're talking 90s-style, wouldn't-fool-an-idiot ads. These are very annoying also.