A reader sent in the screenshot below asking for help. All of the sudden when he browsed online using Google Chrome, random words in articles were highlighted with little arrows next to them. He’d run a malware and virus scan, but nothing  turned up.

link-adware

Your suspicions were right about there being an unwanted program on our PC, though it isn’t technically a virus or malware. It’s an extension in Google Chrome that turns words in articles into links. Click on those links (either on purpose or accidentally) and you’ll be directed to ads. It’s a form of adware, though not necessarily technically malware. How did it get there? It’s likely that this program hitched a ride on a legitimate Chrome extension or a piece of software you downloaded. There may have even been a tiny box to check to say that you didn’t want it, but those are often pretty hard to see.

Here’s how you can check your Chrome browser for any unwanted extensions. Click the 3-dot menu button in the upper-right corner and choose Settings from the drop-down menu.

chrome-button-settings

Then choose Extensions.

chrome-extensions

To the right, you’ll see a list of your extensions.

chrome-extensions-listed

If you see something new that you don’t recognize, uninstall it by clicking  the trashcan. If you aren’t sure what the extension does, you can uncheck the box next to enable, restart your browser, and see if that makes any difference.

chrome-extensions-trash

When you finally get around to disabling or deleting the extension that’s causing the problem, web pages should go back to normal.

~ Cynthia