It appears that lately there has been a big increase in the number of reports related to a threat known a Trojan.Poweliks. This is malware that works differently than usual malware. It's not a file on your computer...it lurks in a registry subkey that is found in the computer’s registry.
The trojan spreads via malicious spam emails and exploit kits, especially spoof emails related to a missing package claiming to be from the Canadian Post or the U.S. Postal Service or details concerning your recent purchase at some department store, etc.
Once the malware is in the computer it delivers ads, deals and coupons on your browser. It modifies browser default settings. As a result, stuff begins popping up like Whack-A-Moles on your computer. Not only that some words may be underlined hyperlinks redirecting you to some spam websites full of ads.
The virus is an ugly one, too because once it's installed it adds its own entry to the window registry so that it can be activated at startup; also many other settings in windows registry can be messed up.
With your windows registry all boogered up the computer won't perform properly. This trojan can disable the firewall and the anti-virus program, too and that means the infected computer can be attacked by more viruses and Trojans because ther's nothing to stop them.
It can also create many junks files that waste a lot of space on the hard drive which slows down performance and it can also consume much of the CPU's resources so that it runs slower and slower.
Cyber-hackers can gain access to your computer, too. Cyber-criminals mainly target financial stuff like bank accounts, credit card details, passwords and other personal information which may be stored on your computer. Be careful about storing this information on your cmputer! A lot of people have information stored right on the hard drive...like passwords and it's usually in a document named...'passwords.' Keep all that information on a CD or flash drive!!
Malwarebytes is reportedly able to stop your pc from getting infected but apparently not the free version. The free version does however seem to block it once you get infected. My laptop was running very slow and I kept getting popups from MalwareBytes informing me it had blocked different stuff. They were poppong up every couple of seconds, but only when I was on the Internet.
I am running Webroot Antivirus and it didn't prevent me from getting it nor did anything show up on a scan with Webroot. I ran a scan with the free MalwareBytes and it didn't show anything either.
If you know what you are doing there are ways to remove it manually, but I had to sign on with Geek Squad, no easy chore because the laptop was running so slowly. Wouldn't you know it? My suscription expired yesterday! It cost me $200 to renew it for another year, but at least I got it cleaned off my laptop.
The techie said it likely came from either downloading a program (which I haven't done) or clicking on a advertisement. I did accidently double click on something that opened an ad. I don't remember what it was because I wasn't interested in it so closed it right away, but apparently it was too late.