detection icon

Short bio

PUP.Optional.APNToolbar is Malwarebytes’ generic detection name for toolbars of the Ask Partner Network (APN).

Type and source of infection

Users will notice a browser toolbar, which is typically identified by the red Ask icon. PUP.Optional.APNToolbar is a well-known browser hijackerthat, over time, was replaced by the newer Mindspark toolbar. Its EULA and Privacy Policy vary from software to software; however, they always clearly state their intentions.PUP.Optional.APNToolbar is usually installed by the users themselves, who may be prompted by exaggerated promises of functionality. It provides toolbars and Ask.com start pages claiming to offer helpful tools for user hobbies and interests.


Malwarebytes blocks PUP.Optional.APNToolbar


Malwarebytes can detect and remove PUP.Optional.APNToolbar without further user interaction.

  1. Please download Malwarebytesto your desktop.
  2. Double-click MBSetup.exeand follow the prompts to install the program.
  3. When your Malwarebytes for Windowsinstallation completes, the program opens to the Welcome to Malwarebytes screen.
  4. Click on the Get started button.
  5. Click Scan to start a Threat Scan.
  6. Click Quarantineto remove the found threats.
  7. Reboot the system if prompted to complete the removal process.


Should users wish to keep this program and exclude it from being detected in future scans, they can add the program to the exclusions list. Here’s how to do it.

  • Open Malwarebytes for Windows.
  • Click the Detection History
  • Click the Allow List
  • To add an item to the Allow List, click Add.
  • Select the exclusion type Allow a file or folderand use the Select a folderbutton to select the main folder for the software that you wish to keep.
  • Repeat this for any secondary files or folder(s) that belong to the software.

If you want to allow the program to connect to the Internet, for example to fetch updates, also add an exclusion of the type Allow an application to connect to the internet and use theBrowse button to select the file you wish to grant access.


Associated folders:%ProgramFiles%\AskPartnerNetwork\Toolbar%ProgramData%\AskPartnerNetwork%ProgramData%\APN