What is Adware and How do I Get rid of it?

What is Adware and How do I Get rid of it?

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Anshuman
Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content
Updated on Aug 31, 2023 09:27 IST

How many of you have wished there were more ads on the internet? The answer will be “None.” Money generated by unbidden ads attracts adware to your PC or mobile device like your picnic food attracts pests.

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Adware is malicious software that constantly bombards you with pop-ups. It can also collect personal information, track your websites, and record everything you type and annoy you.

This article will go over adware in-depth. But, before proceeding any further let’s go through the topics that we will be covering in this article:

What is adware?

Adware, also known as advertising-supported software, displays unsolicited advertisements on your computer. These programs will show pop-up ads, change your browser’s homepage, install spyware, and otherwise bombard your device with ads.

Must Explore- What is Cybersecurity?

Some security experts consider it the forerunner of today’s potentially unwanted program. It usually employs a devious method to disguise itself as a legitimate program that is tricking you into installing it on your systems, such as PCs, tablets, mobile devices, etc.

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Let’s look at a few of the examples:

There are hundreds of adware programs that can negatively impact your computer in various ways. Some of the common types are:

Fireball: In 2017, an Israeli software company discovered that it had infected over 250 million computers and one-fifth of corporate networks worldwide.

DollarRevenue: It was one of the first programs to infect millions of computers around the world. This would set up a browser toolbar on the victim machine to monitor its internet searches.

DeskAd: It displays deceptive ads in your search engine, diverts your traffic to malicious sites, and shows pop-up ads.

You can also explore- What is a Denial-of-Service (DoS) Attack?

How does an adware work?

Adware is merged with the program itself when a company decides to use it to support its software. This enables advertisements to be loaded automatically. Other companies purchase ad space in order to market to the program’s users. And the revenue generated by selling advertising space can help the designers to cover development costs.

Some companies integrate adware into their programs so that the program cannot run unless the ads are displayed. All ad blockers should be disabled if the user wants to use the software. Adware frequently collects personal information from users and tracks their browsing habits, which is sold to third parties.

Adware developers and distributors earn money from third parties in two ways:

  • Pay-per-click (PPC): The developer receives money every time you click on an ad.
  • Pay-per-view (PPV): The developer receives money each time you see an advertisement.
  • Pay-per-install (PPI): The developer receives money every time bundled software is installed on a device.

You can also explore- Who is an Ethical Hacker?

Types of adware

It is of two types: legitimate and malicious.

Legitimate

The user willingly downloads this adware and usually receives something in return. In exchange for the adware, they may receive a discount or free software. The advertisements help cover the software’s costs or allow the developer to provide the product for free.

Malicious

Adware becomes malicious if designed to deliver malicious software to the user. However, some legal adware may inadvertently create vulnerabilities that malware can exploit. Malicious adware comes in many forms, including spyware, potentially unwanted programs, etc.

How does adware enter your system?

There are two primary ways to get adware on your system or device. Those two ways are:

  • You download an adware-containing program, and it gets installed silently without your knowledge.
  • The second way is to use a so-called bad website. These websites may contain adware, which exploits a weakness in your internet browser to give a drive-by download.

What are the signs that your system is infected by adware?

The following indicators can help you determine:

  • Your web browser starts crashing.
  • Your web browser gets slow.
  • Advertisements appear in unexpected places.
  • New toolbars, extensions, or plugins appear in your browser.
  • Web pages that you frequently visit are not displaying correctly.
  • Frequently visited web pages not displaying correctly.
  • Your system begins to install unwanted software applications on its own.
  • The homepage of your web browser gets mysteriously changed without your knowledge.

How to remove adware?

If Adware has already infected your device, you should use an antivirus program to remove it safely. Numerous free tools are available for removing Adware from your device, but not all are safe and viable options.

Installing antivirus software can help prevent viruses from infiltrating your computer through Adware while also providing a safe removal option. If you have an antivirus program, make a backup of your files and data before performing a scan for potential adware on your device.

How to prevent adware from spreading? 

You can take many steps to prevent adware from spreading.

Use a trusted ad blocker: An ad blocker will prevent ads from appearing as you browse the web, potentially eliminating drive-by downloads from infected websites.

Avoid shady websites: Avoid shady websites, especially if you’re doing online shopping.

Do not click on ads that appear too good to be true: Any advertisement promising a free iPhone or something equally enticing is most likely a scam.

Change the privacy settings in your browser: You should be able to prevent third-party installations depending on your browser.

Ignore bogus warnings: Large flashing pop-ups with many exclamation points warning of a virus are almost certainly fake.

Use powerful antivirus software: Even if you follow all of these precautions, some stubborn malware may still find its way in. A strong antivirus program is your best defense, preventing malicious software from entering your system.

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FAQs

How is adware distributed?

Adware can also spread via software bundles.

Where does adware originate?

Adware typically appears in software/programs downloaded from the internet - typically freeware or shareware.

Adware can it steal information?

Malicious adware can steal your credit card information, passwords, or contacts, as well as your browsing history.

How do I check for adware?

Use Windows Defender to scan your computer.

About the Author
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Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content

Anshuman Singh is an accomplished content writer with over three years of experience specializing in cybersecurity, cloud computing, networking, and software testing. Known for his clear, concise, and informative wr... Read Full Bio

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