What is Adware and how to prevent it?



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In today’s world, it has become very important to be online and stay connected. Access to the internet lets you access all sorts of information and software very easily. The internet also enables you to play games, share files, pictures, download music, videos and much more. With so many things available out there, you must understand that you might be loading your PC with adware without knowing about it.

In a typical scenario, you may find a free software application (which is typically a freeware) that you would like to have. You decide to download and install the application. The time you are downloading your software, you may also be unknowingly downloading adware on your system.

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Table of Contents

What is an Adware?

Adware is an ad-supported software program that generates revenue for its developer by generating various online ads either in the UI of the program or on the screen in front of the user during the installation process of the software.

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Adware falls under the category of malware which gets installed on your system without you knowing about it. It is a malicious software which can lead to harmful effects on your system. The term adware is the combination of “advertisement” and “malware” which can usually be seen as one of the major effects of adware, i.e., display of advertisements on the victim’s computer.

Adware is a web threat that steals users’ data. It primarily focuses on gaining access to your information through the display of ads. It is one of the major concern of most companies as it can steal their proprietary and personal information and use it for monetary gain.

Most internet users have encountered adware at some specific point but very few people actually know much about it. Adware is a very real threat.

Most internet users have encountered adware at some specific point but very few people actually know much about it. Adware is a very real threat.

The adware is displayed in a variety of ways. These include:

  • Static box display ad
  • Banner display ad
  • Full-screen ad
  • Video ad
  • A pop-up ad, etc.

How Does Adware Work?

Adware is a software designed to disrupt the use of your computer in some or the other way. It can continuously run in the background without your knowledge, using up valuable computer resources such as processor speed and RAM.

Adware provides an easy way for software application developers to make money in an illegal way. The developers attach the adware with the developed software to cover the cost of making the software without charging the user. Adware is malicious software that hijacks your computer and bombards you with ads.

The adware usually enters a user’s computer during web surfing and downloading software applications. For example, you may download a peer-to-peer file sharing client that contains hidden adware. The ads begin to show up on your computer after the adware files are loaded onto the system. After that, the adware program may plant tracking cookies, keyloggers (programs that copy information typed through the keyboard) or perform deep hard drive scans.

Types of Adware

Most common types of adware are –

  • In-program advertising
  • Pop-up ads on web pages
  • There are some other kinds of adware which use tracking tools for gathering information about your browsing history, location, etc. so as to target related ads to your computer screen.

Purpose of Adware

Adware is designed for different purposes which include:

  • Flooding the system with advertisements
  • Tracking browsing activities of users
  • Some types of adware can even steal sensitive information such as credit card information, financial data, passwords, etc.

How Does Adware Get onto your System?

There are two ways in which Adware can get onto your PC. These are:

1. Via freeware or shareware: Adware can exist in various freeware or shareware programs so as to generate advertising revenues for the developer.

2. Via infected websites: If you visit an infected website knowingly or unknowingly, it can result in the installation of adware on your system.

Signs that an Adware has been installed on your System

Adware can do some pretty nasty stuff to your system and cause damage. It can silently run in the background without you having any idea about it. Some of the signs that adware has been installed on your system are:

1. Deterioration of your computer’s performance.
2. When you click on a link, you are redirected to endless pop-up windows
3. An unknown web browser with a weird name takes over your system.
4. Tons of pop-up ads appear on the webpage you are visiting
5. Frequent system freezes or crashes
6. Display of new toolbars on your web browser
7. Installation of suspicious programs on your PC without any signs
8. Redirection to malicious websites when clicking on pop up ads
9. Changes to the default browser settings which is very difficult to restore

Effects of Adware on the System

Adware gets installed on a system with or without the consent of users and can cause a number of unpleasant effects. These include:

1. Slow PC performance
2. Once adware gets on a computer, it can do things like collect the user’s information to display more targeted ads.
3. It could steal, erase or modify your personal data.
4. It can track your internet browsing habits to send you popups containing advertisements related to the sites you’ve visited.
5. Adware consumes and slows down your computer’s processor and internet connection speed.
6. It can damage your system registry by injecting harmful files or codes.
7. It logs the keys you type and records other activities you perform on your computer whether you are online or offline.
8. It reads your cookies and obtains information.
9. Adware can hijack your homepage.
10. It can interfere with basic functions of your system.
11. Adware obtains data that you search for based on Meta keywords embedded within the websites you visit.
12. It can steal personal information stored on your computer’s hard drive and use it to steal your identity.
13. Some adware even contains keyloggers and spyware leading to greater damage to your computer and invasion of your private data.
14. The adware can transfer your credit card information, passwords, banking details, and other private information to cybercriminals who can use it for their personal gain.

Protecting Yourself from Adware

One can protect their computer by using a good Antivirus program. A good Antivirus scan removes and blocks all types of adware. ITL Total Security Antivirus is one such Antivirus. It lets you find and clean all types of adware on your system. Scan your system regularly with ITL Total Security to stay safe from all types of adware. ITL Total Security continuously runs in the background to keep you protected from all types of adware.

Therefore, it is vital that your system is equipped with a program that not only detects the presence of adware on your system but also removes the adware to protect your system.

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