Adware, or ad-supported software, could be quite harmless, or it could be aggravating, persistent, or even dangerous, when it leaves your PC open for threats. It all depends on the way you got it.
Some free applications, like Skype, use embedded advertisements to cover the cost of development. The user downloads and uses this software for free. In exchange, he agrees to see ads during installation or when using the application. In this case advertisements only show inside the program when it’s running. Generally it is possible to get rid of them by purchasing the application’s full version or the registration key.
Yet more and more often users encounter another, far more insidious type of adware. These ones either don’t ask for permission to be installed, or do it in a roundabout way. You might get this adware by clicking on attachments in spam emails, on ad banners and pop-ups, or even just by browsing unsafe websites.
Another method adware frequently employ is bundling with programs you download willingly. Sites that allow you to download stuff for free are ad-sponsored. They make money by attaching the so called ‘optional installs‘ to their products. These optional installs will be introduced as new superior browsers, helpful browser add ons finding best deals and coupons on the Internet for you, advanced search engines, handy toolbars and so on. Perhaps a few of them are what they claim to be. Most, though, are just another adware and possible malware, and people install them without noticing, rushing through installation. Many of these applications are hard to delete completely, and some are able to get reinstalled again and again.
What threats does unwanted adware present, though?
- Numerous advertising banners, in-text ads and pop-ups will appear inside the browser. In rare cases pop-ups may show up outside the browser, when you are not even using the Internet. Not only the ads are annoying and distracting, but they are also a hazard. Clicking on them, on purpose or by accident, will bring you to potentially dangerous websites, where you can encounter further malware.
- Many adware applications will interfere with your web surfing, altering browser’s start page and homepage, redirecting you to sponsored, possibly unsafe sites sometimes.
- Adware applications can noticeably slow down the computer and cause system crashes.
- Adware will spy on your browsing activities, sending data like your IP-address, search queries and webpages you look at back to the owner’s servers, to deliver more relevant advertisements to you. The gathered data might be sold to third parties sometimes. You also cannot know if adware programs collects more than that, your logins, passwords and banking information, for example.
- Adware may leave holes in PC’s defenses, opening it to hacker attacks.
As we see, adware is dangerous more often then not. Usually not by itself, but by bringing other threats to you. Follow these rules to avoid being infected with adware:
- Do not download freeware, unless it’s from a reputable website.
- When downloading software for free, always choose Custom or Advanced installation, read through End User License Agreement, and reject any optional installs, unless you are completely sure of these programs.
- Don’t click on any advertisements while browsing.
- Don’t click on on notices inside the browser that your PC is infected, and antivirus needs to be installed. These are scams.
- Don’t open spam email, and don’t open email attachments, unless you were expecting them. Yes, even if it’s from your friend: Malware is able to send emails from the computer it infected.
- Set your browser to block pop-us.
- Scan each file you download with an antivirus.
- Set your antivirus to detect adware, if it has that option. Better yet, install an anti-spyware program, as it will protect you from adware, spyware and other types of malware antivirus won’t always be able to. If your computer has adware applications installed already, eliminate them urgently.
Fast adware removal:
Main features of SpyHunter:
- Deletes all component parts created by computer threats.
- Can solve browser problems and protect browser settings.
- Has System and Network Guards, so you can forget about computer viruses.
*It is a free scanner and paid antivirus tool.