You are working on your PC or laptop and suddenly pop ups start to fill your main screen. Annoying, right? Then it starts annoying you more by redirecting you to some pages without your consent. You try to close those windows but these pop ups and redirecting to different pages goes on and on. Why is it happening? The most probable answer is adware. Money or revenue generated by unbidden ads attract adware to your systems.
To get rid of your problems you must know the problem. Knowing about the basics of adware is a must. What is adware and what are its symptoms? How to detect adware? are really important questions and you should know their answer. Let’s have a look at this article.
What is adware?
Adware or advertising-supported software is a type of malware that displays unwanted advertisements on your PC or laptop. When any user unintentionally tries to install any legit application bundled with adware, the adware gets activated and infects your system. Adware is not always dangerous, but sometimes these pop ups collect personal information to target users with customized advertisements. They can also direct you to infected pages and malicious websites through various infected links. These types of malware can put your PC security at risk. The advertisements generated by adware can be in forms of some unclosable window or pop ups.
How to identify adware?
You can spot adware in your system by noticing the following symptoms :
- Your system will slow down or shut down at any instant.
- Whenever you’ll visit any trustworthy and reputed website, you’ll get redirected to some suspicious website or there will be tons and tons of intrusive advertisements.
- The home page of your browser is changed unexpectedly.
- Searches direct you to search engine result pages of unfamiliar sites.
- Pop-up advertisements will warn you about computer virus and it needs a critical update.
- You can see new extension and icons on your browser’s toolbar.
How does your device gets infected with adware?
There are two ways in which your device can get infected with adware:
- The first way is when you visit any unsecure website or a website that is infected as well. Such websites carry adware that uses a vulnerability of your browser and then download and install themselves onto your device.
- The second way is when you install the adware yourself. Yes, it is possible that you have installed it but not with the intention of infecting your system, obviously! You sometimes download any free software which can be secretly monetized with revenue that is earned via adware which accompanies this installation.
Types of adware:
- Legitimate applications : This type of adware allows you to give consent to advertisements and software promos, offsetting costs by offering their software for free. Obviously the free product attracts your attention and you will download this type of adware. This adware is created by all types of developers, even the reputed ones. It is an ethical, legal and valid way of giving free products to the customers. Still not all the downloads are consensual and here legal lines come into play.
- Potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) : PUA includes any program that you might not even have chosen to install to your device. Such apps are also known as Potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). this type of adware can either be totally harmless or totally malicious and illegal. It totally depends on the goals of software and intention of the distributor.
- Legal deceptive adware PUA : Such softwares can make it tricky to output of installing harmless third-party software. This method is sometimes used by the legitimate adware. If the creator hasn’t knowingly installed any malware tainted software or ads then it is legal. But in some cases adware might unknowingly deliver malware to devices.
- Legal abusive adware PUA : This kind of software is designed for bombarding you with advertisements to abuse sponsorship payouts. There can be excessive ads in packaged software via internet browser toolbars, in adware itself or by other means. In such types of adware ads for different things like fitness pills, clothing or even pornography will appear often. This adware is legal at your expense, without any malware.
- Illegal malicious adware PUA : Such types of softwares earn profits from third-parties that are distributing different types malicious software like virus, spyware and other malicious infections onto user’s devices. This kind of malware can be intentionally masked within the websites it advertises, in accompanying software or even the adware itself. The creator and distributor of such adware (threat) spread it knowingly and even use abusive methods for accomplishing their goal.