Adware is a malicious software (malware), which prompts up ads on computer screens – usually while surfing the net. There is, however, more to this program, compared to a typical malware. And this article brings you a concise review, showing the signs, effects, common examples and how to remove adware.
Want to learn more about this malicious program? Read on!
What is adware?
Adware is the shortened form of “advertising malware”; it’s designed to hijack the navigability of web browsers – throwing up unwanted adverts, and redirecting web searches to advert pages. The program is widely known in the cyber world as a modern day PUP – Potentially Unwanted Program.
Typically, the unwanted pop-ups that suddenly appear on your screen while surfing the net are mainly associated with adware; although, these pop-ups are some times normal components of a website.
Furthermore, this program is slightly different from other forms of malware; in that, it does little or no harm to the host computer or inherent files. Nonetheless, some adware are notorious for information theft. This category of adware are similar to “trojan spywares”, which are highly notorious for data theft and cyber-espionage.
Essentially, adware is used by advertising agencies, albeit illegally, to gather information about potential clients/customers, or promote a particular product.
Signs and effects
As pointed out earlier, “advertising malware” is not like other forms of malware. Normally, adware invasion provides lesser cause for worry, compared to the invasion of spyware or Trojan. In most cases (if not all), this program does not impede the smooth-running of infected computer; except of course, the nuisance created by the pop-up ads, as well as the web redirects.
Similarly, a typical adware reveals itself to the victim. And most times, it requests for permission (usually in disguise), before accessing privileged information. However, its revelation is in its effects – the pop-up ads; as there is usually zero indication or traceable record of adware installation on your device.
Basically, this malicious program infects computers via two major channels. These channels include:
This is probably the most notorious channel of installation. By visiting an infected site, via an insecure browser/network, adware programs are automatically installed on your computer.
Adware installed via insecure web browsers are often referred to as “browser hijackers”. This category of “ads malware” are the ones that hijack your web navigation; redirecting your searches to advertisement sites. In severe cases, they could crash your browser.
Most freeware and shareware apps serve as hubs for adware. And these are installed alongside the freeware/shareware programs.
Adware installed via this channel offers more penetration; they can display ads anywhere, and at anytime on your computer screen.
How to remove it
Adware are somewhat invisible on infected computer, as they have no known file directory or installation folder. Hence, they are practically irremovable via conventional uninstall. However, they still reveal themselves via pop-up ads, and web redirects. Therefore, if you notice any suspicious advert placement on your screen, your computer is probably infected.
In conclusion, “prevention is better than cure”; hence, ensure you take necessary precautions while surfing the net. Also, ensure you read the terms and conditions of freeware/shareware apps before installing them on your computer.
Share your adware experience with us by commenting below.