While discussing threats posed to computers, you would have heard about Adware! Don’t get confused with another usage of the term — to denote ad-supported software. On the other hand, we’re here talking about adware that are used to harm user experience, data or device itself. Obviously, you may be doubtful about this threat and may need an extra clarification.
In this article, we will tell you what is an adware and its characteristics too. In addition to that, we’ll talk about the ways to prevent adware from affecting your device. So, shall we start?
What’s an Adware?
Suppose you need a short answer. Then, adware is a kind of software that is intended to show advertisements in one computer, without the permission from user. Practically speaking, once your PC has been affected by an adware, you will start seeing annoying pop-ups and other kinds of advertisements. These may appear anytime — when you write a Word document or when you are coding something confidential. Either case, an effective adware can be truly one hell of annoyance for the user.
If you need a longer answer about adware, we should talk something else too. We have already told you that adware is considered a major threat that causes annoyance. However, there are times when adware goes beyond that short definition. In such times, an adware becomes a serious threat that is as harmful as a virus, malware or Trojan. It’s so, because an adware can do a lot of things, such as data theft and surveillance.
How Can Adware Harm You?
There are several ways adware can harm your device and user experience. The major ones among them are:
- Annoying Advertising Banners: As we said earlier, serious adware threats can bring quite annoying advertising banners to anywhere on your screen. That can be your browser window or the desktop itself. Once you’re connected to internet, adware is to start downloading the ads and show it in various parts of PC.
- Automatic Redirection to Advertising Websites: While browsing web, you may be automatically redirected to advertising websites. For instance, you will end up in a full-of-ads website even when you had typed facebook.com in the URL box. That is annoying, is that not?
- Sometimes Very Hard to Find: You have no clue about how the adware works. So, you cannot have a single idea of what it is doing in the PC environment. A well-designed adware leaves no mark of recognition; nor can you find it through your casual exploration.
- Collect Personal Information: Since there’s no clue about its action, adware may be used to collect your personal information. Often done as a part of advertising, this data-collection is quite injurious to privacy. It may be stealing the browsing data or the cookies or the passwords you have stolen. If we take a few other words, a well-made adware can be a good spyware too. After all, web is the best thing to steal, right?
- Consumes a lot of your PC Resources and Bandwidth: An adware can consume a lot of your PC resources. If your PC is infected by an adware, you may see the loss of a lot of bandwidth after connecting to internet. This is done, because the advertisements — even some of videos and flash content — are downloaded by the tool.
Don’t you think these harms are compelling enough to prevent adware from your PC? Before we think about getting rid of adware, we should know how it gets into a PC.
How Adware Infects Your PC?
There are many ways that adware developers try to infect your computer. The most common way is through offering free-to-use software. Seemingly useful at first, such software will be accompanied by some adware. Quite silently, it gets into your computer and start doing its job. Another way is through malicious websites. When you visit malicious websites, particular files may be downloaded and installed. This, then, leads to the proper functioning of an adware. So, in short, an active internet user is somewhat exposed to adware infection, but we have ways to prevent adware.
How to Prevent Adware?
Using Standard Antivirus Solutions
The first step of preventing adware is recognizing the presence! Without you knowing, there might be some types of adware that exists in your computer and consumes resources. So, you must take an effort to detect the adware and to remove it afterwards. To do that, you need to use premium antivirus tools like Bitdefender, Kaspersky or Norton etc. All these suites come with dedicated features to protect device from adware. They not only find the presence of adware in a particular device, but they also remove them completely. This might not be possible with free antivirus. So, you need to depend upon the premium security suites out there.
Read: How to Block Adware Using Windows Defender
Adware Removal Tools
Instead of that, you can seek some dedicated adware removal tools. This is useful if your current antivirus tool is not capable of removing the adware from the device. In that case, you can get a standalone adware removal that will be working fine along with the antivirus suite. Another way to prevent adware is to stop visiting the malicious area. For instance, we mentioned about those so-called freeware and seemingly-fine websites. You should take an effort for understanding the real identity of websites and services before using/downloading them.
Taking Care While Installing Programs
There’s another thing you should do while installing software. You must read the complete terms, conditions and the privacy-based information. More often than not, many free programs include the presence of adware in their terms and conditions document. In the sudden urge to finish the installation, we people don’t pay much attention. So, next time you install something not-so-trusted, make sure that you have a deeper look on its Terms and Conditions.
Considering the above mentioned points, adware isn’t a simple ad-showing thing. It can have serious impacts on PC and your data. Also, if used well, adware is also capable of user surveillance, data theft, resource theft etc. So, if you care your privacy and security, you should know about adware and how to prevent it. The simplest and best option is to use a well-trusted antivirus programs. That said, you can choose the option you prefer.
Harold Burton says
Please can you help me ? I am unable to block ads due to no ‘+ free’ showing on chrome web store page – only showing as ‘avaiable on chrome’ which then just sends me back to the google chrome page?
Paul Brown says
I personally would advise against the aggressive approach of blocking adblock users access to the content. Tested it on one site – it increased bounce rate and it seems the visitors just went away instead of disabling adblock. Even if adblock users are not direct income source, they may share your content and increase your popularity.