Definition of Adware
Adware, also known as advertisement-supported software, is a way for developers to generate revenue by bombarding your screen with unwanted advertisements, usually within a web browser. Adware is one of the most common types of grayware. Typically, it uses underhanded methods to either appear legitimate or piggyback onto another program to coerce you into installing it on your device. These forms are manipulative and create an open door for malicious programs.
How is Adware Installed?
More often than not, adware ends up on your device in one of two ways. The first is “freeware” or “shareware”. This usually happens when you download software or programs from the internet and the adware secretly installs itself onto your device without your knowledge or permission. This happens because the author of the program signed up with the adware vendor. Free software that contains some adverts may be irritating but not illegal. However, if a third-party program adds malicious adware onto your device without your consent that is illegal.
The second way that adware can end up in your system is by visiting a site that has been infected with adware, whether it’s a trusted site or a sketchy one. This form of adware download takes advantage of a vulnerability in the user’s web browser to deliver a drive-by download. After it infects your system, the adware starts collecting your information, redirecting you to malicious websites, and throwing more advertisements into your browser.
Alternatively, a hacker might exploit vulnerability in your software or operating system to insert malware, including some types of adware, into your system.
What is the Purpose of Adware?
Ultimately the main purpose of adware is to make money; by quietly installing itself onto your devices and hoping you’ll click on an advert displayed to you. Creators and vendors make money from third parties by:
- Pay Per Click (PPC) - Where in they get paid each time you click on an advert
- Pay Per View (PPV) - Where in they get paid each time an advert is shown to you
- Pay Per Install (PPI) - Where in they get paid each time software is installed
Signs of Adware on your Device
- Most obvious - Advertisements are showing up in places they shouldn’t be
- Your default browser page has been changed without permission
- Website links are redirecting you to sites you don’t want to go to
- Your browser is very slow
- New extensions or plugins appear without permission
- Unwanted software installs automatically
- Your browser keeps crashing
In order to prevent adware from being installed on your device, it is important to be cautious of any seemingly untrustworthy sites. You should also be careful when downloading freeware or shareware. Only download programs from well known, reputable websites that you can be sure you trust.
When you are online, always be wary of adverts and notices. A popular scam is one that says your device is infected and an antivirus needs to be installed immediately. This scam is one that many people fall for because they create a sense of urgency, this falls under the category of scareware.
Keeping your systems updated is vital in aiding the prevention of malware. Outdated systems are vulnerable and malware can exploit the weaknesses in security flaws yet to be patched. There are also safety settings on most devices that can be enabled to protect you from a potential adware installation. One of the most common safety precautions is to set your browser permissions to block pop-ups. Another is to scan any file you download with an antivirus. The antivirus can give real-time protection against malware.
Many antivirus scanners don’t consider adware a serious threat so they often don’t contain adware removal. In order to remove adware you usually need an adware removal tool, they are specifically designed to detect suspicious behaviour and flag any potentially unwanted programs in your system. The best tools don’t just remove adware but they also scan anything you download for potential adware infections.
How Can Securiwiser Help You?
Securiwiser can aid your cyber security by monitoring your devices, website and network twenty-four-seven. With daily scans you can be sure that nothing suspicious will fly under the radar and should your device become infected you will be alerted immediately and told where to find help if you can’t counter the threat yourself. Securiwiser also provides grades based on each aspect of your security, so you’ll always know where, if any, your vulnerabilities lie.
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