Adware, or advertising-supported software, is a stealthy type of malware that infects your system and displays advertisements on your screen. It studies your browser history to target you with specific products and services.
Adware degrades your browsing experience on PCs, Macs, mobile phones, tablets, and other devices by peppering you with pop-up windows, in-text links, and aggressive auto-play videos. The worst adware introduces vulnerabilities in your system – paving the way for malware such as viruses and spyware.
How Do I Get Adware?
Free software such as freeware and shareware are tempting to use because they’re free. However, free software often uses PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) like adware to generate revenue. Shady websites also generate revenue by infecting visitors with on-site adware, which hijacks your browser and blasts you with ads. In rare cases, some adware is even pre-installed on devices.
How Do I Know If I Have Adware?
It’s easy to confuse adware with legitimate ads because many websites use similar tactics to promote products and services on-site. For example, CNN’s website automatically plays loud commercials in small windows without warning. The difference is that adware infects your computer and hides in your hard drive. Watch out for these signs of adware on your system:
- Sluggish Internet Speeds: Your download and upload speeds are slower than usual.
- Slow Browser: Your browser takes longer to load and operate.
- Frequent Crashes: Your browser crashes randomly, even after it’s updated. Your operating system also restarts without warning.
- PUPs: Mysterious new toolbars, extensions, and plugins are suddenly a part of your browser.
- Aesthetics: Websites and platforms look skewed and disproportionate.
- Random Advertisements: Reputable websites feature unusually lowbrow ads.
- Expensive Bills: Your Internet and data bills are higher than usual due to an unexplained spike in usage.
- Home Page Changes: Your browser’s home page changes regularly without your permission.
What’s the Difference Between Adware and Spyware?
While spyware and adware are similar, they’re not the same. Spyware is a more dangerous type of malware. It infects computers, spies on user activity, gathers information like email addresses, banking information, login credentials, credit card details, and keystrokes, and transmits them secretly to third parties. Spyware also scans your files and reads your documents. A tool that removes adware and spyware is the best solution because it kills both malicious birds with one stone.
How Do I Crush Adware Threats?
The right software should help you crush all adware threats. It should scan fast, clean quickly, and detect most adware. It should also run without overloading your system’s memory or processing power.
One of your best options is Malwarebytes AdwCleaner for Windows, which homes in on adware, spyware, potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), and browser hijackers with cutting-edge technology designed to eradicate such threats.
How Do I Shield Myself From Such Threats?
Common sense is your first line of defense against such threats. Remember to download and install new software judiciously and cancel an installation if it arouses your suspicion at any stage. Avoid unreputable websites and don’t open untrustworthy apps and links. Finally, use the right cybersecurity software to keep all threats in check.
Although most adware seems harmless, it can make your life on the Internet very frustrating. With the right precautions and the best cybersecurity software, you can protect your computer from sneaky and unwanted guests.