A massive amount of online revenue comes from advertisements. Google gets 95% of its income from online advertising. Companies often have online ad campaigns to push their products and services to potential customers. You encounter as much as 1,700 banner ads per month. As such, catching your attention is a top priority of ads. Eventually, the adware was born.
What is Adware?
Adware is a type of grayware. A grayware is a "potentially unwanted programs." Imagine it as a step below malicious software. It may not directly harm your computer. But, it still affects your system. More often than not, grayware are just annoying. Unfortunately, they can be used by hackers for further damage.
Adware is short for "advertisement software." Apparently, aims to catch your attention in any way it can. Pop-ups, banners, toolbars, and alerts are classic adware activities. More aggressive methods are recently found online as well. It exists both as an online entity and desktop applications.
The mobile version of adware is called madware. It functions similar to adware. Additionally, it can even send you unlimited text and chat messages to entice you to buy products.
What does Adware do on your System?
In itself, adware is not dangerous. It is merely irritating because of its intrusive methods. It can be an efficient way to market products when used efficiently and ethically.
However, adware eats up system resources just like any applications. For example, infinite pop-ups require your browser to take up more memory. It eventually affects your browsing activity. Pop-ups may even use bandwidth and data.
A desktop adware slows down your system significantly. It uses up the limited processing power of your computer. Adware exhausts your computer memory making the OS sluggish and even freeze.
It also affects your data usage. Adware downloads photos and videos to create eye-catching ads. It could eventually use up valuable data on your Internet data plans. It happens especially when you are on mobile.
Why is Adware Dangerous?
Hackers use adware as an effective way to make you click or run malware. Seeing a good deal online, "winning" a lottery, or catching your attention with unique products takes advantage of your interest. Adware can be used together with spyware. It tracks your activities including keystrokes on your keyboard, screenshots of your workspace, and even gather sensitive information.
Some adware may collect data from your browsing habits. It is then used to created targeted advertisements based on your interest. For example, ads may suddenly show bags or shoes if you've recently used your browser to search those items.
Man-in-the-middle attack when browsing the Internet. It may redirect your traffic to another server that can "eavesdrop" on your data. It becomes concerning when you are accessing your banking information online.
How do you Get Adware?
There are countless ways that you can get an adware. Some legitimate freeware or shareware come with adware during installation. It is typically a way of generating revenues. The developers are paid a certain amount when users click on the advertisements.
Sometimes, you install toolbars or extensions that come with adware. It inserts itself during your browsing. Adware may also become a part of an add-on's interface.
Malicious websites can also install adware on your system. Hacker methods are typically employed. Trojans can be used to "inject" adware on your PC. Usually, it goes unnoticed more often than not.
How to Prevent Adware?
Having a good, clean browsing habit protects you from adware. However, you cannot wholly escape adware. However, there are a few things you can do to avoid the annoying and potentially dangerous ones.
Turn On Pop-up Blocker
- Internet explorer
On Google Chrome, click the three-dots in the upper right corner. Then click Settings.
Scroll down then click Advanced. Click Content settings.
Click Popups in Content settings.
Make sure the "switch" is turned off. The label should say Blocked (recommended).
You can also customize which websites you can allow popups. Click ADD on Block or Allow.
In Firefox, open a tab. Go to about:preferences. Scroll down to Permissions. Make sure that you select Block pop-up windows box.
In Internet Explorer, click the cog icon on the upper right corner. Click Internet options.
Go to the Privacy tab in the Internet Options window. Make sure that you check the Turn on Pop-up Blocker box under Pop-up Blocker.
In Microsoft Edge, click the three dots on the upper right corner. Click Settings.
Click View advanced settings in Settings.
Turn on the "switch" under Block pop-ups.
Install Ad Blockers
Another way to protect you from adware when browsing is to install an ad blocker add-on. A good example is Adblock Plus. It effectively blocks banners and annoying pop-ups on web pages. Additionally, it stops adware tracking and other potential malware. It can even prevent social media buttons. Adblock Plus balances blocking intrusive ads and allowing acceptable ones. You can customize which ads and sites to block and allow.
Ghostery is another good option for protecting you online. It claims to optimize the web page by blocking annoying ads. It has a clean and easy to understand user interface. You can quickly add a trusted website. Moreover, you can pause ad blocking in case you need to. It also anonymizes your data to avoid tracking.
Install MalwareFox - AntiMalware
MalwareFox in Action
The most effective way to protect your system from all types of adware is to install a robust anti-malware. The above options work on browsers. However, the only way to block desktop adware is to have a security program.
MalwareFox is an excellent choice for blocking adware and much, much more. Hackers often use adware to gain a foot in your system. The anti-malware system analyzes all executable files in your machine. It efficiently targets malicious files including possible adware. It will remove even those unknown threats.
Moreover, it helps you maintain a good browsing experience. It eliminates annoying ads, toolbars, and adware online. It ensures that nothing goes through your protection.
How to Remove Adware?
Adware can get through your system even with the most reliable protection. It is because some adware is non-intrusive. Some security suite comes with adware. You may notice occasional pop-ups about your antivirus from time to time. These are not harmful.
You may have to uninstall the offending program if the ads annoy you. Sometimes it is not possible to block adware entirely on your computer.
Run a scan using MalwareFox. It will analyze your system for any harmful adware. Drag and drop suspicious files or folders to perform a Deep Scan, which ensures that there is no infection.
Adware is quite helpful when used correctly and ethically. Advertisements have been a part of modern life since the inception of marketing. However, it is essential to know that adware is also a gateway to your computer. Hackers use it to install more robust malicious programs. Ensure layered security and safe browsing and downloading habits.