Are you being bombarded with ads every time you try to browse the web? Is your computer slow and prone to shutting down out of the blue? If this is the case, there’s a good chance that your device has been infected with adware.
Adware is a potentially unwanted program (PUP) that delivers advertisements, flashing pop-up windows, banners, in-text links, auto-play video commercials and other commercial content on the browsers. Additionally, this ad-supported application can initiate redirects to various websites and collect browsing-related information without the user’s permission.
Adware is often confused with spyware. Spyware works in a similar way but is a separate program. It’s usually downloaded unknowingly and tracks your internet surfing habits in order to serve ads related to you.
Here are some signs you have adware on your device:
- Your web browser’s homepage has changed without your permission
- Advertisements show up in places they shouldn’t be
- Web pages that you frequent often don’t display the same way
- Website links redirect you to unintended pages
- Your web browser is extremely slow
- New toolbars, plugins or extensions appear without your permission
- Unwanted software applications start automatically installing
- Your browser keeps crashing
- There is a spike in data usage
Is Adware Dangerous?
Adware is more annoying than dangerous. There will be constant banners, in-text ads and pop-ups that appear inside your browser window whilst surfing the internet. Random windows and tabs may open unexpectedly. Your computer will get slow or crash completely.
There are also cases where adware can collect your data. In this case, the manufacturer can sell your adware data which shows your browsing history and may include your IP address, search queries and web pages recently visited.
How to Prevent Adware
To prevent adware from downloading onto your device, it’s important to be cautious of any websites that look untrustworthy. You should also be extremely wary when downloading freeware or shareware. Only download these programs from reputable websites that you trust.
Whilst browsing, avoid clicking on any advertisements or notices. A popular notice to avoid is one that says your PC is infected and an antivirus needs to be installed. This is a scam that many people fall for. In addition, you should always keep your operating system up to date on your devices.
I hope you now know what Adware is and how you can prevent it. There are some safety settings in your computer that can be enabled to protect you from any potential adware downloads. Good Antivirus software will block pop-ups on your browser and provide real-time protection against both malware and spyware.
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