What is Adware?
Adware is described as advertising-supported software programs that are designed to deliver variety of advertisements upon the web browsers.
Not all ad-supported programs are malicious. It is actually a method of advertising to gain user’s attention and promote affiliate products by delivering various advertising methods. For this, the Adware program tracks the browsing habits of users to display relevant ads to their browser while surfing. Thus, gaining traffic to their promotional websites and boosting sales process.
But many cyber offenders or con artists managing suspicious program deploy them to the web browser. In order to flood the whole browser with an innumerable quantity of ads, pop-ups, linked videos, in-text links, banners and other forms of commercials. This is done to make profits from user’s pay-per-click method.
These ads when knowingly or unknowingly clicked by the user redirects to third-party websites or any other malicious web page that could be risky.
Adware has the main purpose to make profits either by pay-per-click or redirecting users to suspicious websites. As a consequence, it may drop other illegitimate or malicious programs to the concerned devices. Some Adware is even programmed to silently collect user’s browsing-related information and monetary information like bank account logins, credit card numbers and so on. Such activities, later on, may lead to frauds.
If your browser is infected with any Adware then, you may encounter these symptoms:
- Lots of ads and pop-ups appear frequently on your browser;
- Browser redirects to anonymous web pages showing irrelevant contents;
- Unknown browser extensions, add-ons, and toolbars added;
- Web pages take too much time to load and often crash down.
- Redirect pop-ups asking to install any extension/flash player or updated browser version.
Sometimes Adware often affects the system performance as they install other potentially unwanted programs to it.
The presence of an Adware program for too long within a system can even lower the security of the attacked system and create security flaws due to which other harmful threats could also attack the vulnerable computer system.
What are the functionalities of an Adware?
Once an Adware hits a computer system, firstly it deploys its harmful executable files that are intended to perform some specific task. It is difficult to trace the presence of an Adware as it employs various trick approaches to hide within your browsers as well as the computer system. Also, it depends on the type of Adware program as for what purpose and effects it will lead to. Here are some of the common functionalities of the Adware:
- Deliver pop-ups, ads, banners, in-text links and video ads: These type of Adware are intended to earn revenue by promoting third-party products and services. They seek to gain user’s attention through attractive pop-ups and ads while the user is surfing, thus increasing sales for the affiliate/third-parties. For which they earn commissions in return.
- Browser Redirects to suspicious URLs: Such adware tends to maliciously increase the traffic of low ranked websites. Readdressing the traffic of users visiting websites to its own one without seeking permission. This is an illegitimate way of boosting a site’s traffic and this should not be encouraged.
- Installation of Malicious Programs: Infected user may encounter unknown software programs like web extensions, BHO(browser helper objects), toolbars installed on their browser. This happens without seeking user’s permission and is aimed to promote the software as well as keep monitoring user’s browsing activities silently. Such programs are not easy to remove manually as they edit startup settings, add registry entries and start its process threat within the task manager. So it is recommended to quickly scan your whole computer to detect and remove such Adware.
How does the Adware attack?
Adware programs use clever techniques to infiltrate to your system as well as the browser. Suppose you are normally going through a browsing session and you accidentally click on any link- the moment you do it your whole browser will start acting weird. Adware takes no moment to drop their executable file and starts its malicious activities. Here are some of the typical ways through which your computer could get infected with an Adware or PUP(Potentially Unwanted Program)
1. Pretending to be a useful Browser helper object
Browser helper objects are actually useful tools that advance the browsing experience and saves our time. But not all the browser extensions, toolbars and search extensions are genuine. They are actually ad-supported programs(Adware) that tends to modify your browser settings once you install them.
Soon you will realize that your whole browser settings and preferences have been altered with some unknown program. Along with that, browsing pages will be loaded with plenty of advertisements, pop-ups, and in-text links. It may give a hard time working on your browser with all unknown program interfering you with the browsing.
2. Clicking on fake pop-ups and ads
While browsing we witness lots of attractive pop-ups and ads that may help save some money or a new game worth try, any useful software program and so on. But do a little research before clicking on them quickly. As such ads can be misleading and are just a piece of annoying adware programs. Security experts always recommend avoiding clicking on unknown pop-ups and ads while surfing. This is also the best preventive measure to stay free from Adware threats. Also if you need any freeware then please visit the official websites and then only install/update them. Otherwise, a free thing may cost you much more.
3. Bundling of Freeware and Shareware
Normally free programs are distributed through bundling. This means the installation package will contain additional software programs along with the main downloaded program. There are various third-party download websites which offer freeware and shareware programs. This technique is often used to distribute Adware or unreliable programs without seeking further administrative permission at the time of installation. Such programs include any browser add-on, extension, plugins, toolbar, and third-party search engine program.
If the user does not read the package contains and forgot to uncheck the option of additional installation then the Adware could easily slip inside your computer. Always choose “Custom” or “Advanced” installation method at the time of installing any freeware. As stated earlier too, Adware is tricky to be removed manually. You will need a powerful Adware Removal tool to get rid of them completely.
What is the procedure to remove an Adware from different web browsers?
Adware or Potentially unwanted programs are capable to update and download their files from open network connection without the knowledge of users. Thus, it is very important to be patience while going through the manual removal of Adware. As any traces of the threat/virus left on the infected PC could leave a chance to relive again.
Here we have summed up the full Adware removal instructions that mostly affects the popular browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, MS Edge and Safari for both Windows and Mac OS X computer systems.
Removal of an Adware program from the infected browser as well as OS includes uninstalling all suspicious programs, unknown extensions from web browsers and resetting the web browser.
If you are going for the manual removal process, then we also recommend you to print/download these instructions or open it from another uninfected computer or laptop and follow step-by-step manual removal instruction. Windows OS PDF Guide.
What are the preventive measures to stay free from Adware?
On one hand, the internet is a huge network of resources and useful things but on the other hand, cyber-criminals misuse it for illegal activities and bad practices. There are various forms of computer threats and malware are roaming across the internet, any incautious activity could hamper our privacy and negotiate the resources of the computer system.
So it is better to take on few guidelines which will help to stay safe from such annoying and risky threats:
- Be cautious while Browsing: It is not necessarily what appears to be useful or legitimate is actually so. Thus, do not be in hurry to click any download link or any hit any ad as they might be an invitation to download a malicious or destructive program.
- Use only official websites for downloads: Adware often comes bundled with freeware program within the third-party download sites or any recommended link. So be careful from where you are downloading the required programs. If you are installing any web extension or add-on do it from the official web store.
Use a Real-time Security Software: An active real-time anti-malware program is a must thing for which you should invest for the betterment of your computer system. As the program will frequently keep scanning your computer in search of any new threat, the vulnerability of security flaws and also keep you updated about the current status of your computer.
Even a good anti-malware program will warn you about any malicious downloads or if you are attempting to visit a harmful website. And restrict any Adware or threat from being installed. But choose your anti-malware program wisely as there are lots of security programs available in the market but some of them may not provide you with full security.