Adware is a type of malicious software (AKA malware) that displays unwanted advertisements on your computer or device and can allow implementers to track your browsing activities, collect data about you, and even display pop-up windows with intrusive advertising messages.
This ad tech usually slips in when you download free software or access certain websites. Without the proper malware protection, adware can end up terrorizing your system.
Let’s discuss how adware works and what you can do to protect yourself from it:
Types of Adware
Adware comes in many forms, but they all share one common trait—they generate money for their creators through online advertisements.
Some types of adware are relatively harmless—for example, some programs will display ads that aren’t too intrusive or annoying, like banner ads.
Other types of adware are much more dangerous, including spyware which tracks user activities, and keyloggers which record keystrokes to access usernames and passwords.
Legal adware is software that displays ads in a way that the developer or publisher approves of. This means that the user has consented to these advertisements by opting into an agreement or downloading the software itself.
Illegal adware is any software that displays ads without the user’s consent—usually through installing it without their knowledge or approval.
These programs are usually malicious and may contain spyware or malware that can infect a computer system with viruses or other malicious code. In addition, these programs often display irrelevant or inappropriate ads and can even redirect users to fraudulent websites or phishing scams.
How Does Adware Affect Your System?
Adware can slow down your computer by consuming resources such as RAM and CPU power to run in the background. Adware can also cause network instability because conflicting processes run simultaneously, leading to random crashes or freezes.
Moreover, malicious technology can interfere with security settings on your system by disabling firewall protection or enabling remote access without user consent.
Finally, given Adware’s ability to track user activity and collect personal data, it presents serious privacy concerns.
How to Detect an Adware Infection
Adware hides in the background while running its processes, making detection challenging. However, some telltale signs may indicate you have an adware infection.
For example, if you notice a sudden increase in ads on your web browser, experience odd homepage changes, or new toolbars have appeared—your system may have an adware problem.
Adware infections are difficult to detect because they don’t always have easily recognizable symptoms like other types of malware.
Here are some more common signs that indicate an infection:
- Ads appearing in places they shouldn’t be
- Unusual changes to your browser settings
- Increased page loading times
- Difficulty opening certain websites.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your system, it’s time to act!
Whether banners are taking over your browsers or programs are running silently in the background, collecting your data for nefarious purposes, adware poses a real threat to your systems’ performance and privacy.
You have to stay vigilant when downloading free software from unknown sources.
Taking steps like reading end-user license agreements before downloading programs from unknown sources and installing anti-adware or anti-virus programs go a long way towards protecting you from these cyber threats!