Adware: What Is It and How Do I Stop It?

Adware: What Is It and How Do I Stop It?

June 18, 2018

If you’ve been having problems with your web browser constantly redirecting you to sites you didn’t want to visit, or if you experience frequent advertisements popping up while browsing the internet, there’s a good chance your computer has been infected with some form of adware.

Adware is a form of malware, and is an unwanted piece of software designed specifically to spam your computer with as many advertisements as possible in hopes of getting you to click on them, either on purpose or accidentally. These advertisements usually appear in a web browser.

Here is some information from a computer shop in St. Charles County, MO about what adware is and how you can prevent it.

How does adware get on my computer?

Usually adware comes bundled with other free forms of software or files you download from the internet. Many free downloads do not properly disclose that installing that software will also install other software, which means you could very well have installed adware without knowing about it.

How do I know if I have adware on my computer?

Beyond just the frequency with which you get popups or redirects, the types of advertisements you see will also clue you into whether or not you have an adware problem. Common examples include bogus virus warnings, miracle weight-loss programs, get-rich-quick schemes and pornography.

The ads often have text under the popup that has language such as “Powered by ____,” “Ads by _____” or “Sponsored by _____.” The ads often overlay the content on a page you’re browsing, and if you click on the link it’ll open a popup to another ad. These ads are typically designed to be as intrusive and annoying as possible so you have little choice other than to click on them.

Some of the other common telltale signs of adware include:

  • A change in your home page without your permission
  • Advertisements showing up in places they shouldn’t be
  • Websites you frequently use either not displaying or not functioning properly
  • Significant slowdowns in your web browser’s performance
  • Sudden appearances of new toolbars, extensions or plugins
  • Website links redirecting to different sites than expected

Preventing and removing adware

The best way to prevent adware is to be careful about what you download on the internet. Only download software from reputable sites, and make sure you have taken the time to read through everything that’s included in the download so you don’t get hit with any nasty surprises.

You should also have your computer outfitted with anti-malware software, such as Windows Defender or Malwarebytes. Not only do these types of programs allow you to scan your whole system and then quarantine and remove pieces of malware (like adware), but they will also operate in the background of your computer and protect your system if you accidentally come across any malware in your downloads or web browsing.

For more information about adware and how to protect against it, contact a computer shop in St. Charles County, MO.

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