Adware, short for advertising malware, is unfortunately quite popular and well known. Adware is a type of malware that’s designed to show intrusive advertisements to a user while they browse the internet. Adware is typically installed unwittingly by a user when it’s bundled with other software being downloaded.
What should I know?
While adware is typically more of a nuisance than anything else, it generates revenue for software developers by showing users ads, which is why it’s pervasive. Often times, adware is bundled together with other legitimate software, which tricks the user into downloading it on to their machine. There are cases where adware is classified as a "potentially unwanted program", or PUA, instead of malware because the user has unwittingly consented to download it. As a result, some antivirus software will not identify and remove adware, making it a persistent problem.
Examples of the Effects of Adware
- A user's webpage is redirected from the one they intended to be on.
- A user's web browser homepage is changed to something they may not have seen before.
- Unwanted new tabs and windows are opened automatically.
- Search engine results are changed or incorrect.
Adware crosses the line from being a nuisance to being malicious software when these symptoms occur.
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