An adware (also known as advertising program or advertising platform) is the software used for advertising. Once installed on the system, it causes promotional content, including pop-up windows, banners, links and similar advertising that supposedly increases the popularity of related third party websites.
An adware is usually released to promote related parties and generate profit for its developers. However, when added to the browser, this software may also collect non-personally identifiable (Non-PII) information about user activity on the Internet. The collected data is used to accumulate general statistics such as the most visited web pages, the advertisements in which they are clicked and what type of data they are inserted. Keep in mind that an adware is usually divided into two categories – potentially unwanted and legitimate. Illegal advertising programs are very dangerous because they can begin to gather sensitive information. In this case, the user unknowingly uncovers details such as passwords, email address, computer’s IP address, its location and similar data.
Typical behavior of an adware in the system
If an adware infiltrates the system, it usually installs its files and starts running in the background of the system. In addition, it initiates these activities:
- Display ads, banners, and textual links. This content allegedly promotes affiliated parties seeking to increase their popularity.
- It causes redirects to sponsored websites in each of the browsers. This activity is also started to try to increase web traffic on those websites.
- Installs additional components without user authorization. Adware typically promotes related advertising toolbars, other adware, and undesirable third-party software.
- Registration of the activity of people on the Internet and gathering information on their interests, websites most visited, data inserted, etc. Once collected, the data is packaged and sent to a remote server.
- Degradation of system performance. Some adware parasites are sadly programmed, so they can cause system slowdowns and instability on the computer.
- It updates itself over the Internet without notifying the user about installing their additional files.
- Failure to provide a complete uninstall feature to prevent system removal. You can also realize this once you remove the adware from your computer and reappear once you have restarted it. This is also an inherent feature of all adware-type programs.
The most common distribution techniques
Adware does not spread like normal viruses. These programs do not use Trojans and similar malicious components when attempting to infect the system. Instead, they use three distribution techniques:
Unfair websites: Most adware programs have their own official websites where they present their products as useful tools; For example, powerful browser add-ons, useful shopping wizards or fun plugins for games. If you fall into the trap of believing that adware can help you save money, you can end this program on your computer. This is why it is always advisable to search the Internet for more information about the programs you wish to install.
Bundling (packaging): There are many free programs (freeware and shareware) that have been packaged with adware. If you fail to control the installation of such freeware, you can end up with add-ons, extensions, plugins, browser toolbars or similar unwanted adware on your PC. Uninstalling the host application does not help get rid of the related adware. This distribution method is most common when adware and similar parasites are promoted, such as browser hijackers. To protect themselves, users should always select the Advanced or Custom freeware installation options.
False pop-up ads: Clicking on an unfair pop-up ad can also be dangerous and can lead to the infiltration of an adware-type program. Most of these “recommended” notifications are downloading pending updates, required programs, and similar components. Security experts recommend ignoring these alerts. The best way to update or install required programs is to use the official web pages.