Adware, or ad supported software, refers to any form of software that displays or downloads unwanted advertizements while browsing the internet. It may also be programmed to redirect the users to advertizing websites or track browsing patterns so that customized ads can be displayed. In most cases, adware is a legitimate software that comes as a drive-by download with a freeware program. A visit to a malicious website can also lead to unapproved installation of adware on your computer. However, the advertizements can be annoying, distracting and intrude the user’s privacy in the online space.
Here are some signs that your computer has been infected with adware:
- Pop-up advertizements on the desktop or within applications
- Unidentified changes in browser home page, bookmarks and favorites
- New toolbars installed in the internet browser
- Slow computer start-up and shut down
- Pop-up ads related to websites being browsed or keywords typed in the search engine
- Desktop may be slow to load or refresh
- Unexpected system shut down or restart
- Sluggish internet connection
- Software crashes
- New programs installed on the computer
How Does Adware Work?
When adware is downloaded onto a computer system, it may begin to show pop-up ads according to your web browsing habits. The software may also install tracking cookies and keyloggers or conduct an unauthorized hard drive scan. Some of the common consequences of an adware infection are:
- Infinite Pop-Ups: The user may view an endless series of pop-up advertizements over the current program window. At times, closing one pop-up ad may lead to opening of another one.
- Man-In-The-Middle Attacks: Some adware programs are designed to redirect your network activity through a proxy server to display ads over the web pages being visited.
- Spying: This adware tracks your online browsing habits, websites you visit and even records your keystrokes to figure out the type of advertizements that would catch your interest.
- Data Consumption: The adware may download unrequired add-on program to your computer, thus consuming the bandwidth on your internet connection.
- Device Slowdown: Running too many ads may hamper your device’s performance, making it slow to respond to user commands.
It is important to detect and remove adware from your computer system at the earliest. If not, it may transmit sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, passwords, important files, photos and videos to the cyber criminals who may use it for malicious purposes.
For more information on adware and cyber security, you can contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 – 9654.