Advertisements aren’t too bad in general, right? You usually see them as commercials while watching TV or as billboards when you head to work.
Adware is similar, but the ads it generates are the worst of their kind. This malicious software gets into your computer under the guise of an application which you’ve recently downloaded.
It then follows you around as you browse the Web and takes notes of sites you visit, purchases you make, and services you use. In turn, it relentlessly bombards you with ads on your browser, computer desktop, and everywhere else it can — outright annoying!
Read More about “Adware”
6 Warning Signs that Your Computer is Adware-Infected
Nobody wants to be flooded by ads every time they open a browser or even when merely turning on a computer. But that is precisely what adware do. Below are some of the signs that your computer is adware-infected:
- Tabs upon tabs would keep opening on your browser even when you don’t do anything.
- Ads would pop up on your desktop notification window.
- Your browser’s homepage suddenly changed.
- Your web browser slows down significantly.
- You see new toolbars, plugins, and extensions on your browser.
- Links redirect to unrelated sites when you click them.
It’s quite a pain when your computer or mobile device gets infected by adware. Still, thankfully, there are ways to avoid it altogether.
Types of Adware
Hundreds of adware exist today, but some of the most common are:
Fireball is a browser hijacker created by Rafotech, a Chinese digital marketing agency. It takes over a user’s browser without his or her knowledge.
This adware gained prominence in 2017. It infected over 250 million computers and corporate networks worldwide.
Like Fireball, Appearch is a browser hijacker. Often bundled with free software, this adware inserts tons of ads into a browser, making it impossible for the user to surf the Internet.
This adware shows fraudulent ads that redirect to malicious sites. DeskAd does so inconspicuously until it takes full control of the user’s browser. Unfortunately, only a full operating system (OS) reinstallation can overcome it.
Tips to Avoid Adware
Before diving into how you can prevent adware infection, you need to understand how and where you can get it. Adware could be present in unsafe websites, and when you download documents or software over the Internet. For example, a video editing software offered for free by its developer is good. But have you ever wondered why it comes free of charge? Some developers earn from ads that you unintentionally visit after downloading the adware along with the free software.
So how can you avoid adware? Here are some best practices.
Tip #1: Install an Antimalware
Avoid adware infection means using reliable and updated antimalware. The firewall system that comes with the program will alert you every time you visit a website that attempts to download anything onto your device without your knowledge or permission. Better yet, antimalware can detect unreliable websites and stop you from even accessing them. To get the most out of your solution, make sure that you always have its latest version.
Tip #2: Use a Secure Browser
While no browser is immune to adware, Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge seem to be more vulnerable to adware, spyware, and hacking. Whatever browser you choose, however, make sure that you do the following:
- Update your browser regularly to take advantage of the latest security patches.
- Only visit websites that use HTTPS.
- Make it a habit to clear your browser cache and cookies.
You may also look into using browsers specifically built to provide the utmost privacy, such as Epic and the Tor browser.
Tip #3: Download Only from Reputable Sites
Adware can come bundled with software or documents from unofficial app stores and websites or that arrive as email attachments. To better avoid them, make sure to download resources only from authorized app stores such as Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store.
Scrutinize emails, too, and look for signs of phishing. If you don’t know the person who sent the email, it’s best not to click any link or download an attachment.
The ways by which you can get adware are also the methods through which other forms of malware can enter your network. While adware can be annoying, spyware and ransomware are outright dangerous. They can cause loss of essential files or render your computer useless. So, remember our simple tips to avoid adware infection. In the process, you could also be avoiding the more dangerous forms of malware.