Adware in cybersecurity is a form of malware that sends unwanted and annoying advertisements on a computer or mobile device. This malware activates when users install malicious applications that initially appear legitimate.
In some cases, adware can be safe, with the only harm being slow speeds on your device. However, in most cases, adware will collect data and information targeting victims with adverts, which lead them to malicious pages and websites.
What is adware?
Adware, which stands for advertising support software, displays advertisements on your screen. It can disguise itself as legitimate software to trick you into installing it on your mobile device or PC.
Adware conducts unwanted tasks on your device. Its functions involve analyzing your location and online activity before bombarding you with advertisements. Adware creators might also sell your browsing data and information to third parties.
History of Adware
Cybersecurity researchers consider the late 1990s to be the origin of adware. At the time, adware was seen as “legitimate” in theory. Between 2005 and 2008, malicious adware became prevalent, with governing authorities imposing heavy fines for offenses.
Current browsers are still cracking down on adware with adblockers and adblock plugins. However, blocking ads also prevents legitimate sites from submitting legitimate ads, causing revenue decline.
How Do You Get Adware?
You will get adware from software on the internet. It will secretly install itself into your PC or mobile device without knowledge.
While adware contains annoying ads, it is not illegal. It becomes unlawful when a third-party program integrates malicious ads onto the victim’s device without consent.
How Does Adware Work?
An adware will stealthily install itself into a user’s device. In the case of harmful adware, the threat actor hopes you accidentally click on the displayed advert.
The sole purpose behind the existence of adware is to make money from third parties. The harmful software tracks your search and browser history and displays relevant ads. The threat actor tracks your location and browser history and sells the data to third parties.
Signs Of An Adware Infection
The first sign of adware infection is the appearance of pop-up advertisements and apps on your device. In some cases, adware affects how your browser functions.
Below are some signs of an adware infection:
- Lagging device performance
- Device crushing
- Unauthorized changes to your browser
- Inability to display web pages correctly
- Unauthorized software installation
How to Prevent Adware
You protect yourself from adware through safe browsing habits. You must be cautious before downloading and installing new software on your device. Avoid pirating and torrenting websites, and refrain from downloading apps from unknown sources.
Besides these precautions, you should also install a reputable antivirus program for your PC and mobile device. Ensure you conduct regular scans and keep your system up to date by installing the latest patches.
How to Remove Adware
You need to protect your device against adware using antivirus programs. These programs can also remove adware. You can also use a tool to remove adware, but these tools are not always safe.
If you are using an antivirus program, back up files and data before starting a scan to remove potential adware.
When blocking adware from an iPhone device, you need to block pop-ups. On Android devices, the process involves uninstalling the adware and installing an antivirus program with blocking capabilities.
Adware can be a nuisance as it prevents you from using your browser and device due to too many pop-up ads. While some ads are legitimate, some are illegal and collect user data before selling it to third parties. To protect yourself from adware, adopt safe browsing habits and use a good antivirus program.