What is Adware?

Adware is a software program created to serve advertisements.  Usually, you get Adware on your computer by downloading some sort of free software, or freeware.

It is a little tricky, because the users give their consent to download Adware.  And, since we never read what we are consenting to in the Terms of Use and License Agreement, we end up with more than we bargained for.

Freeware is supported by the ads served by Adware.

Some examples of Freeware:

  • Software and Programs
  • Pear-To-Pier files sharing programs
  • Ringtones
  • Screen savers, backgrounds, and themes
  • Emoticons
  • Games
  • Tools, widgets and applications
  • And More!

Some Adware maybe be annoying, but it is benign; however, recently, it has been more malicious in its nature.

Malicious Adware is downloaded without the user’s consent by exploiting security vulnerabilities on a computer and a browser.

What can Adware do?

  • It may monitor user’s activities, compile a profile and sell it to interested parties.
  •  Adware may have a Spyware component built in, which monitors not just online activities, but it may also record every key stroke that the user makes and send it back to the malware creator.
  •  Adware may serve malicious advertisement, aka malwertisement.
  • It may change the user’s home page and/or re-direct the browser to a different website with affiliate advertisements.
  •  Adware may make the user’s computer more vulnerable to other malware.
  •  Adware runs in the background making the user’s operating system sluggish.

What are the signs of Adware?

  • Annoying Pop-Up ads on the desktop and while browsing the web.
  • Unusual changes to the browser, such as a new toolbar.
  • Default home page changes to something else.
  • Web browser re-directes to different pages when visiting websites.
  • Slow Internet connection.
  • System freezes for no apparent reason.
  • And More!

Here are just a few quick tips to keep Adware from your computer:

  • Get an Anti-Adware software program and always keep it up to date.
  • Avoid downloading freeware.
  • And if you really can’t help it, make sure you read License Agreements, Terms of Use, Privacy Notices.
  • Keep your Operating System up to date.
  • Be careful what your download and what links you click on.

Further Reading and Resources:

When was the last time you checked your computer for Adware?  Leave a comment.

About the Author

Lana is a real life Identity Theft Victim. Identity Theft Manifesto is a result of her own struggles to clear her credit, her name and reputation. She is on the mission to research, learn more and educate her readers about ID Theft Crime.