What is Adware?

Do you often browse through websites on the internet? Then you should be extra careful not to let adware from websites to infect your PC. An adware is a malicious software program that gets installed on your PC, often with your inadvertent consent. When you browse through websites, you may come across lots of pop up windows showing advertisements of different products. These windows often have hidden codes or scripts running in the background. You cannot see these scripts or even guess the existence of those by looking at the windows. However, when you click on the window, the script will run and the embedded adware will get installed on your PC, ironically, with your consent.

So, how dangerous is an adware? Technically speaking, these are more or less benign compared to viruses, worms and spyware. Adware run as background processes when your PC is running, and collect data about your internet browsing habits. This data is sent automatically to the source of the adware. Based on this data, the company that put the adware in your PC may show you a variable number of advertisements in the form of pop up windows. For instance, if you search about jewelry on Google, then the next day you may get a pop up window showing an advertisement on diamond rings, or platinum bracelets.

That may not sound so bad, but consider the fact that you have to deal with several pop up windows per browsing session. In case of particularly troublesome advertisers, you may get up to 20-22 pop ups a day. That is not all there is to it, either. Adware runs in the background whenever your PC is switched on, and continuously consume some amount of CPU resources. This may cause your PC to run in a sluggish manner. Not just that, the constant scanning of your browsing habits and e-mailing those data to the source may also eat up a considerable portion of your internet bandwidth.

Some adware is legitimately installed in your PC, via your explicit permission. These are harmless, and can be uninstalled without any difficulty whenever you wish. Some adware programmers even pay you for installing their adware packages in your PC. These are all right, but privacy-invasive adware installed through masked pop ups can be dangerous.

Thankfully, adware is usually not that difficult to block. Any good pop up blocker will deal with most adware single handedly. Apart from that you can install a good anti-spyware tool in your PC and scan your hard disks with that on a frequent basis. That should clean up any adware invasion that your PC may be suffering from.

Related article: Malicious programs descriptions

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