Have you ever installed a free software or clicked on a pop-up ad and noticed your computer slowing down or bombarded with ads? Chances are, you have been infected with adware. Adware, short for advertising-supported software, is a type of malware that aims to display ads on your computer or mobile device. In this article, we will look at how adware works and how to avoid it.
How Adware Works
Adware is usually bundled with free software. When you download free software, adware is installed along with it. The adware monitors your online behavior, such as the websites you visit, the search queries you type, and the products you purchase. It then displays targeted ads based on your interests. The ads may be banner ads, pop-up ads, or in-text ads.
Adware can also redirect you to websites that you have no interest in visiting. For example, you may search for a product and be redirected to a website that sells a completely different product. This is known as a browser hijacker. Adware can also slow down your computer, crash your browser, or cause your internet connection to drop.
The problem with adware is not just the annoying pop-up ads. Adware can also be used to collect your personal information, such as your browsing history, IP address, and geolocation. This information can be sold to advertisers or used for identity theft.
How to Avoid Adware
Adware is a common problem, but there are ways to avoid it. Here are some tips:
1. Only download software from trusted websites. Do not download software from third-party websites or install programs that are bundled with free software.
2. Read the fine print. Always read the terms and conditions before installing software. Look for any mention of adware or additional programs.
3. Install an anti-virus program. An anti-virus program can detect and remove adware from your computer.
4. Keep your software up to date. Adware can exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software. Keep your software updated to prevent adware from exploiting any vulnerabilities.
5. Use a pop-up blocker. A pop-up blocker can prevent pop-up ads from appearing on your screen.
In conclusion, adware is a form of malware that displays targeted ads on your computer or mobile device. It can slow down your computer, crash your browser, or cause your internet connection to drop. Adware can also be used to collect your personal information, such as your browsing history, IP address, and geolocation. To avoid adware, only download software from trusted websites, read the fine print, install an anti-virus program, keep your software up to date, and use a pop-up blocker. Stay safe and happy browsing!