Adware, short for "advertising-supported software," is a type of malware that specifically focuses on generating revenue through advertisements. The moment adware infects your computer, it can start bombarding you with pop-up ads, redirecting your web searches, and even slowing down your computer speed. In this article, we will learn how adware works, how it enters your system, and how you can protect yourself against it.
## How do adware work?
Adware can work in various ways, but they all have the same goal - to push as many ads as possible in front of you. The most common types of adware are browser extensions, which are designed to take over your web browser and display ads while you surf the web. When you install an adware extension, it can monitor your browsing history, track your online behavior, and inject ads into almost every website you visit.
Adware can also be bundled with legitimate software, which is one of the most common ways that people unknowingly install it. When you download and install a free program, adware may come along with it, hidden in the installation package. Once installed, adware can modify your system settings, change your browser homepage, and display ads on your desktop.
Another way adware can work is by hijacking your internet connection. By changing your DNS settings, adware can redirect your web searches to sites that generate revenue for the adware developer. This can be especially dangerous, as these sites may contain phishing scams, malware, or other types of dangerous content.
## How does adware enter your system?
Adware can enter your system in a variety of ways, but the most common way is through bundled software. When you download a free program from an untrusted website, you may unknowingly download adware along with it. Adware can also be spread through email attachments, malicious ads, or by exploiting vulnerabilities in your operating system.
Another common way that adware enters your system is through social engineering tactics. Adware developers often use fake software update alerts, fake virus warnings, and other types of scare tactics to convince you to download and install their software. In some cases, adware may even masquerade as legitimate antivirus software, further deceiving the user into installing it.
## How can you protect yourself against adware?
The best way to protect yourself against adware is to be cautious when downloading and installing software. Always download software from trusted sources, and never download anything from a site that you do not trust. Likewise, be wary of pop-ups, alerts, and other messages that appear on your screen urging you to download or install software.
Another way to protect yourself against adware is to keep your operating system and software up to date. By installing the latest security updates, you can help ensure that your system remains as secure as possible and that any vulnerabilities that may be exploited by malware like adware are patched.
Finally, it's essential to use a reliable antivirus program that can help protect your system against a wide range of malware, including adware. A good antivirus program can keep you safe by detecting and removing adware, scanning your system for potential vulnerabilities, and alerting you to any suspicious activity.
In conclusion, adware is a type of malware that is specifically designed to generate revenue through advertising. To achieve this goal, adware can use browser extensions, hijack your internet connection, or bundle itself with legitimate software. To protect yourself against adware, be cautious when downloading and installing software, keep your operating system and software up to date, and use a reliable antivirus program. By taking these steps, you can safeguard your computer against unwanted advertisements and other types of malware.