The definition: What is adware?
By definition, adware is any piece of software, malicious or not, that plays advertisements on a computer. However, people often use the word adware to refer to malicious software that displays bogus ads, pop-ups, large ads, and self-playing full-screen ads within the browser. The name is a composite of the words ” advertising” – advertising and ” software “.
All adware is designed to generate revenue for its developer each time the user clicks on a displayed ad. Some types of adware can obstruct your internet browsing experience by redirecting you to web pages with adult content. Some modalities collect your browsing information without permission and use it to offer you ads that are more tailored to your tastes, since this way there are more chances that you will click on them.
Top 5 examples
Some of the most common and/or known types are the following:
Fireball made the news in 2017 when an Israeli software company conducted a study and found that more than 250 million computers, as well as a fifth of corporate computer networks around the world, are infected with it.
It is interwoven with other software created by Rafotech, including the Mustang Browser and Deal Wifi, and installed with these programs with the unknown of the user. When it affects your computer, it takes control of the browser. It changes your home page to a fake search tool (Trotux) and inserts obstructive advertisements on any page you visit. Even worse, it prevents you from changing your browser settings.
There is no evidence yet that this adware does anything other than hijack your browser and flood it with ads. However, experts are concerned that if Rafotech decided to launch a cyber attack with Fireball, the consequences would be enormous, simply based on the number of infected systems in the world.
Appearance is another very common adware program that acts as a browser hijacker. It is usually interwoven with other free software, and it inserts so many ads in the browser that it makes navigation almost impossible.
Every time you try to visit a web page, the browser will take you to Appearch.info. Even if you manage to open a web page, Appearch will convert random blocks of text into links, so every time you select some text, a pop-up window will appear offering you to download software updates.
It will then ask you to subscribe to the notifications to access them. If you click “Allow”, you will start to see pop-up ads on your screen even when your browser is closed. Once you subscribe, the program will override your browser settings to prevent you from abandoning the subscription.
Although it has been inactive for a long time, DollarRevenue is interesting because it was one of the first large adware programs that infected millions of computers around the world. It installed a toolbar in the browser of the infected computer to follow Internet browsing on the computer. Furthermore, the program also displayed fake advertisements, on the same page and also as pop-ups.
It was developed in the Netherlands in 2005, and by the end of 2007, it had infected more than 22 computers around the world.
The creators were fined one million euros in 2007, but the decision was invalidated six years later.
Another dormant adware program, Gator pioneered targeted marketing based on behavior and created a lot of controversies. Packed with popular free software such as Kazaa and Go! Zilla, Gator would remove a few advertisements from the web pages and replace them with its own advertisements. This meant that if page visitors clicked on an ad, all profits would go directly to Gator rather than to the content creator.
However, Gator was known for its policy of recording users’ complete browsing histories, and even parts of their credit card numbers. They used the information to offer them a better selection of ads. Although this practice is very common today, at the turn of the century it was unheard of.
In 2003, the company behind Gator changed its name to Claria Corporation and continued to publish adware until 2006, two years before shutting down.
DiskAid is another common adware program that displays bogus advertisements within your internet browser, redirects your traffic to suspicious web pages, and displays pop-up advertisements. Unlike other similar programs, DeskAd starts very discreetly and gradually takes over your browser. This is why it sometimes goes unnoticed until the problem becomes so serious that only a reinstallation of the operating system can fix it.
The most common way to distribute it is via email attachments, DeskAd unregisters the computer so that it can be launched during startup. It also plays, and this can clutter the memory as well as the processor and cause a crash. If it infects computer networks, the effects could be devastating.
If you suspect that your computer might be infected with adware, look for one or more of the following signs:
Your browser suddenly starts to run slower than before and crashes frequently.
Banners and ads appear on web pages where they never appeared before.
Your home page has changed in some way and you cannot change it again.
Every time you want to visit a web page, you are redirected to a different page.
You have noticed new toolbars, plug-ins, or extensions in your browser.
Clicking anywhere on the page opens one or more pop-up windows with ads.
Your computer starts installing unwanted applications without permission.
How to remove adware
There is no universal recipe for removing adware from your computer. Removing some types of adware can be as easy as uninstalling the browser extension and restarting your browser. With some other types of adware, you may need to use adware removal tools to detect and remove it successfully.
Some types of adware can be so serious that even the best antivirus software won’t be able to remove them. In these cases, reinstalling your operating system may be the only solution.
Although the most common adware is not that dangerous, you should not leave anything to chance on the internet. Doing so not only risks losing files on your computer, but it could also put your personal information at risk.
To prevent this from happening, you need to install reliable software that will keep the computer protected. In this way, you can scan your order for any threats; viruses, worms, spyware, malware, and adware, and remove them in a few clicks. The best antivirus software will also monitor your system in real-time and keep your computer safe from malicious software.