Adware Defined and What to Do About It

by Barbara J. Feldman on July 11, 2007

There are so many new threats coming at us from the Internet age that is hard to keep up. Adware is one of those new threats. Millions tolerate Adware because it isn’t damaging to the computer like viruses and worms are, and it isn’t a security risk like spyware. However, adware is very annoying. It is advertising that you didn’t ask to receive.
What adware is is any software package that automatically displays ads, usually in the form of pop-ups, on your computer. There are also adwares that fill up your email inbox with all sorts of junk you never asked for. Often, you agree to receiving adware without knowing that you are doing it. Whenever you download anything on to your computer, you should read the terms carefully. Most things that come free from the web have a hidden price; that hidden price is adware. You often accept advertising when you click “agree” on a web form. The advertisers are then able to link to your computer whenever you are online, and you receive their ads.
Whenever you go to a website and an advertising banner is displayed across the web page, that is adware. Also, whenever a popup window appears, that is adware. This sort of adware is a little annoying, but the ads have to come with buttons that allow you to close the ad so usually we just put up with the ads and close them when they pop up.
The big problems come when the adware goes beyond downloading itself onto the user’s computer and starts to upload. The line between adware and spyware is pretty fuzzy. If a company can get onto your computer, they can usually find a way to gather information from your computer. Again, you often agree to this when you download free software from the Internet. What this adware/spyware does is keep an eye on what you are searching for on the web. If you are typing certain words into search engines, that information goes to the advertisers. You might be looking to buy some software. You type the names of the software into the search engines and then suddenly you start getting popups for software. When this happens, know that you have been a victim of adware. This is a breach of your privacy because your web use has been tracked and sold without your consent or knowledge.

If you are infected with adware, there are things that you can do about it. Adware is easy to block. Even a free download like the Google toolbar can block most pop-ups. More powerful adware blockers can also be downloaded for free. For a free and powerful anti-adware blocker you can go to stopzilla.com. This site offers a downloadable spyware and adware protection. The site has won a number of awards and has the most advanced pop-up protection that is available.
This software will not only block the pop-ups, but it will also alert you if there are attempts to breach the security. It will quarantine questionable material and you can decide later if the information is something that you want to view.
Of course, commercial software is also available. Go to the software section of any department store or electronics store, and you will find an ample selection of programs that prevent any sort of malware (adware, spyware, viruses, Trojans, web dialers, etc) from getting on your computer. Read the packages carefully before purchasing anything, and make sure that the program blocks everything that you want to block.
As far as adware goes, the free downloadable programs are probably as good as the commercially available programs. The commercial programs do have some advantages for blocking other types of malware like viruses and worms.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Adware Defined and What to Do About It." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 11 Jul. 2007. Web. 4 Dec. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1093/adware-defined-and-what-to-do-about-it/ >.