Adware is software that displays advertisements on your computer. You might think, “well, that doesn’t sound too dangerous.” However, these advertisements are often malicious, in addition to being annoying! They are malicious because most of the time, adware serves one primary purpose: to act as a conduit for other, more harmful, malware to infect your computer.
Think your computer might have an adware infection? Read on to learn everything you need to know!
How do you get adware?
Adware generally makes its way onto computers alongside other software — freeware or shareware, most commonly. This type of software will often install adware onto a victim’s computer without their knowledge. This results in a lot of people having adware-infected computers, while being completely unaware of it.
However, adware can also install itself onto a victim’s computer when they visit an adware-infected website. In most instances, this occurs when the victim visits a particularly sketchy website such as a shady adult website or a fake/scam website.
Types of adware
While there are different types of adware made for different platforms — Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android, for example, in general, they all function similarly. Typically, no matter which of your devices has an adware infection, you will notice similar behavior.
Adware specializes in secretly reconfiguring victims’ web browser settings without their knowledge, changing their homepages, and redirecting their traffic to web pages with tons of ads — generating profit for the people behind the malicious applications. No matter which type of adware you have, this will almost certainly be its modus operandi.
Adware on Mac
Although many people believe Macs are immune to all types of malware (adware included), this is most definitely not the case. XProtect — macOS’ built-in anti-malware system — does a great job at stopping malware from infecting people’s Macs, but if a victim were to download a malicious freeware or shareware application or visit an adware-infected website, the chance of infection is still high.
The signs of an adware infection on Mac are the same as on any other device: lots of unwanted ads popping up everywhere, web page redirects, and a change of homepage.
Adware on mobile
When your mobile device is infected with adware, chances are, due to the comparatively smaller screen size, you’re really going to know about it!
Adware can infect mobile devices in three ways: either via adware-infected websites, apps downloaded through the app store, or (most frequently) apps downloaded outside of the app store. iOS makes it much more difficult than Android to install apps from outside its app store, meaning that an adware infection is a significantly bigger risk on Android. However, make no mistake about it, both platforms are vulnerable and proper precautions should be taken.
How to protect yourself from adware
Staying protected from adware requires practicing safe computing. Here are some good tips to follow:
- Avoid visiting suspicious websites.
- Don’t use torrents or illegal download websites.
- Pay close attention when installing apps and make sure you don’t permit them to install third-party software.
- Read apps’ terms and conditions before installation.
- Don’t click links from unknown sources.
- Install a trusted anti-malware/antivirus app on all your devices.
How to remove adware
Removing adware manually can be a little bit tricky. It’s potentially worth a shot to uninstall all the apps you don’t recognize in the hope that one of them is the adware app, but many of them simply reinstall themselves automatically.
A much more reliable method for removing adware is to use a dedicated antivirus app such as Antivirus One and run a malware removal scan. Antivirus One offers live antivirus monitoring to protect your Mac from adware, ransomware, spyware, and all other kinds of malware attacks. But best of all, you can get it for FREE!
Here are some of Antivirus One’s awesome features:
- Real-Time Detection — Protects your Mac against all threats 24/7.
- Virus Scanner — Quick scan, customize scan, or deep scan files and locations to safeguard every part of your disk.
- Virus Cleaner — Automatically remove viruses to secure your system and privacy.
- Adware Cleaner — Gets rid of pop-ups, adware, and browser hijackers, so you can browse safely.
- Privacy Cleaner — Hides your information to prevent others from identifying you, especially after visiting websites.
If you think you might have an adware infection, download Antivirus One today and find out for sure! Click the button below to learn more.
If you want to block ads and pop-ups for good on either Chrome or Safari, you’ll want to get your hands on AdBlock One too! Available for Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, Linux, and iOS, AdBlock One blocks ads, makes websites load faster, protects your privacy, and lots more! Click the button below to download for FREE!
Click each tag to explore related articles.