How to Remove Adware
In generic terms, adware is any software application in which advertising banners are displayed while the program is running. The authors of these applications include additional code that delivers the ads, which can be viewed through pop-up windows, or through a bar that appears on a computer screen. The justification for adware is that it helps to recover some of the cost of programming development, and allows the programmers to offer the software at little or not cost to the end user.
This software generates advertisements such as pop-up windows or hotlinks on web pages that are not part of a page’s code. Adware may add links to your favorites and your desktop without your conscious knowledge. It will often change your homepage and your search engine to sites that earn income from various advertisers; this income is largely dependent on how many people visit the adware site, or how many people click on the links or advertisements at the site.
Ads are not bad by themselves, but they become a problem when they are unauthorized. Unfortunately, many adware programs do not give users enough notice or control. Adware has been criticized by many because it usually includes code that tracks a user’s personal information and passes it on to third parties, without the user’s authorization or knowledge.
When adware first appeared on the scene, it was very simple, almost to the point of being harmless. Often, it would involve only a few files which could be deleted or disabled at will, with no ill-effect; early adware even appeared in the Control Panel under Add or Remove Programs. As adware has matured, it has become smarter. Historically, as fast as the clean-up experts have worked out how to fight spyware and adware, those behind it have fought back with new tricks.
Over time, the malware and spyware generated by the adware started polluting and changing computer registries, and using random file names that were harder to identify and remove. Adware began exhibiting spyware and malware characteristics. Even if victims were able to remove hijackers, they were sometimes unable to change hijacked home pages or other settings to what they wanted because the relevant buttons had been grayed out.
Years after arriving on the scene, adware is now big business and there is a lot of money to be made. In and of itself, advertising is not unique to the Internet; it has been around forever. But there are dangers inherent to adware that we must all be aware of.
The most obvious problem caused by the spyware that can imbed in your machine via adware is computer instability. Badly infected systems may operate very slowly, crash constantly, and sometimes will not start at all. To add insult to injury, the owners of such badly infected machines may face serious problems when trying to clean up their machines.
There is also a privacy and security risk. Adware may exhibit spyware tendencies, reporting where you go on the Internet, when and how often, what you enter into search engines, and what advertisements you respond to.
So, before installing what appears to be freeware, think twice. It may actually be adware that is out to infect your computer, one click at a time.