Adware Prevention

The best method for dealing with Adware is to avoid and prevent it. It is best to understand what it is and how it spreads.

What is Adware?

Adware programs are programs designed to cause your computer to display popup ads. Adware is NOT a virus and may or may not be detected by anti-virus scanning programs. It does not spread the same way as most viruses spread. I consider adware to be worse than viruses because of the fact that it is deliberately written so it cannot be removed.

Who writes Adware Programs?

Adware programs are written by supposedly legitimate companies. Most of the companies that create them are so low they almost make virus writers look like saints. This is because they attempt to get the program installed on the victim's computer without their knowledge and they deliberately design the program to prevent its removal. In one case an adware program we had to remove would try to respawn itself if you tried to kill its process. This was done to prevent its removal.

How do I get Adware?

Most people do not want adware deliberately installed on their computer systems. The creator will usually trick the victim into installing it on their computer system. There are several ways this can happen.

  • The victim may download and install a free program such as a game program and the adware comes with the "free" program.
  • The victim may download and run a movie or video clip form a web site. The site may download and run the adware program.
  • The victim may be tricked into answering a question about downloading and running some software and the description of the software is misleading.
  • The victim may visit a website that will take advantage of browser vulnerabilities or settings which will allow the infection to occur without the victim's knowledge.

How does adware affect my computer performance?

Adware can seriously slow down your computer system performance and cause instabilities for the following reasons.

Is there a computer security risk with Adware?

Yes, adware poses a great security risk to your computer and any network it is connected on. This is because it can download and install other programs from the internet. I even found a hacker tool on one system that had adware on it.

Avoiding Adware

There are some rules of thumb which should help avoid adware.

Author: Mark Allen - June 14, 2004