Is Your Computer, Laptop Or Mobile Device Infected With Adware?


If your computer, laptop or mobile device has been plagued with persistent pop-up ads that refuse to close down, this could be evidence of adware infection. Though less serious than other forms of malware, adware can still pose significant threats and present serious complications for its victims.

Adware can display distracting advertisements in the form of videos, banners, full-screen ads and pop-up windows that you cannot close. Furthermore, this software consumes processing power and reduces system performance significantly.

What is adware?

While advertising on the web may be commonplace and services like Netflix offer ad-free programming, advertisements should never cause your device to shut down or slow down unexpectedly or prompt pop-up ads or install unwanted plugins, apps, or software on it. These symptoms could be signs of adware on your computer or mobile device. From free ad-supported programs to malicious ones, adware exists solely to collect personal data for targeted advertising purposes. Information collected includes your IP address, search history and personal details – which could then be sold to third-party buyers and compromise your privacy and security. Adware could also collect and install other forms of malware on devices as well as charge unauthorised payments on accounts.

Adware often makes its way onto computers or mobile devices unknowingly, often through bundles or code hidden within legal software you download. You might notice telltale signs that your computer has adware installed, including your browser homepage changing without your approval and the sudden appearance of ads during browsing or social media use; unexpected spikes in data usage; faster battery depletion than expected; slow functioning programs and software; or unwanted installation of unknown applications.

Malicious adware is frequently employed as a Trojan horse for infiltrating computers and mobile devices with other forms of malware, including ransomware or spyware. Recently, cybercriminals utilized this tactic by placing an adware-enabled “worm” into Google Play store that compromised hundreds of apps downloaded by over half a billion users – representing an unprecedented breach.

As more digital devices and online services connect to one another, it is increasingly essential to put up strong defences and develop skills necessary for differentiating between benign and malicious software. With Adware having been around for so long without abating, being vigilant is the only way to detect and prevent its invasive activities and harmful activities – by following these simple tips you can help keep your device clean and safe!

What are the main types of adware?

Adware programs may be annoying, but some of them may also be dangerous. Adware can infiltrate computers and mobile devices with malware that damages devices or steals personal information – the best way to combat these threats is with a premium protection suite offering anti-malware, antivirus and anti-phishing capabilities.

Adware refers to any program that displays unwanted advertisements on your computer or mobile device, such as pop-ups, banner ads or any other forms of intrusive advertisements that interrupt your online experience. Adware can also download suspicious plugins or extensions without your knowledge and install new apps without your consent – slowing down your device or making it run slower than normal; and some even hijack browsing history and report back to its owners for marketing purposes.

Adware can be legitimate, and many users agree to its installation in exchange for freemium apps like Spotify and Skype that rely on revenue generated from ads to cover costs and make their products available to non-subscribing users for free or at a reduced price. Unfortunately, however, other adware can sneakily install on devices or computers without your knowledge, either bundled with another program that is installed unknowingly by you, exploiting software vulnerabilities to gain entry, or by exploiting vulnerabilities to sneak it onto devices without you knowing.

Although adware may be irritating, most cybersecurity professionals do not consider it malicious and typically refer to it as potentially unwanted programs (PUP). However, any type of adware that attempts to compromise your device or steal personal data illegally must be removed as quickly as possible for your own protection and should not remain on your system for too long.

How can you identify whether your device contains adware? Common indicators may include a slow and sluggish computer or device, sites being blocked off the web browser settings or an unusual number of pop-up ads. Staying up-to-date with security software updates is the best way to prevent adware infections on devices, and always read all fine print when downloading and installing new programs to avoid hidden components that contain hidden adware components.

How do adware ads work?

Some users are unaware that their devices have become infected with adware until they experience telltale symptoms: an operating device operating slower than usual, changes to its home page without consent, new tabs/windows opening automatically or advertisements appearing where none should. Adware exists solely to make money for its developers when users click one of its ads.

While legitimate adware designed by developers may have some legitimate applications, malicious adware which spreads like wildfire can have devastating long-term repercussions for both your system performance and personal privacy. Malicious adware acts as a Trojan horse by spreading infections such as viruses, ransomware, spyware and keyloggers onto devices while opening doors for man-in-the-middle attacks by creating openings into devices through man-in-the-middle attacks.

Malicious adware can create “ad blindness”, making users ignore more relevant and genuine ads by bombarding their devices with irrelevant ones that appear irrelevant and out-of-place, diminishing the effectiveness of legitimate campaigns and damaging brand reputations. Most dangerously, however, adware tracks browsing habits and personal information before often sharing this with third parties for illegal uses such as phishing attacks or fraud and can breach compliance regulations that require organizations to adhere to certain safety standards.

Adware can be difficult to remove manually due to its numerous places it hides on a device, from operating systems to web browsers and apps installed. Accurate identification and removal requires expertise with these environments as well as applications installed on them; Clario offers Mac and iOS adware detection and removal software which quickly locates and eliminates adware from devices.

Identification of unwanted ads is the first step towards successfully uninstalling adware, and can be achieved by searching /Library/Application Support, /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons for unfamiliar files that could indicate suspicious adware causing pop-ups, pop-unders or intrusive content. Users may wish to install an ad blocking software program so as to block future downloads and displays of such adware from downloading onto their devices.

How do adware programs infect your computer?

If you find yourself bombarded with pop-up ads while surfing the web, it could not be coincidence. Adware is a type of malware that installs itself onto computers and mobile devices without your knowledge and displays unwanted advertisements to generate revenue for its developers. While not posing any serious cybersecurity risks, adware can still be annoying and slow down your system processing power significantly.

Adware may not always be harmful, but some forms can pose a significant privacy threat and security risk to your computer system. Adware may act as a man-in-the-middle to redirect internet traffic away from HTTPS connections that should be protected with SSL certificates to its creator, leaving your passwords exposed and leaving online banking and shopping vulnerable to phishing attacks.

Adware infections present similar signs to malware infections: You might notice ad-serving extensions, plugins and tools installed without your knowledge, changes to your home page and search engine, as well as getting spammed with pop-up ads from time to time.

Malicious adware can quickly drain your computer’s processing power, rendering it slow to respond or even causing it to crash – especially on mobile devices that typically run slower than desktop computers. Furthermore, this type of malware eats into your data allowance by constantly downloading advertisements onto your device and running advertisements over its lifetime.

if your computer or mobile device has been infected by adware, the best course of action is to remove it as quickly as possible. Thankfully, doing so typically isn’t difficult: regularly backup files and install an effective cybersecurity suite like Norton 360 Deluxe which can detect and remove it for you.

Hopefully, by now you have gained a better understanding of adware and its operation. While not posing a major security threat, be wary when downloading programs from unknown sources and ensure regular software updates occur to close any vulnerabilities hackers may exploit. Invest in a premium security suite for added protection for PC, Mac and Android devices against cyberattacks.

Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.