What is Adware and How to Prevent It?

Often people categorize adware as spyware or malware. The reason is not being aware of the difference between these terms and their functions. Though adware is the least affecting type of malware that can affect you and your business regardless of whether you are using a mobile device or a PC. It is always better to prevent yourself from adware by playing safe than being affected by it in a long run. If you want to gain more insight into adware, then you are at the right place. This article will bring you a complete breakdown of what is adware, is adware a virus and the types of adware. Most importantly you will be learning about how to prevent adware and how to get rid of adware.

What is Adware and How to Prevent It?

What is Adware and How to Prevent It?

There is nothing more frustrating than being interrupted by unnecessary pop-up ads. Whether you are trying to learn something or following a recipe, these ads can be annoying and distracting. Luckily, this article will help you with how to prevent adware and get rid of them.

Quick Answer

Adware is a malicious program that displays unwanted advertisements. Here are some steps you can take to prevent adware:

1. Install Anti-Malware Software.

2. Be cautious when installing new software.

3. Read Installation Prompts carefully.

4. Use an Ad-Blocker.

What is Adware?

Adware is otherwise known as advertising-supported software. Adware displays advertisements to users when they are online as means to generate income for the advertisers. These ads are not inherently malicious but are commonly understood as malicious because of the other existing mal-advertisements. In such cases, adware is considered malware as it intrudes on your device and operates within without your knowledge. Further in the article, you will get answers to your other questions like whether is adware a virus and is adware dangerous.

What are the Types of Adware?

To give an in-depth breakdown of adware definition, we have brought a detailed explanation of the available adware types that you must know. We have listed the types below:

  • Legitimate Adware: This is a legal and ethical way of using adware. This type of adware will always ask for your consent to software ads and promos. This type of adware tends to provide benefits or a free demo for agreeing or signing up with the advertisement.
  • Browser Hijackers: These are the type of adware that directly affects your default browser. They often manipulate your search settings and manipulate your homepage without your awareness.
  • Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs): These are the type of adware that looks like a legitimate adware but has malware embedded into it. These can be either safe or abusive, malicious, and illegal.
  • Device-Specific: Generally, adware may vary depending on the type of device you are currently using. For instance, if the adware on macOS will be different from adware found in Windows.

Now that you have understood what is adware and the types of adware, moving on in this guide you will be learning about whether is adware a virus.

Also Read: 19 Best adware removal apps for Android

Adware Examples

We would like to share a list of adware examples with you. These are listed down below:

  • DeskAd: It is a harmful malware that is termed ad-supported software to provide the desired number of advertisements. This adware is known to add toolbars, buttons, and links to the browser, and redirects web requests to dangerous websites.
  • Fireball: This adware is a China-based operation that has affected millions of devices across the globe. Fireball enables cybercriminals to run malicious codes on already infected devices and infect them with other types of malware.
  • MobiDash: As you might have already guessed, this type of adware hides beneath the code of repackaged legitimate apps.
  • FakeAdBlocks: As the name explains, this adware pretends to be an ad blocker but does the opposite. On the contrary, FakeAdblocks displays an infinite number of ads.
  • Hidden ads: These are the adware-deploying Trojans that hide behind other apps and thus, make it difficult for you to weed them out.
  • Shlayer: Shlayer is a term used to represent a family of dropper Trojans that targets macOS. This adware is considered the number one threat to macOS.

Read the next section to know about is Adware a virus or not.

Is Adware a Virus?

No. People often misunderstand adware as a virus. Instead, it is an unwanted program in your device that is abbreviated as the PUP. As said earlier, it may or may not be malicious but is considered the least affecting malware. Further in the article, you will see how to prevent adware.

Now, that you know about is Adware a virus or not, read the next section to know is Adware dangerous or not.

Is Adware Dangerous?

Yes. Adware is considered dangerous. Adware tends to cause you trouble in multiple ways. It collects your data, transfers another kind of malware into your device, and might as well interfere with your bank account transactions. Adware also collects browsing history, IP addresses, web pages you have visited and search queries made. Apart from being dangerous adware is particularly known to be an annoying burden. It is primarily because it causes in-text, constant banners, and pop-up ads to appear in the browser. This sums up is adware dangerous or not. Let’s move on to the next section of the article which explains how does adware work.

How Does Adware Work

Adware first tries to attach itself to a device and then begins the process of displaying ads via pop-ups and more. There are a few ways in which adware attaches itself to your devices. We have listed down the ways as points below:

  • Adware can enter your device through other types of malwares like browser hijackers and Trojans.
  • Visiting malicious sites on the internet is one of the other ways in which adware can enter your system.
  • Downloading free software from third-party apps can lead to the download of embedded adware which gets installed along with the software.

Once the adware is already there it begins to monitor all your activities. It ruins your browsing experience with advertisements and pop-ups that matches your preferences. As mentioned earlier these advertisements and pop-ups do not just monitor your activities but are also a source of income for the creators and the distributors. Continue reading to find out more about how does adware work.

  • Pay-Per-View/Cost-Per-View (PPV/CPV): This is the revenue generated based on the number of times an advertisement has been viewed.
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC): With this method, the creator earns revenue based on the number of clicks.
  • Pay-Per-Install (PPI): This is the revenue that is generated from the number of times the software has been installed.

Now that you have understood how adware works, you could read further to see how to get rid of adware once your device is infected.

Also Read: 26 Best free malware removal tools

How to Prevent Adware

Learning how to prevent adware is way better than getting infected by one. Therefore, you can follow the list of points given below to prevent adware from infecting your devices.

  • Buy Devices from Known Sources: There are instances where devices are pre-installed with adware when you buy them from fishy sources to save money. Accordingly, it becomes easier for criminals to infect targeted devices.
  • Avoid Freeware: Freeware also known as shareware is home to malware and a source of adware, notices, and pop-up ads. You must be aware of these kinds of ads and withhold from downloading and even clicking on them. One should also be careful with copies of commercial apps which require you to pay. Downloading and making use of these apps can put your device at risk.
  • Use Ad Blocker: Using an ad blocker is one of the best ways to prevent your devices from adware. There are multiple browser extensions that you can easily download and install on your browser. These ad blockers then prevent the advertisements from displaying on your browser. Therefore, it potentially reduces the risk of adware infecting your system.
  • Download from Genuine Sources: Ensuring that you download software, apps, and other files from authentic sources is very important to stay away from adware. These include official websites and app stores.
  • Use Antivirus: Installing an antivirus is another great way that can be used as a means to prevent adware. A reliable and up-to-date antivirus adds another durable layer of protection. Scanning with the antivirus also helps you get rid of the adware if there is any.
  • Read before you Accept: Never agree to any of the terms, conditions, and permissions of the app before reading it properly. You can only install most of the apps as and when you grant permission. Therefore, you must always read the terms before signing up for the app.

These are a few of the points that you could follow to prevent adware from infecting your device.

Also Read: Remove adware and pop-up ads from web browser

How to Get Rid of Adware

Now that you know how to prevent adware, let us move on to getting rid of it. If your device is infected by adware and you are thinking of how to get rid of adware then you do not need to worry. This section of the article contains answers to all the questions regarding getting rid of adware. All you need to do is follow the steps that have been mentioned below:

1. Press Windows + I keys simultaneously to open Settings.

2. Click on Apps.

Click on Apps

3. Go to Apps & features.

Go to Apps & features. What is Adware and How to Prevent It?

4. Click on any suspicious app and choose Uninstall.

Performing the above-mentioned steps will easily help you get rid of the adware on your device. Moving on let’s have a look at adware examples.


This article was all about learning about adware. We hope that this guide was helpful and you were able to learn about how to prevent adware. Let us know if you liked and found the article helpful in any. If you have any queries or suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comments section below.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *