What’s an adware infection, and how to tell if you have one

You can find ads anywhere online these days. From websites to videos, apps, or games, they’re ubiquitous, always fighting to get your attention and your clicks.

Sometimes, they’re just annoying. But if you’re drowning in ads and can’t seem to get rid of them, you might have a case of malvertisement on your hands.

Malvertisement such as adware is the evil twin in the world of ads, the one that will infect your device and wreak havoc on it.

If you want to learn more about adware, you’re in the best place to do so. We’ll teach you everything you need to know about it, so you have a better chance of protecting yourself.

Let’s begin.

What is adware

Then: adware = ads + software Now: adware = ads + malware

In the beginning, adware was a word used to describe ad-supported software.

But as ads took over the internet, hackers hijacked adware.

Nowadays, adware is a type of malware that displays unwanted ads on your device, acting as a potentially unwanted program (PUP).

In the world of malware, adware sometimes gets overlooked. But that’s dangerous, especially since it can cause long-term issues for your device.

Mainly, you can get adware by:

      • Downloading an app or software that has adware
      • Visit shady websites that exploit your systems’ vulnerabilities and install malware

Once malware sneaks on your gadget, hackers can use it as a gateway to bombard you with even more malware.

For example, one of the most common tactics is to install spyware through adware so that hackers can:

In other cases they can install ransomware on your computer or a keylogger on your iOS and Android phone.

So, adware isn’t something to be taken lightly.

How to tell if you have an adware infection

Because adware runs a particular way, you should be able to spot an infection easily.

Here’s what you should keep an eye on.

You’re bombarded with ads

Part of adware’s MO is to flood you with pop-ups. And not the kind you’re so used to, you no longer notice.

Adware serves you ads that seem impossible to close. Either there’s no close button, or the little X moves around as soon as you try to click it.

In other cases, adware redirects you to webpages filled with ads.

Your device is slow

Ads are notorious for slowing down your browser, but adware takes it a step further.

An adware infection makes your entire device slow down. It’ll take longer than usual to launch and run programs. You might also notice images and websites loading slower, even if you have a decent internet connection.

This can be a classic sign that your PC has been hacked.

You experience constant crashes

Adware eats up your device’s resources just to monitor your traffic and serve you pop-ups.

The longer this goes on, the more likely you are to experience software crashes or have your device freezing.

Your internet connection is slower

It’s not just that adware makes your browser slower by constantly bombarding you with ads; it also takes over your bandwidth to download massive amounts of ads.

You might notice this, particularly when streaming or downloading files online.

Your homepage suddenly changed

Oh, the old browser homepage change. This is a classical sign of adware.

It’s hard to get people to click on ads, but a little bit easier if you give them no alternative and force them to visit a webpage.

When dealing with adware, you’ll usually get redirected to a shady website designed to target you with some more malware.

6 tips to keep you safe from adware

Good cybersecurity habits can keep you private and secure online.

To keep make sure you don’t get adware on your devices, here’s what you can do:

  1. Use a good antivirus. Run malware scans regularly and take care of all the flagged files.
  2. Use a trustworthy VPN to hide your IP address and encrypt your connection. It will make your digital life harder to track and trace.
  3. Rely on a reputable adblocker. You don’t have to worry about clicking on shady ads when you can’t see them anymore.
  4. Don’t download apps or software from third-party websites. Stick to your official app store when mobile and pay close attention to URLs when on your desktop.
  5. Keep your security software up to date and increase your IoT security. Any patched vulnerability is one extra layer of defense between you and a hacker.
  6. Don’t click on suspicious links. Phishing scams are running rampant, and they can easily infect your device with all types of malware.

Have you ever dealt with adware? How do you keep your device safe now? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time, stay safe and secure!

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