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What is Adware? - Towards Cybersecurity

In this article, I am discussing what is Adware and its types. So, Let's begin.
Are you being bombarded with ads every time when you try to browse the web? If this is the case, there's a chance that your device has been infected with Adware.
Adware is a term used to describe unwanted software that displays advertisements on your device. Adware is one of the most common online nuisances.

What is Adware? - Towards Cybersecurity

Adware (short from advertising-supported software) is a type of malware that automatically delivers advertisements. The most common examples of Adware includes pop-up ads on websites and advertisements that are displayed by the software. Often times applications and software offer free versions that come bundled with Adware. Most Adware is sponsored by advertisers and serves as a revenue generating tool.

The ultimate goal of many hackers is to make money and for some, Adware is just the way to do it. It's designed to maliciously push advertisements onto the user machine, often in such a way that the only way to get rid of them is to click through to the advertisements. For the hackers, each click brings about additional revenue.

Adware also generates revenue for its developer by automatically displaying online advertisements on a screen that pops up in the user's face or in the user interface of the software during the installation process. And that's when you start seeing doubtful weight loss programs, offers for get-rich-quick secrets, and bogus virus warnings that invite your click. Also, you might experience new tabs opening, a change in your home page, findings from a search engine you never heard of, even a redirect to an NSFW (Not Safe For Work) website.

While some Adware is only designed to deliver advertisements, it is not uncommon for Adware to come bundled with Spyware that tracks and records user's personal information, your IP address, search queries, and internet browsing habits. Spyware used this data without the user's consent for displaying customized ads. User data collected in this manner is often sold to third parties. Third parties can even use it to target you with more advertisements customized to your viewing habits and it doesn't matter whether you are using Chrome, Firefox, or other browsers it affects all of them. Due to the added capabilities of Spyware, Adware and Spyware bundles are significantly more dangerous than Adware on its own.  
What is Adware? - Towards Cybersecurity
Mobile Adware:-

However, in the case of mobile devices, this can easily lead to an extreme battery drain or make the device unusable due to the more number of pop-up windows taking up the whole screen. Adware can automatically get downloaded to your device while browsing any website.

There are two ways a mobile phone or other connected devices can become infected with Adware: either through a browser vulnerability or through bad apps. Bad apps are malicious apps that can install malware on your device.
  • Similar to a computer, you can get Adware through a browser vulnerability that can allow pop-ups ads.
  • When a bad app is infected with Adware, you can be bombarded by persistent ads.

Types Of Adware:-

The two types of Adware are those that occur as a result of a downloaded program and those that are due to browser hijacking. 

1. Adware from a Downloaded Program:-

When you download freeware or shareware, oftentimes Adware is included in that. These free version programs use Adware to fund development and distribution. This type of Adware doesn't have a malicious purpose but can be annoying.

Adware is often confused with Spyware which works in a similar way but is a separate program. It's usually downloaded unknowingly (without user consent) and tracks your internet surfing habits in order to serve ads related to you. If you want to learn more about Spyware then Click here.

2. On-Site Adware:-

This type of Adware is also known as browser hijacking. It is when you visit an infected website and it leads to an unauthorized installation of Adware. Then while browsing, you're bombarded with ads. While we assume that these are coming from the site but they are actually due to the Adware that was installed on your device.

What is Adware? - Towards Cybersecurity

Is Adware Dangerous?

Adware is more annoying than dangerous. There will be constant pop-ups, banners, and in-text ads that appear inside your browser window while surfing the internet. Random windows and tabs may open unexpectedly. Your computer will get slow or crash completely.

A new kind of Adware has been detected that can disable your antivirus software. So, Adware is harmful.

I hope you find useful information in this article. If you have any questions related to Adware and their types then please mention in the comments section and I will get back to you and stay tuned with my blog to learn interesting things related to cybersecurity and hacking.


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