Adware – What is it, definition and concept

Adware is any software whose main mission is to collect data and display advertisements to the user. They are often associated with malicious practices such as invasive and misleading advertising, and even espionage.

This type of software is usually malicious and is not exactly known for its good practices or for having a useful function. In other words, they are capable of storing data apparently without our permission and the advertising they usually show does not have to be a real product or service, but may be a scam.

Adware Features

Identifying this type of software is crucial in order to preserve the health of our device and our own privacy. Next, some patterns that the adware possesses will be exposed in order to detect them more easily:

  • It opens in the form of a pop-up window (or pop-up) and is overlaid on the website or program.
  • It has some spelling mistakes and poor writing.
  • Excess appearances. This happens when we manage to close the ad and it comes up again a short time later.
  • Excessively flashy colors, messages and designs.
  • Promise of prizes or alleged direct messages from a person to the user.
  • It does not let us configure the browser or a certain program. It forces us to an unwanted customization.
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The images above are examples of how advertisements can be presented in adware, even using logos and brand names to appear trustworthy to the user. Also, although some additional feature can be added, these are the common patterns that usually occur in this type of software. They do not even have to occur all at once, but one, or several of them.

Special attention should be paid to those websites that distribute free software massively, since during the installation processes they can ‘sneak in’ unwanted software.

types of adware

Adware itself doesn’t have to be malware, but since most are, it’s hard to tell when adware is ethically constructed.

  • Full or partial adware. The software can be a program like any other installed on our device (complete) or, on the other hand, be installed as an extension within a program (partial), such as our browser, for example.
  • Hidden or visible adware. It refers to the fact that the software can be hidden, that is, it can be shown with a name, but be installed with another name. This makes it really difficult to uninstall it. On the other hand, when it is visible it is easier to get rid of it.
  • Ethical adware or malware (malicious software). It is about the behavior of the software. Currently many applications can be downloaded for free. This causes some to remain based on advertisements. These advertisements are shown prior acceptance of cookies or policy and conditions towards the user. However, adware has mostly served as spyware and has been somewhat problematic.

examples of adware

Some of the adware programs that have had the most impact are:

  • Desk Ad. This adware displays advertisements in the Internet browser. Unlike other similar programs, it begins the infection gradually until it takes almost complete control of the computer.
  • Fireball. It is a software that is done with the control of the browser. Unlike other adware, this one had digital certificates of authenticity which made it seem like a program without any risk.
  • file tour. One of the most developed malicious programs to date. It is mainly targeted at users from countries with the Cyrillic alphabet (Eastern Europe and Russia) and works as adware that first takes control of the browser and then even mines cryptocurrencies without user consent.

These are three of the most prominent examples, although the list is already very extensive.

In short, the user must be aware that surfing the Internet is a process that must be done with caution and that not all adware and malware work in the same way.

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