What is Adware?

Adware is a close relative of spyware. Adware is a type of software that is installed on your computer to show you advertisements. These advertisements may take many forms, from relatively noninvasive banners within a program, to very invasive pop-up windows that come up regardless of that you are doing in the foreground. Adware can slow your PC by using RAM and CPU cycles. Adware can also slow your Internet connection by using bandwidth to retrieve advertisements. In addition, adware can increase the instability of your system because many adware applications are not programmed well.

How do you get Adware on your computer?
You normally download adware without knowing about it. Adware often bundled with other programs which you downloads from internet. For example, a lot of free software (freeware) programs have adware associated with them. When you download freeware you want, such as a peer-to-peer file-sharing program like themes, chat smileys, desktop background, you are also downloading adware that is packaged with it. That way, when you run the freeware, you are also running the adware in the background, which is creating advertisements on your computer.

Other malicious adware can exploit holes in your computer’s security. Some websites have programs designed to install adware on your computer as you surf the internet by finding holes in your computer’s security and installing the adware when you view their webpages. This happens without your consent.

Some adware can also be classified as spyware, a type of malware (malicious software) which steals information. For example BonziBUDDY, an application marketed as an “Intelligent software agent”, corrupted many of the user’s system files, forcing the display of many obscene advertisements (composed mostly of infected Flash coding); these and the main application logged browsing details and sent them to various third parties.

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