While many might believe that software smart enough to only show you websites and advertisements tailored to your needs is the best thing that could happen, those who have actually experienced adware may disagree. Adware is a piece of software that automatically shows advertisements after the software is installed. It can show them while you’re online or offline, often in the form of a pop up. In many cases adware is installed without your knowledge or consent.
In some cases, adware only works with a specific application, like your web browser. In many other cases, though, once installed, adware will constantly display advertisements of all types any time the computer is one. This can not only cause privacy concerns, but it can also use valuable system resources. As a result, protecting your PC against adware is a good idea. Following these steps may help.
1. The single best thing you can do to protect your computer from adware is to install top notch security software. While many people understand the importance of antivirus software, few stop to think about the other essential components of security software. In addition to a strong antivirus solution, you may also want to invest in an antispyware/antiadware solution to help protect your computer.
These programs are available from a variety of reputable companies, and they can ensure problem adware programs are blocked from entering your computer. It is, however, important to note that while there are lots of good antispyware/antiadware programs, there are also several rogue security programs out there that may pose as reliable solutions. Be sure that you do your homework before you purchase any program.
2. In addition to good security software, you may want to consider a firewall. Firewalls are just one more way to protect your computer, and they alert you if your computer is trying to communicate with an outside source or if an outside program is trying to enter your machine. Firewalls come as either software or hardware, but as with the other security programs in your lineup, it’s best to do a bit of research before you make your final selection.
3. Update both your operating system and your security software on a regular basis. Because new adware programs are released on a fairly regular basis, your security software must stay updated it can help protect your computer from these problem programs.
4. Be sure that when you get ready to download anything, whether its software, shared files, or other programs, you’re familiar with the source. You should always make certain that you can trust the company offering the program, as some software and files come bundled with adware you may not be familiar with. It can automatically install on your system, even if you didn’t give it permission to do so.
5. Make certain that you don’t click on advertisements as you surf. Lots of adware can install itself if you choose to click on an ad, so staying away from them is essential. If you like the product you see in the ad, you can always type the name of the product into a search engine later, and visit a safe website that seems to offer it.
6. Use your email carefully. If you’re not familiar with the source of a given email, it’s best not even to open it. If your email system automatically opens something in a preview pane, you may want to disable that function. As with the emails themselves, you should be very careful with attachments too. Unless you’re sure of the source, you may want to avoid them wherever possible. Both your antispyware/antiadware solution and your virus solution probably have an email scanner built in, so be sure that you allow it to do its job.
7. You may also want to evaluate your browser selections. Some browsers like Internet Explorer are frequent targets for malware and adware designers. Open source browsers and other less popular browsers occasionally have features built in to help ensure programs like adware can’t get through. Sometimes, it’s worth it to switch to smaller names in the business.
8. Watch out for dialog boxes from your computer. If you’re in the habit of constantly clicking yes on every dialog box you see, it may be time to read what some of them have to say. Some dialog boxes may not even be from your operating system; they may be from an adware program. Reading and evaluating each will help you protect your computer.
9. Consider installing a pop up blocker or using your browser’s existing pop up blocker to help you deal with program advertisements that may carry adware from the internet to your computer.
10. Don’t knowingly install adware on your computer. You may want to do a bit of research on anything you choose to install just to make certain you don’t have a problem in the making.