What are the effects of Adware?


Has your PC been running slow as of late?  Is your screen suddenly flooded with pop-up advertisements?  Have you noticed new toolbars in your web browser?  Changes in your list of Favorites or perhaps a totally different homepage?  If you answered to yes any of these questions, your computer just may be infected with adware.  Adware poses a great threat to anyone who frequently visits the internet; the infection is almost certain when the proper security is not implemented.     

Adware refers to free software that frequently displays advertisements from one or more companies.  It  mainly presents you with targeted content based on your web surfing patterns, offering items you are more likely to have an interest in.  When used correctly, adware is installed with your consent, notifying you of the activities it will perform. 

Truth about Adware

Although some forms of adware have no intentions of harming your computer, more often than not, this type of program is used maliciously.  For instance, most of the time adware is installed, a user has no knowledge of it's presence.  This is because adware is typically bundled and downloaded with other software.  If you do not carefully read the terms and conditions of the original program, you can easily consent to inviting adware on your computer. 

Once installed, this software becomes a great threat to the performance of your computer and the information it contains.  Several adware programs will interrupt activity by displaying constant pop-ups windows, whether you are signed onto the internet or not.  You may find that your web browser has been hijacked, perhaps replaced with offensive content.  When typing into a search engine, your web requests may be redirected to other internet locations.  These are common characteristics of adware, all made possible by the ability to make changes on your computer and report data back to other sources.  These type of programs are more aptly named as spyware and can be rather destructive over time. 

It is very rare that a user is compromised by just one adware application.  Many times, adware is installed by a Trojan horse which typically downloads several kinds of malicious software on a computer.  After a while, all of these programs will consume a great number of resources, taking a tremendous toll on your computer.  A system can quickly be come so infested with pop-up ads that normal activity such as signing on the internet is virtually impossible.

When adware and spyware programs get out of hand, they will often prevent the installation of software intended to disinfect them.  In this scenario, your computer needs to be examined and repaired by a technician, in which the system may need to be wiped clean and completely restored.   

Staying Ad-Free

In general, adware serves benefits to few users.  The internet gives us the ability to seek and find any product our hearts desire.  Why have these advertisements forced on you?  That cool, useful program merely presenting itself as ad-supported software could actually be spyware attempting to steal your personal data.  Why take the risk?  Keep yourself protected from adware by installing both anti-spyware software and a firewall application.  The spyware program will effectively detect and destroy various types of adware while the firewall will help to keep them away. 

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Identity theft costs business and individuals $53 billion dollars annually

In 2003, Americans spent 300 million hours resolving issues related to identity theft.

70% of all identity theft cases are perpetrated by a co-worker or employee of an affiliated business.