Types of Adware: DeskAd

Adware programs are a nuisance for several reasons.  They begin by distracting your computer activity by loading the screen with pop-up advertisements.  What has given it a bad reputation is the tendency to install itself without user knowledge, monitor and collect data without consent, and occasionally make alterations to a web browser.  In general, adware itself is not malicious.  However, some of these programs have caused major problems, inflicting damage more severe than the most dangerous virus.  A perfect example is an adware program by the name of Desktop. 

Description of DeskAd 

DeskAd is considered to be malicious software, a destructive adware program that has infected several homes users and many more businesses.  It is packaged as ad-supported software that provides targeted advertisements.  It starts off in subtle fashion, functioning in stealth mode to avoid detection.  Over time, it begins to seize control, making alterations to your web browser with additional buttons, toolbars and links.  DeskAd has been known to redirect a user's web requests to other locations on the internet, often sending them to sites compromised with malware.  

According to a recent adware study, several administrators reported major network issues due to the DeskAd program.  It was reported that this software creates keys in the victim's registry, enabling itself to be launched every time the machine starts up. Similar to a worm or virus, DeskAd replicates itself to further spread the infection.  This function claims valuable memory and puts major pressure on a computer's central processing unit.   

Many administrators claimed to have been infected via email attachment and noticed instant changes to their browsers.  Other reports revealed much more severe consequences.  In one case, DeskAd infected an entire network, causing various machines to crash.  It was further reported that the only way to remove the infection was to wipe the system clean and completely reinstall Windows. 

How to Avoid DeskAd

DeskAd is a very dangerous form of adware, but it can be avoided.  Since it functions by taking advantage of vulnerabilities of your operating system, it is critical to implement the proper security and follow a strict protocol. 

# 1 - Keep your Windows security up to date: Though widely used, Microsoft Windows is one of the most vulnerable systems on the market.  It does provide you with a few tools that should always be used.  Be sure to keep your system current with weekly updates.  This can be done directly from the Microsoft website where configurations can be made to receive automatic updates. 

# 2 - Install a Firewall: Firewall applications are an essential part of any security system these days.  It will keep hackers out of your system while tracking outbound communications, a feature that will help to determine if you've been infected with adware.                                                        

# 3 - Install a reliable spyware program:   A program such as DeskAd is so complex that it may go undetected by anti-virus software.  Because of this, your computer should be protected by an anti-spyware scanner.  This type of program is built with the technology specifically designed to detect and remove these stubborn infections. 

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You can protect your computer from viruses without expensive software. Instead, follow these simple tips:

Stay up-to-date on all system updates.

Don't download any email attachments you weren't expecting.

Avoid freeware and peer-to-peer sharing sites.

Use alternative web browsers and email software.