How To Prevent Adware From Infecting Your Device

How To Prevent Adware From Infecting Your Device

How To Prevent Adware

If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of having an adware-laden computer, then you know just how annoying it can be…

One day your computer is operating efficiently and working fine. Then one day, you download a random file and your computer becomes infected with adware. Suddenly, your entire screen is full of pop-ups, advertisements, porn, mysterious “warnings,” and a whole host of other aggravating messages.

No matter how many times you try to click the little red ‘x’ and remove the ads, another one always comes up to take its place. Some adware is more intrusive than others, and the worst adware can literally cause hundreds of files to appear all at once.

Sound familiar?

If so, then you’ve come to the right place. In today’s post, we’re going to explain what adware is, where it comes from, and most importantly how to prevent adware. We’ll also explain whether or not a VPN service can help stop adware.

What Is Adware And How Does It Work?

First off, let’s take a minute to explain what adware is and how it works. If you have a good anti-virus/anti-malware program installed on your computer, then chances are that you’ve seen the term before. Whenever you run a scan on your device, the software should notify you to tell you that it’s scanning for adware, viruses, trojan horses, keyloggers, etc.

So, what exactly is adware, and what makes it different from other computer malware?

As the name implies, adware is a form of malware that shows itself in the form of ads and pop-ups on your computer. It’s not quite as common as it once was due to the fact that computer users are savvier to it and don’t interact with adware as much as the first internet users 20 years ago. However, there are still loads of adware programs out there on the web that can infect your device.

By itself, adware generally won’t harm your computer or steal data and information from your device. Mostly, it’s just incredibly annoying and slows your computer down by taking up valuable processing power.

That being said, if you interact with the adware and click on the pop-ups, things can get a bit tricky. Once you click on the pop-ups, they’ll often initiate downloads of far more dangerous malware and viruses on your device. These secondary viruses can then take over your entire computer, steal your personal information, and even allow hackers to take complete control of your device through rootkit programs.

… and that is a recipe for a bad day!

Where Does Adware Come From?

So, where does Adware come from? Most people don’t intentionally download adware programs on their devices, which means that they’re normally embedded in your computer without your knowledge or via seemingly innocent downloads.

1. Phishing Emails: One of the most common origins of adware is phishing emails. These are emails sent by hackers and scammers who are impersonating trustworthy individuals or companies. Perhaps the hacker is contacting you about an “extended warranty” or offering you an “award.”

Usually, the premise of the phishing email is either tempting or alarming enough to get you to click on it. Whatever the case may be, though, once you interact with the email, download their program, or visit their site, adware can be automatically downloaded on your device and can begin infecting your computer.

2. Torrents: One of the most common ways that people get viruses on their computers is through downloading torrent files. Torrenting involves downloading files on a peer-to-peer filesharing network to improve downloading speeds and enable quick, easy sharing of files. However, torrents are often embedded with viruses and malware that can infect your device once you begin seeding the file. They also allow other seeders to see your IP address and location (unless you’re using a VPN to mask your IP address).

3. Downloading Games and Media: Often, adware gets embedded on your device through downloading games, pictures, videos, and other forms of media. Maybe your kid was on your computer downloading video games or you tried to download a cool screensaver from a scammy website. Once the files are downloaded and extracted, the adware can become activated and will start displaying pop-ups and messages.

How To Prevent Adware From Infecting Your Device

Thankfully, there are a number of ways that you can prevent adware from infecting your device. For the most part, adware can be prevented with some basic common sense and a good anti-virus program. So, with that in mind, here’s how to prevent adware.

  1. Make Sure Your Anti-Virus Software Is Updated: Most importantly, you want to make sure that you have some good anti-virus software downloaded on your computer. Make sure that your anti-virus program is completely updated, as viruses and malware programs are constantly changing and evolving to adapt to anti-malware measures.
  2. Perform Regular Scans On Your Device: If you have a good anti-malware program, you should be taking full advantage of it. Schedule daily scans of your computer to ensure that nothing ever falls between the cracks and has a chance to infect your computer. A full scan usually won’t take more than 30 minutes and can run in the background while you’re using other apps, so there’s no excuse not to.
    Windows Security
  3. Use An Anti-Virus Browser Plugin: If your anti-virus program has a browser program then make sure it’s activated. If not, then you may want to consider upgrading your anti-virus software or purchasing a program that does feature a browser plugin. These will scan the websites you visit to make sure that there isn’t any malware waiting to infect your device.
  4. Only Download Files From Reputable Sources: This almost goes without saying, but you should only ever download files, games, programs, and media from reputable sites that you trust. If the website looks fishy, then there’s a good chance that it is.

Can A VPN Prevent Adware?

One of the most common questions we get at PinpointVPN is, “Do VPNs prevent or protect against adware?”

To be clear, a VPN is not designed to directly protect you from adware programs and viruses. If you download an infected file on your computer, the only thing that can stop it or get rid of it is your anti-virus program.

That being said, your VPN like ProtonVPN can provide you with an added layer of security and ensures that websites, apps, and network hackers aren’t able to track you or identify you as a target. This, in turn, can reduce your chances of being targeted by hackers seeking to embed virus programs on your computer.