What Is Intrusive Adware?
What Is Intrusive Adware?
Adware… at one point or another, we’ve all experienced it. One day, everything is fine and we’re going about our business browsing as usual. The next day, our computer screen is full of pop-up after pop-up consisting of ads, pornography, annoying messages, and everything in between.
Thankfully, today’s computers and phones are a little bit more secure than those old Windows XP desktops from the early-2000s. However, even the most advanced computers, smartphones, and modern operating systems are still prone to adware attacks.
Often referred to as “intrusive adware” due to the intrusive nature of the pop-ups, adware can be a lot more dangerous than it appears. If left unchecked, the adware can multiply on your device, compromise your security, leak private information, and even damage your computer itself. This is why it’s so important to be proactive about your online security by using a good anti-virus program along with a reputable VPN to ensure a private, encrypted browsing session.
If you or a friend/family member has recently been the victim of an adware attack, then this is a post that you need to read! Even if you haven’t been victimized, it’s worth knowing the symptoms and solutions to look out for.
Below, we’ll explain exactly what intrusive adware is and why it’s so dangerous. Then, we’ll detail the most common ways that adware is introduced to devices. Lastly, we’ll show you the best practices for getting rid of adware and preventing it in the future. It’s time to secure your device!
What Exactly Is Adware?
The “nice” thing about adware is that it’s fairly easy to identify. Due to the intrusive nature of adware, it’s nearly impossible to miss the giant, frequent pop-ups that plague your device. You can’t even check your email without pop-ups, naked people getting it on, or fake “notifications” telling you that your device is “compromised.”
So, first thing’s first- Adware is a virus.
That means you should treat it as such. When you see pop-ups or random “notifications” that don’t make sense, make sure that you don’t click on them. Often, adware is used to trick computer users into clicking on the ads, which will download even more severe virus programs on the device and reak havoc on the system.
The reason why adware is usually the first step to worse things is that adware programs often go undetected by app stores or your browser. This means that it’s easier for hackers to embed adware into your computer without your knowledge through seemingly innocent downloads.
Then, once the adware is on your device, it will often prompt you with notifications that try to tell you that your “device has been hacked” and that you “need to download the latest anti-virus program to get rid of it.”
These messages can often be scary and intrusive. They’re designed to scare computer users into clicking the ads and downloading the “anti-virus program,” which is really just an even worse virus that can take down your whole computer.
Whatever the circumstance, never download anything or click on any site that the adware and pop-ups prompt you to!
How Does Adware Get On Your Device?
Adware can get on your computer, tablet, or phone in a number of different ways. Here are the most common sources of adware, so you can be aware of them and prevent adware in the future.
1. Phishing Messages: Phishing messages are emails or text messages that are sent to your device in an effort to get you to download programs or enter sensitive information. The senders of phishing messages often pose as legitimate individuals, such as a Doctor, an IRS agent, your banker, or a credit card company representative.
They may even try to lure you in by offering “free prizes” or claiming that they work with your phone company or internet service provider. When you follow these links or download the programs they prompt you to, the adware will activate on your device.
One of the best ways to prevent phishing emails from directly targeting your device is to use a high-quality VPN like NordVPN that encrypts your internet traffic/data and makes it harder for hackers to target you, in the first place.
2. Less-Than-Savory Sites: If you’re on scammy-looking sites (especially unreputable porn sites, torrent sites, or illegal movie streaming sites), then there’s a huge risk that files will be automatically downloaded on your device without your knowledge. This is why you should always stay away from sites like these or use an anti-malware program that works within your browser as you surf the web.
3. Scammy Software: Adware is often disguised as scammy or “free” software. This is why you should only download programs from reputable developers and read the reviews on programs before you download them.
4. Games: One of the most common sources of adware is kids’ computer games. Your kids (who have no knowledge of viruses, in the first place) may download a game that looks fun to play. These low-quality free games are often adware in disguise, waiting to infect your device.
Is Adware On Your Device Dangerous?
By itself, adware isn’t always dangerous. More than anything, it’s annoying and intrusive. However, if left unchecked, the adware can multiply or prompt you to download virus programs that are far worse and that can do a lot more damage. This is why you should deal with adware ASAP!
How To Get Rid Of Adware: Step-by-Step
The good news is that you can get rid of adware fairly easily! All you need is a good anti-virus program, a computer file cleaning program, and a bit of technical know-how. Here’s how to get rid of intrusive adware on your computer. You can also follow similar steps on your Android device if it’s been targeted by adware.
1. Boot Your Computer In Safe Mode: First, you’ll need to boot your computer in safe mode. Each computer is a bit different, depending on your operating system. Here are the instructions for entering safe mode in Windows, and here’s how to open your Mac in safe mode.
Many adware programs may prevent you from using your anti-virus or anti-malware programs, making them harder to get rid of. Booting your computer in safe mode limits the number of startup programs that automatically start when you turn your computer on. The idea is that by booting it in safe mode, you’ll prevent the adware program from starting and interfering with your anti-virus software.
2. Run An Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware Scan: With your computer in safe mode, activate your anti-virus software. If you don’t already have a good program, then we recommend downloading Avast or AVG anti-virus. Macs and Windows also have built-in anti-virus programs that you can use as well.
Perform a full scan of your device (it may take up to 30 minutes or so). This scan should identify the adware file(s) and will prompt you to destroy them. It may also require you to restart your device after the virus files are deleted.
3. Delete Your Browser’s Cache and Cookies: Now, you’ll want to clean up any possible remnants that could re-infect your computer (namely, your cache and cookies). To do this, go to your browser’s privacy/history settings and delete all of your cache and cookies.
4. Delete Recently Downloaded Files: The .exe file where your adware came from may still be sitting in your downloads folder. To make sure that your computer isn’t re-infected, make sure you delete your recently downloaded files. Anything that you don’t specifically recognize or need should be deleted.
5. Download and Run CCleaner Application: Lastly, download the CCleaner program from www.ccleaner.com. This free-to-use program has been around for over a decade and will ensure that trash files are permanently deleted. It can also speed up your computer a bit! Download and run the program to ensure that every last remnant of the deleted adware files are permanently destroyed
See, that wasn’t so hard! Now that you’ve gotten rid of your intrusive adware, you need to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. This means that you should make sure your anti-virus software is always active and performs daily scans. If possible, use an anti-virus program that features built-in browser security and scans any downloads.
Last but not least, use a VPN whenever you’re browsing the internet, torrenting, or going to sites that you don’t normally visit. This will ensure that your internet connection and data are always private and will go a long way towards preventing adware attacks!