Adware is short for Advertising Malware. It’s a form of malware designed to show its victims unwanted advertisements so the attackers can generate income. Generally the victim either did not choose to install the malware willingly, unknowingly installed the malware, or knowingly installed the malware after being misled as to what it actually does.
Generally, adware isn’t considered a serious form of malware, but rather as a nuisance. Due to adware requiring its victims to watch advertisements or track its users online activity to generate money, it typically won’t destroy a user’s system, but will be annoying and also delivers personal information into the hands of malicious attackers.
Types of Adware
Adware comes in many forms with some designed to collect its victims’ browsing history data, some serving unwanted ads such as popup ads, and some even demanding payment from its victim for removal of the ads.
- Popups – This type of adware is designed to serve you unwanted ads to generate revenue for the attackers. If you have ads that seemingly pop up out of nowhere, you probably have an adware infection on your system.
- Tracking – This type of adware is designed to track your online activity to deliver the types of ads you’d likely click on and to collect information about you to sell to third parties.
- Ransom – This type of adware is designed to show you unwanted ads, but also provide you with an option to remove the ads for a payment. Typically this type of adware are most often found in fake anti-virus or anti-malware software which tell you your system is infected and offers you an easy way to remove the infection for a fee.