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Three things come to mind when you hear the word “adware.” The first is in the first syllable – “ad.” This clues you into the concept of adware. So adware is a software that carries an advertisement. This advertisement is displayed as a banner pop up or a bar that appears on your computer screen when you’re using the software. The second is spyware.
Although not all adware are spyware, it is generally agreed that many adware programs also have spyware. This has caused a lot of hoopla because certain adware programs track a user’s information which is passed to third parties without the user’s permission. This prevalent situation has put the Electronic Privacy Information Centre on red alert, not to forget some lobby groups that are huffing and puffing about violation of privacy. The third thing about adware is that it’s free. If you think about it, however, it isn’t really free because you are bombarded with unwanted ads and your personal identity is compromised.
When software developers offer a software for free, they usually integrate codes into the software that will simultaneously download advertising banners into the user’s computer. The authors of such programs do this so they recoup their development costs for the adware. Even if downloading a program is advertised as free (like in shareware), there are strings attached. Recognizing adware For those who aren’t that computer savvy, they may not immediately know that adware is residing on their computer. If you’re not sure, go to any search engine and type “adware” or “removing adware” and you should be able to obtain a list of the more common adware programs that exist.One online guide we consulted lists the more popular adware programs. Here’s a few of them (there are thousands more, so this isn’t a comprehensive listing): · 180 search assistant · 20x2p · 91Cast · 2nd-thought · ABCScrabble · AceNotes · Active Shopper · Active Search · AdClicker · AdRotator Some web sites will even make a list that will tell you whether it’s adware, malware, Trojan, or a dialer. So far, over 2500 programs have been identified as adware, Trojan or malware, and the list grows longer everyday. Removing adware There are recommended adware removal tools. Like any product, it is a matter of choosing the one that’s right for you.
If you’re not sure which product will do the trick, you can read the different forums on adware and adware removal to get an idea of people’s favorite removal tools. Two removal tools we often hear about are Ad-Aware and Spybot. First step is to be aware that your anti virus programs will not remove adware. You need to have a modern anti-spyware scanner. Second, before running the anti-spyware scanner, shut off all your applications on your computer including your email. Disconnect your computer from the internet. Command your anti-spyware scanner to scan your PC and give it permission to remove any spyware or adware that it finds. When the task is complete, re-boot your computer. Re-boot even if the scanner does not prompt you.The process does not end there.
After re-booting, run the scan a second time. It is likely that your computer is still infested with one, two or more spyware and adware. Re-boot. After the second re-boot, perform a third scan. If you believe that your computer is still infected, turn on your computer into safe mode. This will NOT eliminate all spyware and adware remaining in your system, but at least will keep the infestation minimal. As a last resort, you may want to refer to www.TomCoyote.org. This web site will show you how to use HijackThis, a program that will capture pertinent areas that may be housing the “culprits.
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