Adware is a type of malware that can be a significant problem. It usually comes in the form of unwanted pop-up ads, redirects, and other forms of intrusive advertising. It can also be used to collect personal data and track user activity.
Unfortunately, adware is becoming increasingly common, as it can be challenging to detect and remove. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent adware from infecting your device and protect yourself from cybercriminals. To prevent adware from infecting your device, it’s essential to keep your operating system, browsers, and plugins up to date. When software developers discover vulnerabilities in their programs, they often release updates to patch them and protect users from potential attacks. Be sure to install all available updates as soon as possible to stay ahead of the game. Another way to protect yourself from adware is to enable “click to play” plugins. Malicious ads, or “malvertising”, are a common way for adware to be delivered to your device. You can enable plugins to prevent this from happening, which will keep Flash or Java from running unless you tell them to. This will help keep malicious ads from being delivered in the first place.
It’s also important to remove any software you’re not using, especially outdated programs. Cybercriminals can take advantage of security vulnerabilities in outdated software, so if you’re still running Windows XP or Windows 7/8.1, you may be vulnerable to attacks. Take a look at other legacy applications on your device, such as Adobe Reader or older versions of media players, and remove them if they’re no longer being used.
Social engineering is another common way for cybercriminals to deliver adware. Be sure to read emails with an eagle eye, as phishing is a common way for malicious software to be delivered. Check the sender’s address and hover over any links provided to make sure they are legitimate. Also, be wary of any cold callers who may try to trick you with tech support scams. Ask questions if something seems suspicious, and don’t provide any personal information until you’ve verified the caller’s identity.
Finally, it’s important to practice safe browsing habits. Use strong passwords and/or password managers to protect yourself from attacks. Be sure you’re always on a secure connection and log out of websites when you’re done. Keeping your device up to date, enabling click-to-play plugins, removing old software, watching out for social engineering attempts, and practicing safe browsing habits are necessary to protect yourself from adware and other malware.