There is a lot of confusion these days as to the differences between adware, spyware and even malware.
Even though adware is deemed by many as harmless you really need to know what can be lurking with adware.
When you begin to add other forms of “ware” to the equation things can get even more complicated. For instance, the term malware just makes everything that much more confusing for everyone. Saying that, for many online users the result is a lot of confusion and even a little fear from this growing online threat
Adware Within Free Software Applications
This first form of adware is for those that are downloading free software off the internet right now, this is something my children commonly do and I am sure yours do to.
We all know after being online for a while that you can actually get software that is completely free.
What many of us don’t really understand is the catch, and that is the creator of the free software has set the application to display advertisements whenever you use the application. This is how the person who created the software is going to make their money so they can afford to just give these programs aware.
Now whenever you launch the program you see little banner ads within the application, but otherwise the ads don’t show up in any bothersome way.
Adware When It’s Really Malware
This is when things can change very quickly.
The software is free as in the previous example. For most everything will appear to be the same as the first scenario. As with the first you will be informed quite clearly that the advertisements will appear on your computer.
What the problem here is that the advertisements start to appear in ways you never really expected or wanted. They start to pop up even when you aren’t using the free software that you downloaded and the ads become extremely intrusive and bothersome constantly appearing.
And in some cases they contain adult and gambling advertisements.
Malware An Aggressive Form Of Adware
This is where you didn’t download anything but maybe opened an unknown email and clicked a link or simply visited a website. Or, you did download what you believe to be a legitimate application but aren’t notified in any way that you will be getting advertisements on your computer screen in any form.
Still, advertisements (pop ups) start appearing whenever you use your computer.
On most occasions you can simply close them, however they just come back to annoy you.
Have you ever tried to uninstall one of these ads, you can never find the file that needs to be removed and you seem to just go round in circles. Many times deleting files that you computer actually needs to function properly and causing even more problems.
Each one of the examples above are adware. It’s an application that has been designed specifically to show advertisements on your computers screen, this is done usually because of the free program you have downloaded and the creator is trying to make some form of income. Many say that there is nothing wrong with this, however I would have to disagree.
I personally have not seen many warnings about adware being installed unless you try and read the very fine print that you agree to when downloading the free software.
Unfortunately, as with the second example, it’s often something that delivers more than what was promised.
The last two scenarios actually involve what is known as Malware. Adware is not always Malware however you can never be certain, but the truth of the matter here is that the two are often packaged together when you download the free software application.
Malware is essentially an application that has been solely created to operate on your computer in a malicious manner.
In some cases, as with the second example, it is more of a nuisance, but in other situations it can actually cause a lot of damage, not just to your computer but your personal life as well. The most effective Malware remover is Malware Bytes
Spyware Is What You Need To Avoid
As for spyware, well, that can actually exist in any one of the above examples. Spyware is any type of software that tracks things that you do on your computer. Overall spyware is a malicious application. That said, in some cases the type of software seen in the first example will clearly express that it uses spyware, though it will say so with softer words than that.
In its less harmful incarnation, spyware simply observes what you do online in terms of the websites you may visit. It then uses that information to send you the most appropriate ads.
In its more harmful incarnations spyware can track more personal information than that, and can even send your information to criminals such as your passwords or even bank details in more extreme cases etc, you can even become a victim of identity theft which is not a trait of adware, but it is for spyware.
So how do you prevent any of these scenarios from happening to you?
You can simply in sure you have protection using AVG Internet Security or if you all ready have a stand alone antivirus program then get PC Tools Spyware Doctor.
You might also be interested to know that antivirus programs do not detect Adware, Spyware or malware unless they specifically say they do.