Adware is one of the most devious virus families around. They don't steal user's documents, they don't block access to the computer and they apparently don't make any changes to the operating system. And they are also difficult to detect: they creep into the PC and start "getting familiar" with the world around it.
How do we know that our device (they affect both computers and smartphones) has been infected by an adware? By the slowdowns. When adware goes into operation, your PC starts to run slower. And the reason is very simple: these viruses take up most of the available resources in the computer. Even if we have 8GB or 16GB of RAM installed on the PC, processes are slowed down. But what are these adware? They are malicious programs that pursue two goals: spying on victims' online behavior and showing advertisements. Can they be deleted from the PC? Of course they can, but you need to follow a specific procedure.
What are Adware
Adware is a particular family of viruses that aims to spy on users' behavior and shower them with advertisements. If every time we open the browser, a pop-up window opens with an advertisement (and the same happens when we access some site), it is very likely that we have been infected by an adware. This type of virus allows hackers to make easy money through advertisements shown to users. And by spying on their habits, it's easier for hackers to show ads that might interest the person.
But how do adwares strike? In most cases they are hidden inside free software and video games. When we install the program, we actually give consent to the adware to take over our PC. If you notice it immediately, your PC will not show any particular signs of slowing down. If not, you need to take action as soon as possible and delete the adware. Here is how to do it.
How to delete adware from your PC
Before you start eliminating the adware you need to disconnect your PC from the Internet. If your computer is connected via Ethernet cable, just disconnect it from the Network card, while if we are connected via Wi-Fi, just disable the feature. If we want to be really sure that we are disconnected from the Network, we turn off the router. Once this step is done, you can delete the adware.
Very often this type of virus is hidden inside free toolbars that promise to add features to your computer. To figure out whether the free toolbar is to blame for the slowdowns, all we need to do is go into the "Task Manager" of the computer and analyze which programs consume the most resources. If you notice strange parameters next to free software, it is most likely the work of adware. And to get rid of them, all you have to do is uninstall the program from the Control Panel. To do that, just type "Control Panel" in the search field at the bottom left and then click on "Uninstall a program". A new window will open with a list of all the programs on your PC: select the ones you think are adware, uninstall them and restart your computer. If we are lucky, it is enough to follow this simple procedure to eliminate the virus, but in most cases this is not the case.
Eliminate adware with an anti-malware program
If, after eliminating free software, your computer still shows signs of slowing down, you need to use "heavy weapons": antivirus and an anti-malware program. With the antivirus you'll have to scan your hard disk to check for adware. In case the scan is positive, you can quarantine the virus and carry out a cleaning of the hard disk. This should solve the problem.
The alternative is to use an anti-malware software. There are some great free ones out there, such as MalwareBytes and AdwCleaner that will give you great results and clean your hard drive completely.
The procedure we have just seen is only for Windows computers. Macs are unlikely to be infected by adware.
How to prevent adware infection
Adware are sneaky viruses and even though they do not affect the operation of your computer, they are quite annoying. Preventing adware infection is quite simple: they usually hide inside free programs. When we have to download free software to the PC, let's make sure that the source is safe. And during the installation, keep your antivirus active: in case it notices something strange, it will notify us.