Adware is the least of your worries online, it’s the least malicious ‘ware’ of them all and very rarely has any serious consequences. As the name kind of suggests, it’s software that includes advertisements (ads) or collects marketing-type data from your searches to display ads that are related to what you like/visit on the web.
Adware is often spread via freeware or shareware. Similarly to spyware it can be bundled into freeware or shareware but most of the time this isn’t in a malicious manner. They are usually used as a legitimate way of generating advertising revenues to help fund development and distribution of the free software. Adware has been known to be spread through infectious websites which can result in the installation of it through pop-under adverts or browser vulnerability via extensions and plugins.
A machine infected with malware can be very frustrating to use. Adverts tend to pop up everywhere, from the desktop to your browser and can even make your PC almost impossible to use. This can also lead to installing Trojan horse viruses as some of the advertisements displayed can re-direct to seriously malicious websites. Your device could also perform a lot worse due to adverts generating new windows which sucks processing power and memory out of your machine.
Free adware tools can be very handy as they can provide a very quick solution to your adware nightmare. They work like any other anti-virus, malware or spyware tool – you scan your PC and remove any flagged items, it’s as easy as that. The only downside is that anti-adware software doesn’t prevent adware for creeping into your system, they don’t include real-time scanning and therefore can’t detect when something ‘dodgy’ attempts to install itself. The one way around this is to install a full anti-virus package. This include real-time scanning and often additional features such as a browser protector and spam filtering tools. They also usually include anti-adware, spyware and malware capabilities so instead of having multiple programs, you can have them all in one.
Overall, we’d suggest that if you feel like you’ve got adware on your PC (ads popping up all the time) then download a free adware removal tool to get rid of it but for a long-term solution, get a full package which should prevent future infection.