What Is Adware? (And How to Get Rid of It)

On the face of it, adware doesn’t seem overly concerning. Sure, ads are annoying, but how harmful are they really? Well, in addition to being annoying, the ads that are displayed are often malicious. They are very likely to either be advertisements for fake/scam websites or to function as a way for other, more dangerous forms of malware to make their way onto your device.

Keep on reading to learn how to tell if your device is infected with adware and how you can remove it!

How to spot the signs of adware

Adware can affect your devices in several ways. Here are some of the telltale signs that you’ve got an adware infection:

1. You see lots of pop-ups. This is the classic sign that your device has got an adware problem. You’ll most likely be unable to put a stop to the endless bombardments of ads — you close one, just for another five to appear!

2. Your homepage has changed. This is another staple in the repertoire of almost every piece of adware. Normally it will change into, as you might be able to guess, a homepage full of ads…

3. Your device is running slower than normal. Displaying all those ads uses up a lot of resources so it’s no wonder that your device is less responsive than usual.

4. Your device is using up lots of data. If you’re using your device with mobile data and it’s infected with adware, you’ll most likely notice that you’re eating into your data allowance much more quickly than normal. This is because loading ads — just like pictures, videos, and other online content — uses up data.

How to remove adware

If you’ve got an adware infection on your device, here are some general steps you can follow to resolve the issue:

1. Disconnect your device from the internet. This can be done by either disabling Wi-Fi on your device, disconnecting the Ethernet cable (if your device is connected via one), or unplugging your modem.

2. Boot in Safe mode. Safe mode only allows your device to use only the most essential apps. The instructions for how to boot in Safe mode will differ depending on your device, however.

3. Remove any suspicious apps. Noticed an unusual app that you don’t remember installing? It is likely to be related to the adware infection, so you should strongly consider removing it. By only allowing downloads from verified sources such as the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, you limit your chances of inadvertently downloading adware in the future.

4. Run a malware scan. Running a scan using a quality antivirus app is your best bet at removing the adware (and any other malware that may be infecting your device).

5. Still no luck? Restore your device to default settings. If you haven’t had any joy with the previous steps, you may have to perform a full system restore. This will remove the malware from your device, but it will also remove all your saved data (pictures, videos, etc.), so be sure to back up your device beforehand!

An annoying issue that needs to be fixed

Adware is the least harmful form of malware, but as we mentioned, it can easily become a gateway for other varieties of malware to make their way onto your device. We hope that by remembering the advice laid out in this post, if you ever suffer an adware infection, you can nip it in the bud before it turns into something much worse.