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Adware: Understanding Their Behavior and Operation

Adware is unwanted software designed to throw advertisements on your screen. Watch Skylar Simmons explain more.
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In the section we’re going to talk about adware, the uncloseable ad trap. This is something that I think everyone’s come across. It’s definitely a lot less common nowadays than it used to be. And as long as you practise good internet behaviour, you don’t download things from places that you shouldn’t or you don’t download things from untrustworthy sources, you should be OK. So in this first video we’re just going to talk about some of the behaviours and operations of adware. So what is adware? Adware is unwanted software designed to throw advertisements up on your screen, most common within a web browser. Even if you close the ad, it keeps popping up.
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It is not always harmful, and it’s often more of a nuisance. And while this is kind of true, it’s going to depend on how you want to define harmful. It can burn system resources, it can be costly. It’s not as harmful as say, a remote access tool like we just talked about, but it’s still not necessarily something you want on your machine. And it’s useful to help generate money for the creators because it’s ad revenue.
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Companies can hire out these malware writers to put their ads in place for them, or a lot of times what probably happens is you get an ad pop-up from a piece of adware for something, and then when you click on it, it actually installs a more malicious type of malware. So that’s another reason why this can be harmful. It’s kind of a gateway malware, if you will. On the right there there’s a picture of what this would look like. That’s kind of an extreme, but I’m sure that we’ve all seen this.
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And a good example, a good way to know that you’ve been infected, is maybe you open up your internet browser, whatever that is, and it doesn’t look like it normally does. Google has a very specific way that it always looks. If that looks different, then there is a chance that you’ve been infected with some sort of adware. So what we’re going to talk about for a kind of case study here is a piece of adware called Fireball. Fireball was interesting. It came out a little while ago. And we’ll get into that in the next video.

In this video, you will learn more about Adware. Adware is unwanted software designed to throw advertisements on your screen.

Although, in most cases, it is more annoying than harmful, the real issue is that it does generate money for its creators by directing online traffic away from legitimate advertisers. Adware is often a “gateway malware” for other, more serious threats.

Over to you: What do you understand under the term “gateway malware”? Share your thoughts below.

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Cyber Security Foundations: Common Malware Attacks and Defense Strategies

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