Table of Contents

    Can Antivirus Remove Adware?

    Adware is one type of malware that’s easily recognizable, as most users know what it is as soon as they see it. Let’s face it, it isn’t that difficult to notice unwanted pop-ups taking over your screen. 

    Some of these ads are outright annoying and intrusive at least, and more worryingly, they can slow down your computer. 

    Keep reading to learn more about them and how you can prevent them from getting to your screen in the first place.

    What Is Adware?

    Adware is an abbreviation for “advertising malware”. It is used to force unwanted ads that are intrusive and potentially dangerous onto your computer. 

    This undesirable program attempts to put ads in front of as many people as possible, usually popping up in a web browser. 

    Some security experts see this as being one of the most prevalent PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs). 

    Typically, it uses an underhanded approach to cover itself up as legitimate or to trick you to install it on your PC, laptop, or mobile device.

     The worst part of the problem is that this PUP collects your personal information by tracking or saving the web pages you visit or by recording your keystrokes. 

    The goal of these programs is used to produce income for its creator, who earns money every time you click an advertisement you see. It can also be used to sell your browsing history to third parties. 

    How Does It Work?

    This PUP usually enters your system when you browse the internet. Programmers build software that operates quite similarly to a Trojan or a virus. Here’s how it works:

    • You can get this nuisance onto your device by downloading a program - usually shareware or freeware.
    • Once the program is downloaded, it installs itself without your consent. This is because it’s part of the program you downloaded.
    • Another way of getting this PUP onto your system is through drive-by download. For instance, if you visit a website that’s infected, it’ll take advantage of any vulnerability in your browser’s settings to deliver the download without you knowing about it.
    • Once the PUP is on your system, it starts changing your browser settings and homepage preferences as well as collecting information, creating unwanted advertisements, and even tracking your online activity.

    Mobile Adware

    As there’s not much space on a mobile screen, it’s rather easy to spot these unwanted ads. Given most apps come with ads, it’s no surprise if you see it on your mobile device.

    There are two distinct ways these unwanted guests make their way onto your mobile screen:

    • A browser infection refers to a documented vulnerability, which is triggered by most browsers handling JavaScript code redirections. This can trigger advertising pop-ups, and ad affiliates know exactly how to manipulate it. If your mobile browser is infected, then a new browser is your best way to block pop ups. Alternatively, you can install a new browser that supports ad-blocker, or disable the JavaScript permanently.
    • Your phone can also get infected by unverified app downloads. These are available in various formats, from indoor and outdoor full-screen advertising to app alerts on the lock screen. Hence, it’s safer to avoid apps that aren’t verified by Google, Apple, or Windows.

    How You Can Protect Yourself?

    Not every PUP is extremely dangerous. Yet, the trouble begins when your security settings are compromised, allowing a PUP to monitor your online activity and push ads. 

    This can be further exploited by hackers, which can, in turn, lead to severe consequences.

    Here are some preventive measures worth exploring:

    • A firewall is the fastest way to block these ads when browsing the web. 
    • You can use an advanced antivirus that offers features like an ad blocker, advanced firewall, VPN, and other similar add-ons. These suites also come with scanners and an adware removal tool that can get rid of this program.
    • You must make sure to update your device’s OS and other security patches as they’re released.

    Bottom Line

    The best way to prevent this type of intrusion is by staying alert and using adblocker tools alongside the default security settings provided by your device’s OS.

    Be sure to browse the internet cautiously and tweak your browser settings for the best security. 

    In addition, you should run frequent scans to trace any anomalies. With regards to our original question about whether antivirus software can remove adware - the answer is yes - but you should remember that a solid defense combines several best practices that all work together to deliver airtight security. 

    If you have a powerful security suite installed that has anti-adware included and apply safe practices while surfing the internet, you’ll have an excellent chance of keeping annoying unwanted pop-up ads out of eyeshot.