The adware program attaches itself to the download that you want to make, and installs itself when you install the program you actually want. It will then begin popping up advertisements at you. Sometimes these advertisements will only appear when you are running the original program you download, sometimes they will pop up randomly while you are performing completely separate tasks, sometimes it will track your movements on the Internet and send you targeted advertising based on your searches. It can even send this tracking data back to its home organization for the marketers and advertisers there to look over.
Because of its controversial nature, adware has come under a lot of scrutiny. As of yet, though, these programs are still around. So you download adware, how do you get rid of it? This is where anti-adware and anti-spyware software come into play.
There are a whole lot of these sort of programs around. Most companies which produce anti-virus software (Norton, Symantec, etc.), will also have anti-adware software available. They know that when you download adware you want to get rid of it just as badly as when you download a virus or a computer worm, although adware software is not as dangerous as these sort of malware programs.
One of the most popular anti-adware programs is Spybot’s Search and Destroy. It not only targets adware but also the closely related spyware which spies on your machine to send reports back to its home base. Most often these spyware utilities will follow your browsing habits and send these back to the company which gave you the spyware in the first place to use in marketing research.
When you do happen to download adware, don’t panic. It is annoying, yes, but most often it is not going to detrimentally effect your computer. (If you are on an older machine it might have a more debilitating effect, as they can sometimes over utilize your resources).
There are lots of free anti-adware programs out there for you to use to get these little buggers off of your computer. It is best to download them even if you don’t have adware on your machine, and keep them up to date: this will let you know as soon as adware is found on your machine and take care of the issue before it becomes a problem.
AVG from Grisoft is a recommended anti-adware and anti-spyware program: it is available completely for free and will not cost you a thing. Avast is another such program. Both of these also service as anti-virus programs as well. If you are looking for a more powerful tool, you will want to go with a commercial product such as something available from Norton or Symantec.
Another thing you can do is be careful about what you download. Don’t just go downloading any freeware program you happen to run across willy nilly. Check to make sure it comes from a reputable site, such as FileHippo.com or Download.com. Also read what other users have to say, they might tell you that the program comes with adware included and thus warn you off before you download it.