Adware Awareness – Advice From Our Service Desk

Technical support staff

Advice from our Service Desk About Adware

According to our Service Desk technicians, there seems to be a rise in adware among our clients. Whether users are being targeted more frequently, or users are not practicing “safe surfing”, the result is a loss of productivity. So this article will focus on some of the causes, and how to avoid getting bitten in the first place.

Downloading Software

While there is an abundance of software programs that can make us more efficient, professional and effective, there are landmines out there… particularly with free software downloads. We’ve seen some clients with 3 or more toolbars on their internet browser, and they are not sure where they came from.

  1. Be sure that you have a professional grade anti-virus program installed and running.
  2. As you maneuver download pages, carefully watch where you click. Sometimes the page will include more than one “Download” button in an effort to get you to download additional packages.
  3. When you download a program, be sure to select “Save” rather than “Open” or “Run”. This allows your virus scanner the chance to perform a scan prior to executing the program.
  4. Avoid the temptation of just clicking through the prompts in order to save time. Sometimes you can avoid a lot of frustration by taking the time to read before you click.
  5. Some software programs, by default, include additional programs. These programs can be from the same software company, or another company that pays them to help propagate their software. As you are installing a program, carefully watch for checkboxes that need to be unchecked to avoid unwanted programs.

Signs of Adware

By design, adware is not always obvious to the user. As adware creeps in over time, the change is not dramatic. But over time, the change can eat up your time and efficiency. Watch for the following when surfing the internet:

  1. There are more pop-ups than usual, or pop-ups are difficult to close.
  2. Search results in your browser do not look normal; sometimes you are being redirected to an unintended site.
  3. When you open a new browser window, it opens to a site that you did not select.
  4. Your “Home” button on your browser takes you to a new, unfamiliar search engine.
  5. You notice a new toolbar at the top of your browser that you did not select.
  6. Bookmarks appear that you did not create.
  7. It seems that pages load more slowly and you wonder if your internet speed has decreased. This can be due to high traffic usage on your network or the site itself.
  8. Familiar webpages begin to look unusual.

If you believe that you are victim to adware, call our Service Desk at (501)542-4241. We can identify the problem, and get you back to screaming speed in no time.