What is adware?
Adware, or advertising-supported software, displays advertisements on your computer in the form of banners and pop-up windows. These ads are a way for software companies to generate revenue. Some adware runs on your machine without your knowledge and consent, while others are intentionally downloaded.
How does adware work?
While adware is more of a pesky nuisance than a harmful threat to your cybersecurity, some adware might collect information about your browsing behavior and sell it to third parties. This information, such as websites visited and time spent on each one, is used to target you with more advertisements customized according to your viewing habits.
A device can be infected with adware via two main avenues. The first is that it is installed alongside other programs. This is most common with freeware and shareware. The second is by visiting an infected website. The adware takes advantage of a vulnerability in the user’s web browser to stealthily install itself. Once infected, the adware can collect more private information, redirect you to malicious websites, and insert more advertisements into your browser.