Beware of Adware

Adware was detected over 31.5 million times on consumer devices in 2021


19 May 2022

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All of the above are examples of something called adware. They look like pop-ups when you’re browsing online, and while some adware claims may seem ridiculous, many can seem plausible (for example, asking you to install an update).

Adware is a software that throws advertisement on your screen via your web browser, it is not in itself malicious, however, bad actors can sometimes exploit it by embedding malware into it, i.e. the so called ‘malvertising’, in which case if you click on the link or download the attachment, it could infect your device and hijack your web browser (think Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge).

According to Malwarebytes’ State of Malware report last year, adware was detected over 31.5 million times on consumer devices in 2021. Adware can impact all types of operating systems, from Windows devices to iOS/macOS.

So how does adware impact you?

It can modify your device’s settings or your web browser’s settings, delete short cuts, change your search engine, or alter your home page.


No matter how many times you click close, pop-ups keep appearing and cluttering your screen!

Adware can happen on a laptop, a tablet, or a phone. Typically, a bad actor will track your behaviour online using adware and then sell your browsing data to third parties without your consent. Not only does adware become a nuisance when trying to access your data – it’s an invasion of your privacy.


How can I protect myself from adware? Prevention is key!

  • Install an adblocker on your web browser where this isn’t prohibited by the terms of service. Two free options are uBlock Origin and MalwareBytes Browser Guard
  • Disable pop-ups. Most web browsers will have pop-ups disabled by default, but double check in your web browser’s settings
  • Don’t install freeware until you’ve researched the application thoroughly and the provider is trustworthy. If you’re in doubt, contact to double check. One of the most common ways adware can enter your device is through freeware, without your knowledge
  • Don’t visit vulnerable websites. If your browser or your Anti-virus warns you the next page might be unsafe, heed the warning and don’t proceed
  • Save copies of your important data to the cloud. It’s best practice to save copies of all important data to LSE OneDrive/SharePoint/Teams. You can also save copies to an encrypted external hard drive. Any data only saved on your device’s hard drive/SSD might not be recoverable

What if my device has been infected with adware?

  • Contact DTS in the first instance at 
  • Run an anti-virus scan with an adware and PUPs removal program – including but not limited to Windows Defender, MalwareBytes, Sophos, or CleanMyMac. Adware can “hide”, so it’s a good idea to run full scans using several different anti-virus software, to have a better chance of quarantining and removing adware
  • If you didn’t already have an anti-virus software installed on your device, try installing anti-virus software on another laptop and then copy the AV software to your device via a USB stick
  • Check your browser’s extensions and delete any extensions you do not recognize. If you’re having trouble, try launching your device in safe mode and then disable all browser extensions
  • Uninstall any applications you do not recognize or use
  • After completing the above steps, you can change your device password/passcode as an extra precaution