How To Avoid Getting Junkware On Your Computer

17 April 2015

Junkware is unwanted software which installs with other software which you may genuinely want, also known as crapware, or bloatware.

The different types of software threats affecting IT security include:

1. Browser toolbars – these annoying add-ons appear on your web browsers at the top of the window, cluttering up the screen, slowing down the browser, serving you ads and not being very useful (least dangerous)

2. Ad-Ware – software which runs in the background and modifies the types of ads which appear on the webpages you view, they also cause unexpected popups even when the browser isn’t open or running (more dangerous)

3. Spyware – software which also installs by itself and runs in the background which monitors what you are doing on the computer, internet surfing history, tracking your keystrokes, providing a backdoor into your computer for malicious activities (even more dangerous)

4. Malware – software such as viruses which can damage computer systems and files, extort money from you (Ransomware), provide unauthorized remote access to computer systems (most dangerous)

When talking about junkware we are mainly referring to browser toolbars and ad-ware. Spyware and malware are usually handled well by anti-virus (anti-malware) and firewalls. However not all anti-virus effectively identifies and removes browser toolbars and ad-ware. This results in poor performing computers, slow internet speeds, unwanted popups, targeted advertising, and other unwanted things.

How to prevent installing junkware in the first place:

1. When installing software (particularly from the internet), ensure to ‘opt out’ of any additional software installations. Read each screen very carefully. Don’t just click Next without reading. Even software from reputable companies often tries to install junkware, such as the Java Plugin.

2. When searching for reputable software online, be very careful to click the correct link. Do not click an ad. The ads link to a website which bundles junkware with the real program. Here is an example for searching Adobe Reader in Google and Bing.

3. New consumer-grade computers often come bundled with junkware (because the manufacturer gets payment for including it). Learn how to identify and remove it, or have someone do it for you. This is why we recommend you always purchase commercial grade computers and equipment from reputable resellers only which will not include junkware.

We include a complete security suite for all our Managed IT Customers for no extra charge each month. Our security suite has been independently verified to confirm that it will prevent and remove browser toolbars, ad-ware and other unwanted software effectively – providing our customers maximum protection for no extra cost. If you would like to discuss if our security solutions are right for your business, please contact us below.

Image Credit: © mikkolem - Fotolia.com

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