Adware Infections: Signs, Removal, And 9 Prevention Tips

by | September 4, 2021 | Cybersecurity, How to

Adware infections have a set of unmistakable symptoms, which we will walk you through in this article. So keep reading to learn how to spot, remove, and prevent adware infections.

Signs Of Adware Infections

Keep an eye out for the following symptoms if you suspect you may have been infected with unwanted adware:

Computer adware infection signs

Mobile adware infection signs

  • Device crashing
  • An unexpected change in your web browser home page
  • Redirected internet searches
  • Web pages that you visit not displaying correctly
  • Being overwhelmed with pop-up ads — sometimes even if not browsing the internet
  • Slow device performance
  • Reduced internet speeds
  • Random appearance of a new toolbar or browser add-on
  • Your phone is slow
  • Your phone has apps you don’t remember downloading
  • Apps take longer to load
  • Your battery drains quickly
  • There is unexplained data usage and higher than expected phone bills
  • There are numerous ad pop-ups

Adware Removal

Some adware is really aggressive, embedding itself deep into systems with rootkits to make removal very tricky. If you’ve been infected, you’ll need to follow some steps in order to rid your system of unwanted applications.

You’ll need to detect and take action on each of the issues below:

  • Adware: Legitimate ad-supported software can be ok to keep — as long as it runs with your consent. Adware or third-party software becomes PUA when it was either installed without your knowledge or does things you wouldn’t want it to do.
  • Adware PUA: Adware and sponsored third-party software can be obnoxious at best and a gateway for actual malware at worst. Either way, you’ll likely want to remove these.
  • Malware infections: Malicious programs may have already infiltrated your system. You’ll need to remove these to stop the immediate threats to your privacy.

Removing adware from your device will fix problems like annoying pop-ups and hidden spyware.

However, manual removal doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to locate all the components. Instead, choose a reliable cybersecurity solution to ensure no trace of the adware will stick to your device to haunt you.

Adware infections can be tricky to remove manually.

Removing Android Adware Infections

Removing iOS Adware Infections

  • Step 1: Start your phone in Safe Mode
  • Step 2: Remove malicious device admin apps
  • Step 3: Uninstall the malicious apps from your Android phone
  • Step 4: Use antivirus software for Android to remove viruses, adware, and other malware
  • Step 5: Remove redirects and pop-up ads from your browser
  • Step 1: On your iPhone or iPad, open Chrome
  • Step 2: Tap the three dots, then the Settings icon
  • Step 3: Tap Content Settings > Block pop-ups
  • Step 4: Turn Block pop-ups off

While cleaning out adware infections is a great start for improving your cybersecurity, it is critical to learn to prevent them from happening in the first place.

9 Useful Tips On How To Prevent Adware Infections

1. Keep all your software up-to-date

The latest updates for your apps, operating system and other software have security fixes in them.

This is because developers constantly discover new vulnerabilities and patch them to keep your software protected from threats.

2. Don’t let curiosity get the best of you

Always apply the zero-trust principle whenever you are faced with something unusual or unknown on the Internet.

Treat everything as a potential risk. Question everything, from USB charging stations to messages from your friends on social media, for it can be a source of infection with malware and adware.

Free stuff is always more exciting, and we get it. But, obvious risks aside, pirating media and software makes you a perfect target for cybercriminals who seek to take advantage of people’s desire for free products. In addition, these services may encourage adware installs or carry infected downloads.

4. Pay close attention to details

Always keep an eye out for red flags in program installations and links in emails. Then, be cautious when opening or accepting something.

Cybercriminals resort to mimicking trusted URLs, email addresses, and social media profiles to make you fall for their scams. You won’t miss these details if you pay enough attention.

5. Read all terms and conditions and checkbox agreements when installing a program/app

Don’t just blindly click ‘next’ during software installation. A lot of sponsored third-party software is opt-out, meaning you’ll have the option to uncheck a box to avoid installing any PUA.

6. Only download software from reputable websites

Try to download only from sources you trust, brands you recognize, for instance. Make sure that they have a trustworthy history as well.

While no source is entirely free of malicious apps, stick to official ones, like Google Play and App Store, for they are more likely to keep you safe.

7. Look before you click

Some adware infections happen because they rely on social engineering techniques to exploit unintended clicks, from fake close buttons to conveniently placed confirm buttons and sudden pop-ups.

8. Keep an eye on your bank account

Unexpected subscription charges can be a sign that you’ve become a victim of adware.

9. Check the reviews

Just like you do when looking for accommodation for your next vacation, read the reviews when you want to install a certain app or computer program.

You should be able to find reviews for everything from browser extensions to software somewhere online. Pay close attention to the negatives.

Keep your company safe in the vast world of the Internet by educating your employees on online dangers and the best practices to prevent them.

Choose ATTACK Simulator’s Security Awareness Training program today to ensure a safe tomorrow for your business.


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Feature Image: Sale vector created by macrovector –

by Diana Panduru

Content writer for Attack Simulator. Passionate about all things writing and cybersecurity, and obsessed with driving. I sometimes indulge in pencil drawing, poetry, and cooking for fun.

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