What is adware and what can I do about it?

There are a few reasons why you might still see ads after installing Adblock Plus. Before checking for adware, we recommend that you try the first five options listed in the I still see ads article, depending on your browser. If you still see ads, your computer might be infected with adware.

What is adware?

"Adware" is a blanket term for software that displays unwanted advertisements and / or other annoyances on your computer.

There are two types of adware:

Non-malicious adware
Non-malicious adware is software that hides on your computer and serves unwanted advertisements when you browse the web. The purpose of non-malicious adware is to generate revenue for its developer. Oftentimes users have no knowledge of installing non-malicious adware because it's typically bundled in software that they've knowingly downloaded.
Malicious adware (malware)
Malware is usually obtained during routine web browsing, oftentimes when a user downloads a file from an unreliable source. The purpose of malware is to infiltrate your computer's operating system in order to collect personal data like passwords, credit card numbers, and pictures. If your computer is riddled with incessant pop-ups and / or windows that you can't close, there's a good possibility that you've obtained malware.

Why doesn't Adblock Plus block ads that contain adware?

Adblock Plus only blocks ads that are delivered from websites and / or their advertising partners.

The best way to stop adware is to remove the software that displays it.

How can I safely remove adware on my computer?

1 Remove unwanted software

We recommend running automated checks for adware with one of the programs listed below, which also allow you to remove any found unwanted software. All of the programs are free (for at least a trial period) with full functionality and safe to install alongside your antivirus solution.

For both Windows and macOS, we recommend Malwarebytes. Other option for Windows include AdwCleaner.

Additional resources for removing unwanted software

2 Reset your browser settings

After removing unwanted software, we recommend that you restore your browser settings to their original state. Follow these guides to do this manually:

How can I prevent my computer from getting infected with adware in the future?

  •   Always use official channels to download your browser:
  •   Install Adblock Plus. Adblock Plus helps block and hide ads that trick you into installing potentially unwanted programs. Get Adblock Plus from https://adblockplus.org/.
  •   Keep your computer's operating system and other software up-to-date.
  •   Don't click inside misleading pop-ups. Many malicious websites try to install malware on your system by making images look like pop-up windows, or by displaying an animation of the website scanning your computer.
  •   Don't install untrusted software. Some websites offer you software to accelerate your browser, to help you search the web, or to add toolbars that do things your browser already does. Some unwanted programs also come bundled in software packages. Usually, these programs gather information on your browsing behavior that serve only the people who designed them. Make sure you only install add-ons, extensions, and plug-ins from your browser’s web store and that you uncheck unwanted programs in software installation wizards.
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