While to some people adware and PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) aren’t like viruses, they certainly can cause major problems and bring on havoc to the computer. PUP’s have the ability of changing the web browsers homepage settings and search settings as well. It can also redirect websites which you try and visit. They also have the ability of installing PC cleaners and optimizers on your browser along with other toolbars. While a number of antivirus programs are designed to detect and remove many of these viruses and malware; only some offer protection against spyware, adware and PUP’s. the protection however would have to be enabled manually.
In AVG products, the basic spyware and PUP protection has been enabled by default. The protection is designed to detect those programs which pose to be a security risk. While additional security can be manually enabled, it will only catch on to programs which are harmless. The extra protection layer however can protect you from legit programs which could be misused. First, you should confirm that the default protection is active and then opt for additional protection.
Products by AVAST also offer PUP protection however by default, the feature is turned off. While only one setting has been used to classify PUP’s, there is another setting for each of the 3 protection shields which are the Mail Shield, Web Shield and the File System Shield. They refer to PUP’s as programs which may have been downloaded unknowingly and are typically used to gather information about your computer, your internet usage or to advertise. The best advice is to enable protection for all of the 3 fields.
Products by Kaspersky also offer PUP protection however they refer to it as elevated riskware detection which is defined as being a detecting software which can make your PC vulnerable to attacks. Programs such as keyloggers, remote access software are included however those which ask user permission to install do not fall under this category.
ESET is different from the rest of the vendors as this asks during the installation process whether the user would like to enable or disable potentially unwanted applications which are known as PUA’s. this will either enable or disable 2 of the 3 settings related to PUP which includes the detection of potentially unwanted applications which is responsible for detecting programs which may not be malicious but would cause the computer to perform poorly and the second is the detection of potentially suspicious applications which includes the detection of programs which are compressed with packers and exploited by malware authors to avoid being detected. The third setting is the detection of potentially unsafe applications which detects legit commercial softwares which have the potential of being misused for wrongful purposes for example keyloggers, password cracking applications and remote access tools. This setting is turned off by default even if the PUA protection is enabled during the initial installation process. Irrespective of what you select during the initial installation procedure, all settings can be accessed later.
McAfee turns on protection from any unwanted programs and spyware automatically. It would however be still a good idea if you would verify if it is activated or not.
It should be kept in mind that various vendors have various definitions for what they think adware, PUP’s and spyware to be. One might be able to catch something the other wouldn’t be able to. If you still face issues after enabling PUP protection provided by the regular antivirus you make use of, it would be a good for considering an additional anti-malware program which can run along side it. While additional protection can prove to be a good idea, the best way to protect yourself from these threats is to educate yourself on the ways such malware makes use of to invade the computer. Learning how to spot malware before it is installed can be of great help; similarly, you should also be careful of where you browse and the links you click on.