Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs)

The term Potentially Unwanted Programs or PUPs refers to software programs that contain possibly malicious adware or cause other unspecified objectives like installation of toolbars or nefarious programs.

The title was given to this type of software to distinguish it from malicious software (malware) because PUPs are voluntarily downloaded by computer users who don’t read and/or fully understand the true terms and conditions of download agreements that may include installation of other programs whether wanted or not.

Usually PUPS are adwares on websites you frequent which appear as coupons, underlined words, advertising banners or annoying pop-up ads. These ads are nefariously aimed at getting users to click on them after which malicious content is installed onto electronic devices that can include optimization tools, web browser toolbars and other unsafe cyber products.

These crafty PUPs do nothing but generate “pay-per-click” income for the PUPs’ creator from unsuspecting personal computer and hand-held electronic device operators who unknowingly download malicious programs onto their electronics. Most PUPS get into electronic systems via bundled installations of “freeware” software, PDF creators, download managers and video streaming or recording.

A lot of PUPs are bundled within customized installer tools on download websites like Brothersoft, Softonic and CNET that enable computer users to download various computer software programs.

Some signs of the presence of PUPs on electronic devices are completely stealth while others are blatantly obvious. For example if your electronic device is infected with Ransomware, you will know immediately because a pop-up window will appear on the computer screen demanding a specified amount of money in order to restore your stolen and encrypted data. Other symptoms are not as obvious and include the following common indications that PUPs may have infiltrated computers and other electronic devices:

Injection of advertising banners within website pages you visit.

Website text is randomly turned into hyperlinks, which are links to another location, document or file that are typically activated by clicking on a word or image that is highlighted on the computer screen.

Slow running computer (not caused by running too many programs or lack of hard drive or memory space).

Slow internet connection.

Frozen or unresponsive browser.

Cursor drags 10 seconds behind the mouse.

Different home page continually appears.

New toolbars appear that you can’t remove.

Pop-ups that recommend fake software or software updates.

Bombardment with pop-up ads; close one and another appears even when you’re not online.

Browser redirects repeatedly redirect users from the website they’re trying to access to a different one.

Lots of bounced back email (indicative of having been hacked).

Unfamiliar icons appear on desktop.

Constant computer crashing.

Cell phones and other electronic devices are not immune and are vulnerable to mobile malware, the symptoms of which may include short battery life (drains quickly) or cell phone bills that include charges for things you didn’t buy or messages you didn’t send.

Botnets and other types of malware are nearly impossible to detect unless you run a cyber security scan. Computer users can protect electronic devices from land and mobile cyber threats by using anti-malware security software designed specifically for personal computers, smartphones and/or tablets and other devices. Safeguards exist specifically designed to keep Android devices from infected applications, unauthorized surveillance and nefarious malware.

Inasmuch as Intel uncovers 245 new cyber threats per minute, it has never been more important to utilize up-to-date cyber security software to protect electronic devices from malicious infections that can turn one’s life upside down or completely halt business operations.

If you think you’ve been the victim of PUPs or other malicious computer infections, contact the professionals at Eyes Everywhere today to begin the process of locating, identifying and eradicating PUPs and other malware applications from your electronic devices.