Hackers are malicious. They prey on your insecurities, fears, and curiosity. It’s what makes ransomware and other forms of malware so effective. PUP’s, or potentially unwanted programs are especially sinister.
Chances are you might have one of these programs on your computer as you read this. If you don’t, an encounter probably isn’t far off.
In this article, we’ll delve into the world of PUPs, explore the potentially unwanted programs list, how they can affect your system, signs to look for if your computer is affected, and most importantly, how to effectively
So let’s get started.
What is a PUP?
A PUP, or a potentially unwanted program, is a malicious software application that often comes bundled or hidden with legitimate programs. PUPs encompass a wide range of software, from browser toolbars and adware to fake antivirus programs and system optimizers.
Since they’re usually paired with a legitimate program, and may even solve a temporary problem, they are downloaded often, and usually without the suspicion that is associated with more blatant malware.
PUPs are most often associated with free software downloads.
Understanding Different Types of PUPs
There are many different types of PUPs. Some are easy to identify and some stay running in the background. Some cause a major impact to daily computer usage, and some live inconspicuously on a browser.
Here are some of the different types of potentially unwanted programs.
1. Browser Toolbars: A browser toolbar PUP primarily aims to modify your browser’s functionality and settings to serve its own purposes.
- Unwanted Search Engines: PUP toolbars might change your default search engine to one that generates revenue for the developers or displays biased search results.
- Displaying Ads: PUP toolbars can inject additional advertisements into web pages or trigger pop-up ads, disrupting your browsing experience and potentially leading to accidental clicks.
- Tracking and Data Collection: Certain PUP toolbars track your online activities, including websites visited, search queries, and clicks, to gather personal data for targeted advertising or other purposes.
- Homepage and New Tab Modifications: PUP toolbars may alter your browser’s homepage or new tab page, redirecting you to sponsored websites or search engines.
2. Adware: Adware PUPs primarily focus on generating revenue for their developers by displaying advertisements. Here are some common functionalities associated with adware PUPs:
- Displaying Ads: Adware PUPs inject advertisements into web pages, often in the form of banners, pop-ups, or interstitial ads. These ads can appear even on websites that don’t typically contain advertising.
- Contextual Ads: Adware PUPs analyze your browsing behavior and display ads based on the websites you visit, search queries, or keywords found in the content.
- Redirects and Sponsored Links: Adware PUPs may modify search results by adding sponsored links or redirecting you to specific websites, potentially earning money through affiliate marketing.
- Browser Pop-ups: Adware PUPs can create persistent pop-up windows that display ads, even when you’re not actively browsing the web.
3. Fake Antivirus Software: Fake antivirus software PUPs aim to exploit concerns about computer security and trick you into installing and purchasing fraudulent products.
- False Security Alerts: Fake antivirus PUPs generate pop-up notifications or system alerts, falsely claiming that your computer is infected with viruses or malware.
- Phony Scans and Results: These PUPs often perform superficial or simulated scans, displaying fabricated scan results that exaggerate or invent threats. They make you believe their system is compromised, creating a sense of urgency.
- Payment Demands: Fake antivirus software PUPs typically prompt users to pay for a full version or a subscription to remove the alleged threats.
- Unauthorized Access or System Modifications: Some fake antivirus PUPs might attempt to gain unauthorized access to your computer or modify system settings.
4. Fake Downloaders: Fake downloaders PUPs are deceptive software applications that claim to provide legitimate file downloads but often deliver malicious or unwanted content instead.
- Malware Distribution: Fake downloaders can install malware, such as viruses, ransomware, or spyware, onto your computer or device without your knowledge or consent.
- Unwanted Software Bundling: Some fake downloaders bundle additional PUPs or adware with the desired download, leading to the installation of unwanted programs that can compromise system performance and user privacy.
- Phishing Attacks: Fake downloaders may redirect users to fraudulent websites or prompt them to enter sensitive information, such as login credentials or credit card details, under the guise of completing the download process.
- Data Theft: Certain fake downloaders can secretly collect and transmit personal information from your device, including browsing habits, login credentials, or financial data, for malicious purposes.
Impact of PUPs
Potentially Unwanted Programs can have various detrimental effects on your computer or device, including:
Reduced Performance: PUPs often consume system resources, leading to sluggish performance and diminished overall efficiency.
Privacy Concerns: Some PUPs track your online activities, collect personal information without consent, and share it with third parties, compromising
Security Risks: PUPs can create security vulnerabilities, leaving your system susceptible to malware infections or unauthorized access.
Potentially Unwanted Program List (2023)
Here is just a small sample of the many potentially unwanted programs in 2023.
- Data Shield for Chrome
- ‘Drive-by Exploit’ Email Scam
- Kryopage Browser Extension
- Painter Extension
- Parental Control BlackList
- PasswordBox Toolbar
- PasswordLogic Toolbar
- PC Accelerate Pro
- Ultra Browser Extension
- Wise System Mechanic
- WiseConvert Toolbar
- Wizard 101
- Word Counter Widget
- Words-surf Ads
- WorkatHomeStar Ads
- World Clock Browser Extension
- WorldofNotes Toolbar
- WorldSport New Tab
- Worldwide Clock Extension
- Woso Hijacker
- WowMovix Ads
- X New Tab Page(Extension)
- X1.c.lencr.org Malware
- Xportsoft Toolbar
How to Remove Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs)
Removing PUPs can be a complicated process, especially if you try to do it alone. Oftentimes, a PUP can inextricably associate itself with a legitimate existing program. Attempting to remove the program on your own can cause data loss, performance issues, or worse.
That’s why one of the best things you can do is use a reputable and reliable Antivirus tool like SUPERAntiSpyware™. SUPERAntiSpyware™ doesn’t just help you remove PUPs, it actively monitors your system so you don’t fall for their tricks. It’s also 100% safe. We use an AI-powered detection engine and database to actively compare against known lists of potentially unwanted programs.
Try out our free edition today.