Updated: 04/30/2020 by Computer Hope
Adware warning shown on a laptop screen.

Alternatively called malware, pitchware, sneakware, or spyware, adware is a program installed without a user's consent or knowledge during the install of another program. Much like spyware, adware tracks individuals Internet activities and habits to help companies advertise more efficiently.

Adware is usually installed on a computer with free programs because the developers are often paid if they include it with their program. Like spyware, adware can be located and removed from a computer using software utilities available on the Internet.

Protecting a computer from adware

A computer can be infected by adware by visiting an infected website, downloading infected software, or installing infected software. Most antivirus programs can clean adware, but it's also a good idea to run an anti-malware or malware cleaner, such as Malwarebytes.

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