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What is an Online Adware Scan?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 July 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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An online adware scan is a tool that is used to determine if there is currently any type of adware housed on a computer hard drive. Rather than requiring users to install software from some sort of disk, the online product is accessed via a web site. The software connects with the computer via the Internet, scans the hard drive, and alerts the user to the presence of adware and sometimes other types of privacy-invasive software that may have been picked up at different web sites. Many manufacturers of anti-adware software offer a free scan in advance, allowing potential customers to see the value of purchasing their products, which typically allow users to remove the offending adware from infected hard drives.

In many cases, users pick up advertising-supported software as they browse different sites online. In many instances, the adware is relatively harmless. The software notes the browsing habits of the user and reports that information back to the originator of the product. The data can then be used to create automatic advertising that may take the form of pop-up ads that are displayed as soon as the user visits a given web page, or even the creation of spam that is sent to the user’s email account. At times, the adware may be a component in what is known as malicious software or malware, and has the ability to do more than simply monitor browsing habits.

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It is for this reason that makers of anti-adware software often offer a free online adware scan. Many systems are infected without users ever knowing. The adware runs in the background and usually does not use enough resources to alert the user that the unauthorized software is transmitting data. By using the online adware scan to detect adware running somewhere on the hard drive, it is possible to take steps to remove the offending files downloaded without permission, and protect the user’s privacy.

While many legitimate manufacturers of anti-adware programs offer a free online adware scan as a means of showing potential customers what the software can do in terms of identifying and removing unauthorized adware, scam artists have also sometimes used a similar approach. The scams essentially involve hijacking the system and generating a false report that claims the system is infected with different types of not only adware but often malware as well. A scam product promises to remove all those infections, but often actually downloads a few adware components during the so-called cleaning process, allowing the scammers to begin monitoring the user’s movements and generate spam emails and pop-up ads of their own. For this reason, never accept the offer of an online adware scan before confirming that the anti-adware program is recognized as legitimate and is highly likely to produce the desired results.

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