70% of Android Malware is Adware: How to Protect

You were browsing your favorite website on your regular browser, and suddenly out of nowhere, a bombarding of ads started on your screen. No matter how many times you close them, they keep on coming. Some of them even redirect you to unknown sites. The ads are in such a huge number that you have to close the browser finally.

adware spyware cyber security

For those of you who are confused about why this sudden rally of advertising sites begin on the browser, it is because an Adware has entered your device. 

In this guide, we would discuss the adware, how they enter your device, and how you can protect your android phone from them.

What is Adware?

Adware is a type of malware that is designed to throw ads on your device screen while you are browsing or sometimes when you are running an app. It is the combination of the words Advertising-supported Software. It usually gets installed into the victim's system unintentionally; therefore, it is often considered as a Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP). It disguises itself as an essential or legit program so that the user gets tricked into installing it on their PC, mobile, or tablet. In Windows systems, it can be in the form of Search Hijacker like Advisurf. It can be in the form of a gaming application or any other useful application in mobile phones and tablets.

How Adware enter my device?

Adware gets into your system mainly using two ways, either by Freeware or by visiting the malicious website.

Freeware you download may carry an additional program as adware in its installer. While installing the freeware, you might ignore that extra program and install it along with the freeware. 

Sometimes freeware or shareware can also silently install the adware without user consent and knowledge.

Another way adware may enter your device is by rogue websites. While browsing a site, you might accidentally download an extension that may install and adware to your browser. It can also happen that a malicious site can take advantage of the vulnerability of the web browser and drop a drive-by-download that contain adware. 

What is the purpose of Adware?

The primary purpose of the adware is to generate revenues for its developer by displaying unnecessary ads to the user. However, it can also be used for other dubious tasks, like collecting the user's browsing data - search history, keyloggers, saved password, IP address, and more. These data can be further used for extortion purposes.

Mobile Adware

Since mobile carries the maximum user base as compared to other devices, they are most likely to get attacked by adware. In fact, according to Avast, more than 70% of mobile malware is due to adware. Mobiles also get contaminated with adware through similar methods as laptops or PCs, either by infected websites or by malicious applications. If you are experiencing one or more of the following, then your mobile has been equipped with adware.

  • While browsing the internet, you are being redirected to unknown, irrelevant sites.
  • You see ads even on apps that are not supposed to show ads.
  • The web browser gets slow and crashes repeatedly.
  • You see applications that you do not remember installing on your phone.
  • The phone's battery drains faster than normal.
  • There is unusual data usage.

Adware can be annoying and can diminish your workflow, but it is not much of a threat as compared to other malware types like ransomware. In the next section, we would see how to protect Android phones from adware.

How to protect Android Phone from Adware?

It is better to prevent adware from entering your android phone rather than looking for a cure afterward. Follow these practices, and your phone would be protected.

  • While browsing the internet, always be attentive, and when you visit unknown sites. Avoid visiting insecure websites.
  • Think and analyze multiple times when downloading freeware from unknown sources. Freeware is the most common carrier of adware programs.
  • Avoid torrent sites and free download sites.
  • Get your mobile a reputed security solution that can safeguard it from every threat. A security program would ensure that no malicious app or extension would enter your android device.
  • Make sure that applications on your phone are updated.
  • Never use unprotected public WiFi. If there is an urgency, then always keep VPN on while connecting to public WiFi.
  • Install the applications only from trusted sources like Google Play Store. To take care of that uncheck the "Unknown sources" option found under Settings -> Security -> Device Administration. 

These safety practices would not only save your android phone from Adware, but also from other threatening malware.

How to remove Adware from Android?

If your Android device gets infected with an Adware, then there is no need to panic, you can get rid of it easily and quickly.

- First of all, perform a full system scan on your device with a robust antimalware.

- Restart your device in Safe Mode. Only system app would be active.

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- Look for the suspicious applications that you recently installed and remove them one by one.

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- Reset your web browser settings

After this, restart your phone and check whether ads are gone or not. If not, then adware has most probably damaged your system files. In that case, the only option is to factory reset the device.

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