PUPs (not puppies) — avoiding unwanted PC programs

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Feb 242016

I’ve written about this topic before. In the last few years, I’ve probably seen as much mayhem done on my clients’ PCs by Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) as by computer viruses. In many ways, winding up with PUPs on your PC actually is easier. What can you do? How do you know if you have PUPs?

Malwarebytes Labs Blog recently summarized this topic with an excellent infographic.

… we’ve come up with a PUPs cheat sheet that businesses can use to train IT staff and users. A little PUPs awareness, if you will. Read on to learn more about how you get PUPs, what they do to your computer, and how you can avoid them.

The PUP category includes spyware, adware, bundleware, junkware. Aggressive marketing is used by both legitimate companies and malicious organizations. Here’re some signs that you’ve got PUPs:

  • Your PC slows down
  • Out of the blue annoying ads or promotions pop up
  • Extra toolbars are added to your web browser
  • Unusual requests for private information pop up

The most common way to get PUPs is by not paying close enough attention during installation of programs, especially so-called free programs; and miss pre-checked tiny checkboxes opting you in to extras. Such presumption is like a contract with lots of fine print that you’re pushed to sign without adequate examination. Whose fault is that, eh?

Malwarebytes has done a great job characterizing these “bad behaviors” as advertising infractions, download infractions, and web infractions. The end result is a set of criteria and a database of blacklisted programs used in their Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (MWB) program. Using MWB is an industry best practice.

Read the full article for tips to avoid PUPs.