Malware Removal & Advanced PC Protection

What is PUP?

PUP (potentially unwanted program) is a non-malicious program that is generally unwanted and removed by the majority of computer users. Purpose of a potentially unwanted program is often misrepresented. It alters user’s experience in an unwelcome way and might present additional risk to user’s security and privacy.

Common Samples of PUP

Most common types of PUP include commercial browser hijackers and adware, or programs that display ads, coupons, deals, and other pop-up messages related to advertising and sales promotion. Browser hijackers that come with a PUP adware redirect default or preferred search engine, user’s homepage, and browser’s new tab to a different web address.

Sample of pup with pop-up coupons

Web page, where PUP redirects user’s web search, resembles pages of normal search engines. Indeed, displayed search results come out of feeds from Google, Bing, or Yahoo. However, organic search results are altered and stuffed with promoted links. Some of promoted web sources are used for advertising that is irrelevant to your search terms. Potentially unwanted program might offer web browser toolbar with some buttons and links to popular websites and functions that might attract people. However, this deceptive search engine increases effort and time spend for finding good and informative web sources. It wastes web traffic, and might cause problems related to your privacy.

Sample of redirected search caused by browser hijacker

Other group of PUP consists of legitimate spyware usually designed for employer and parental control but often secretly installed and used for different, less legitimate purpose. This article concerns of PUP that are deceptively installed with other programs coming from the Internet.

Important: Potentially unwanted programs (PUP) are often deceptively installed with free downloads that deliver software, updates, or media. However, free trial versions of some commercial products might also come bundled with potentially unwanted programs designed for advertising and promotion. Anti-virus software usually do not block legitimate programs and do not display a warning before such PUP become infamous.

Protection against Deceptively Installed PUP

If you have only anti-virus protection installed, than you need to take a responsibility for protecting your computer against potentially unwanted programs that might bring you problems and frustration.

All legitimate software, including PUP, comes with some sort of messages that inform you of the installation. Though, distributors of potentially unwanted programs, who get some benefits and income from the PUP being installed, often use deceptive ways that would successfully trick users. Most of users do not want to waste time while installing free programs and updates. They skip reading EULAand click on “Install” button without taking a close look to different options present in setup wizards and download clients used for the installation.

How Can You Detect and Stop PUP?

Except for spyware, detection of PUP is not a problem since it will stuff your web browser with ads or redirect your web search to a rogue search engine with a strange name. However, it is always better to detect PUP before its visual symptoms will start to annoy you. It is not difficult if you are careful while installing free programs and updates. Just pay attention to any piece of information placed in a program setup wizard or a download client that come with a free program or with another update.

The signal of PUP presence might be visible like check marks set in check boxes. These check boxes are placed near the announcements about optional programs ready to be automatically installed unless you remove these check marks. Buttons that says “Accept” and “Reject” might belong to potentially unwanted program offered as optional installation. Always try to find out what these buttons are placed for before clicking “Accept” and “Install” or “Next” in a setup wizard.
Placing PUP in the list of components set for installation is a more tricky way. Such components are hidden behind a button for a “custom” installation option. When you install normal software, you know that “typical” means advised by the software developer, and “custom” is just for advanced users who already know this software well. This common rule doesn’t apply to free downloads bundled with promoted adware. Here, “typical” or “recommended” option might advice you to install a PUP that will bring some income to the developer and some trouble to you. It is always better to click on “custom” or “advanced” button and take a look at the list of components set for installation. EULA also might contain information about a PUP bundled with a program you got. Privacy Policy in EULA, that mention user’s risks might relate to potentially unwanted program included in a bundle.

Anti-Malware Means “Anti-PUP” Protection

It is a good idea to use anti-malware software in addition to your antivirus. This type of security software is designed to protect you against malicious and unwanted programs known as PUP. Of the recently tested anti-malware products, I would prefer SpyHunter that demonstrates reliable malware detection rate and offers free scanner that helps to manually remove malware. I can rely on real-time protection offered with SpyHunter 4 Malware Security Suite. There are thousands of malicious programs that this security software can detect and remove. Malicious programs are more dangerous than PUP, and SpyHunter helps to protect your computer against both malware and PUP.

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