Pop-up Ads - Windows, Macintosh, and Linux
Links on this page: What are pop-up ads? | What is ad-ware/spyware? | How do I block or remove pop-up ads/spyware? |
What are pop-up ads?
Many websites and free programs support themselves by selling advertising. This advertising often is in the form of a pop-up ads or pop-ups. Pop-ups annoy most, if not all, Internet users. You can usually click out of a single ad or two; however, pop-up ads can, at times, flood your computer. Closing one ad generates another and then another. Pop-ups can even appear when the browser is not open or when the user is not connected to the Internet. These are often generated by what is commonly referred to as spyware.
What is ad-ware/spyware?
Spyware is software that tracks a person's Internet usage reporting information back to the company that made the software. It will sometimes generate pop-up advertising, or do other annoying things like change a person's homepage to some new page resisting the users' attempts to change it back. Spyware ranges from mildly annoying to extremely malicious. Malicious spyware can track not only browsing habits but personal information as well i.e., credit card numbers, passwords, bank account numbers, etc. Some spyware can hijack your computer dialing a long-distance, possibly an international phone number charging users exorbitant fees.
How does spyware get on your machine? Sometimes people install a program thinking it will do something they want or need, yet they are unaware of what it is doing in the background. The spyware can also come with another program that you install. Perhaps a checkbox went unnoticed for Would you like to install (some spyware program) also? Some websites might pop up a box asking you to install something (cleverly worded, of course) and you don't realize what it's doing. You'll need to remove these spyware programs.
How do I block it and/or remove it?
If a person simply doesn't want to see pop-ups, many browsers include pop-up blocking capability as a standard feature preventing the ads from well... popping up. These browsers include, but are not limited to:
Windows: Macintosh: Linux: Avant Browser Safari (For OS X) Mozilla Browser Mozilla Browser Mozilla Browser Mozilla Firefox (Firebird) Mozilla Firefox (Firebird) Mozilla Firefox (Firebird) Netscape Navigator Netscape Navigator Netscape Navigator Opera 6 & 7 Opera 6 & 7 Opera 6 Galeon SlimBrowser Camino
Note: Unfortunately Internet Explorer does not have an easy-to-use pop-up blocking feature.
You should check if your current browser offers pop-up blocking capability. If it doesn't, you can always download a browser that does. A couple of the popular search engines offer a toolbar that can be added to the Internet Explorer browser that have pop-up blocking capability. Below are links to the most common toolbars:
The Google Toolbar
The Yahoo Toolbar
The Dogpile Toolbar
The Vivisimo Toolbar
Important: One thing to be aware of when using pop-up blockers, though, is that there are good pop-ups too. For example, when you try to compose a new e-mail message using Web-based e-mail, a new window pops up. A pop-up blocker, however, would prevent this. You'll want to use a pop-up blocker that you can turn off and on easily.
Having pop-up blocking capability doesn't mean you don't have or won't get spyware. You may want to install a spyware removal program.
Spyware removal programs find and remove known spyware and can even prevent spyware from being downloaded. Because only known spyware is removed, you need to update the definitions periodically just like you would an anti-virus program.
Some of these programs are free and others cost money. Yet even the purchased versions often include a free demo to evaluate the software for some time period. A couple of the most reputable and reliable free anti-spyware programs are:
SpyBot-Search & Destroy
Important: We do not support these products and take no liability for your use of them, but you may find them extremely helpful. You can also search for spyware removal programs with your favorite search engine, or check websites such as www.download.com or www.tucows.com to see what spyware removal or pop-up blocking software they have available.
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