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Is your computer still booting even after you’ve finished your second cup of coffee? Does it take a full minute to download a picture, which makes you suspect that your Internet connection is broken? Are there lots of useless icons cluttering up your desktop?

You might think that your computer is too old and you should buy a new one. But are you sure about that? Is your browser overwhelmed with various toolbars that you don’t even need? Or do you even recognise these strange toolbars?

Because of the booming of Internet industry, many developers are looking for a cash cow. This is how many software programs are born. After all, who doesn’t want to be like Google and turn a massive user base into millions upon millions of dollars? But how can you “conquer” as many users as possible with your products? For those looking to make a quick buck, they need a fast way to get users. Therefore, software “promoters” were born.

Promoters are there when you refresh Facebook, open a video site, access BitTorrent or software download sites, or use a search engine. Anywhere you go, they are lurking. They can disguise themselves as HD video plug-in updates, official Flash Player downloads, or even picture viewers. They only have one goal: to lure as many users as possible into downloading the promoter.

These promoters push out any software whose developers pay them, like homepage modification viruses, fraudulent billing software, and even Bitcoin mining programs. Because they’re cloud-based, it’s very difficult to track them.

Therefore, in most cases, a computer doesn’t get slow because it’s old, but because it is infected with adware and the useless software that’s been installed by promoters. These parasites sap your computer’s memory and reduce its speed; some even trick you into paying high registration fees.

Among all viruses, the top ten in quantity are all malicious adware. The most notorious one, BrowserFox, was intercepted over 500 million times in just one month, and more than 47 million users were infected within a month. Another browser plug-in called “Wajam”, tampered with your browser to embed unwanted content on Google and other popular search engines.

The “promotion” method is also variable. Some promoters tamper with your homepage, some hijack browser tools to modify search results rankings, and some create pop-up ads in online shopping sites. All of these methods are used to promote useless software. With each successful promotion (getting a user to click), the people behind the adware will get a great commission. That’s why malicious adware has developed so rapidly, overtaking Trojans and worms as the primary threat to users.

Most people think they can avoid attack by malicious adware, but in fact it’s very hard to prevent! The release of Windows 10 attracted a great deal of attention, and “Windows 10 download” and other such terms quickly became hot search keywords. But let’s take a closer look.

If you accidentally clicks the second link and click “download”, you may think that you are downloading Windows 10. But in fact, a malicious adware has already snick in, and you will be constantly harassed by pop-ups. Some adware can even hide in your computer and steal private information, causing even more problems.

So you should understand why your computer might be running so slow. And for people whose computers are already infected with adware programs, I recommend installing Malwarebytes or any similar software to help get rid of these viruses.

Dawood Khan
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of 'Hack Hex,' Information Security professional, developer, whitehat hacker and an amateur guitarist.

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