PUP – What is it and why shoud you care?

Jan 25, 2016360TS

A potentially unwanted program (PUP) is, namely, a program that is not desired. Users may be tricked into its download no matter it is with or without their consent. Unwanted programs are often downloaded together with a desired program, which works as a wrapper to hide the sign of a PUP.

Because PUPs can lead to slow computer performance, they are annoying in addition to undesired. They may also lead to violation of users’ privacy. Take adware, a common type of PUP, as an example. This malware may stealthily insert add-ins to users’ browser and monitor their Internet activities. This collected data is sold to advertisers, who then place intrusive advertising to web pages.

Potentially Unwanted Bundling

With its malicious purpose, a PUP sneaks onto victims’ system without their knowledge or consent. Even if one learns its existence, it is still hard to find the instruction to remove an unwanted program.

The most common way to get infected by unwanted program is bundling. If users download an application or software from untrustworthy sources, they may be fooled to download PUPs, which are wrapped as part of the program they really want.

Some software providers claim that they have mentioned the installation of a bundled program in the download agreement. Yet, many users fail to finish reading the download agreement before hitting the agree button.

Moreover, the mention of bundled program is usually placed at the end of the terms, making it too hidden to be noticed. This approach to force installation is regarded as unethical as it is against user’ interests.

How to stay away from PUPs?

It is suggested to choose the Custom install whenever downloading a program. Read carefully before accepting the license agreement and specially pay attention to those small boxes that have been checked as default, where you may ‘agree’ to receive ads or change your default browser.

One should also download programs from trusted sources like official sites instead of untrustworthy sharing space. Otherwise, you may have to pay by compromising the integrity of your system in exchange for a ‘free’ software.

In addition to all aforementioned tips, you can adopt a third party detection program to increase your protection. Whenever someone tries to access or make change to your startup routines, you can get notified in time and respond consequently. PUP blocker is a common feature to help users detect and stay away from this annoying-ware.