Adware Definition

Software that displays advertising banners or pop-up windows

Adware is any software that displays advertising banners or pop-up windows while it is running. Adware is usually included with freeware, i.e., software that is free for you to download and use. Instead of charging you for the software, the developers make money from the advertising. Some freeware gives you the option of purchasing the software to get rid of the ads. Many popular music players, file-sharing applications, instant messengers, and games include adware.

Adware sometimes gets confused with spyware, which is software that tracks your activities and sends information back to a third party without your consent. Spyware is sometimes included in adware, but true adware does not collect any information about you, although it can slow down your computer and use up your Internet resources.

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