We are definitely not talking about a fuzzy little animal with four legs and a propensity to chew on your favorite pair of dress shoes.
Puppies are adorable and ahhh-inducing.
PUPs, on the other hand, should make your security experts worried.
PUP stands for a Potentially Unwanted Program.
When you run a malware-detection program on your computer, it may warn you of a PUP. PUPs go by other names, too, such as adware and crapware. Why is it defined as a PUP instead of malware? Legal reasons, of course!
PUPs sneak in with YOUR APPROVAL, but you probably didn’t notice because they were bundled with an actually useful software program that you DID want to install. You simply clicked through the install windows and unwittingly approved the crapware installation.
PUPs are not your computer’s friends. The nicest PUP might provide minimal features, but the worst ones are out to hurt things.
We have a few tips for you to break up with any PUPs currently involved with you and your computers and avoid approving any new relationships in your future.
- Use antivirus software to scan for existing PUPs.
- Remove ‘em!
- Be aware where you download from: avoid internet pop-ups, file sharing sites, ads and other unreliable sources.
- When clicking through the installation, make sure to choose the “custom” or “advanced” settings and check through everything you are approving to be installed. AND read the terms and conditions.
- Review your list of installed programs regularly and remove ones you no longer use.
- Keep your antivirus software current and regularly scheduled.
- If it seems like you’re starting to get inundated with ads online, they may be coming from a PUP on your computer so go back to step 1.
Now that you know how to fight the PUPs, here are the reasons why you should. The following is an abbreviated list of potentially dangerous consequences of installing PUPs. (For a full list of criteria, check out MalwareBytes.)
- Browser toolbars
- Web browsing tracking
- Set default home page
- Set default web search engine
- Website redirects
Your computer will be much happier with you if it’s running free of PUPs. You’ll be a much happier user. Remember that they can’t get onto your computer without your approval so be vigilant. If employees have permissions to install software on their work computers, take the time to train them about PUPs and how to avoid them.