Adware (Family Safety)
Adware is a reference to a type of software that automatically displays advertisements, usually as a way of generating income to the maker of the software. Not all adware is considered malicious, but there are still some dangers to be cautious of.
Because adware displays advertisements, the software is usually free. If the customer is willing to put up with the ads, they can use the software without paying for it. This is an enticing model for consumers - but there are some potential dangers. Two of the major issues are as follows:
1. Unwanted advertisements. The user of the program cannot normally control which ads are displayed within their software. The laws and regulations regarding what is allowed to be advertised on the Internet are very different than those for broadcast television, which allows for ads that are marketing online as "too hot for TV". Adware can bring these ads directly into your home. Elder M. Russell Ballard warned of such content when he said that "the attacks are subtle and amoral—issues of right and wrong don’t even come up. Immorality and sexual innuendo are everywhere, causing some to believe that because everyone is doing it, it must be all right. This pernicious evil is not out in the street somewhere; it is coming right into our homes, right into the heart of our families."
2. Malicious software. Some types of adware will contain code that will track your Internet usage, steal your private information and possibly infect your computer with viruses. This type of adware is commonly referred to as spyware. There are tools and programs to help detect and remove spyware and viruses from your computer. If you need additional information about these, see the Prevention and detection section of the Adware entry on Wikipedia.
- M. Russell Ballard, “Let Our Voices Be Heard”, Ensign, Nov 2003, 16