Adware displays advertisements directed to your individual preferences based on websites you visited online, individual buying choices and the configuration of your computer’s hardware and software. This is not different than looking at an article of clothing in a store and someone continually puts a competitor’s item in your view. Adware can track your online activities, collect your web surfing habits, email addresses, and purchase preferences. It can also gather information about the hardware and software installed on your home computer and sends that information to marketers.
Many times the internet user does not understand or read the usually lengthy and confusing EULA (End-User License Agreement) before agreeing to the terms because they want to immediately download the free game, screen saver, utility or advertisement supported software. The internet user can use the download with no monetary charge in exchange for viewing advertisements while online inside a webpage or as a pop-up window. Advertisers typically do not consider adware as malware because the internet user agrees to the EULA before copying, downloading, installing, registering or using the software. The computer user usually has an option to buy a license to stop the advertisements from displaying. The computer user knows that in exchange for not buying a license, they will see advertisements that the company hopes they will click on and buy the product or service. Other adware License Agreements include permissions from the user to the company for privileges stated in the agreement. The computer user should always read and understand any agreement before accepting. If you do not read and understand what you are agreeing to, you may be giving your permission to the company or third party to monitor your activities while online.
This monitoring can include where you go, where you shop or your web browsing preferences and habits. Companies find this information useful so they can generate advertisements customized specifically for your interests, likes, and dislikes. Adware is generating much discussion about balancing the responsibilities and rights of companies and the privacy of customers. So, be sure you read and understand all agreements before accepting them.