What is PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program)?

What is A Potentially Unwanted Program PUP
A PUP is a potentially unwanted program on the computer, which often gets onto the computer as part of the installation of another software. The PUP usually serves as a marketing tool and, for example, displays unsolicited advertisements or changes browser settings. The most common form of PUP is advertising software, so-called adware.

What is a potentially unwanted program (PUP)?

The abbreviation PUP stands for the potentially unwanted program. From a technical point of view, it is not malware. A PUP is not intended to cause damage to the computer or steal identities and data but usually pursues marketing purposes by displaying advertisements or changing browser settings, such as the start page or the default search. Potentially unwanted programs are often referred to as adware or spyware.

Unlike a malicious program, the software does not get onto a computer through security vulnerabilities or hacker attacks. Usually, the installation is done with the user’s consent. PUPs can take a toll on a computer or severely interfere with its work due to changes in settings and the display of windows.

While some PUPs include features that users actually use, a majority of potentially unwanted programs do not generate any added value for the user. The programs try to generate revenue for the software’s manufacturer by showing advertisements or exploiting user data such as search behavior. Most PUPs are legal and their installation is not prevented by antivirus programs. However, some unwanted programs operate in a legal gray area.

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How potentially unwanted programs get onto a computer

Most commonly, potentially unwanted applications enter a computer along with the installation of other free programs. Popular freeware serves as a kind of bait. During the installation, the user, through carelessness, accepts options that allow the installation of other programs. Thus, the user usually actively agrees to the installation of the unwanted program.

Also, when updating certain software on a computer, some vendors try to foist PUPs on users through additional options. Once a PUP is installed on a computer, it may act as a kind of pyramid scheme and prompt the installation of additional unwanted programs.

How to protect yourself from a potentially unwanted program

The best protection against potentially unwanted programs is to be mindful when installing or updating applications. Users should carefully read the individual installation dialogs and uncheck any unwanted checkboxes or options that may have been selected in advance. It may be necessary to select the custom rather than the quick or typical installation routine for some installations.

Another protective measure is not to download the software from freeware and download portals, but directly from the original manufacturer. You should also be wary of free utilities that promise to significantly speed up the system or Internet access, for example. Before installing new software, carefully consider whether it is actually needed. If there is any uncertainty about the function and benefit of the application, a search on the Internet can provide clarity.

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