DEFINITION of 'Adware'

A software package that plays, displays or downloads advertisements to a remote computer. Adware is a term that originates from "advertising-supported software". Adware often appears on the remote computer in the form of a pop-up, a new window that is opened containing the advertisement. Users can often disable the frequency of adware by managing the pop-up controls and preferences within their internet browsers.


Adware, while annoying, is usually not a threat to a computer system; however, it may also come with spyware and other software that could be considered an invasion of privacy. Adware can track which internet sites a user visits and then present advertisements based on the types of web pages visited. Programs are also widely available that can detect and prevent adware.

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