Toolbar spam

We live in a world surrounded by software. Applications make our lives easier, simpler. They help to seek, find or perform daily life tasks. From keeping our files synchronized between devices to listening to music, finding the phone number of a restaurant, and why not, checking out the public transportation timetables.

But as always, everything has its counterpoint and therefore I want to talk about how, and unwittingly, in many cases, when installing an application, we can end up installing unsolicited programs on our computers and lately mobile platforms that hinder our everyday use of the computer or smartphone.

The first question that strikes us in these cases is, how did that program end up installed on my computer?

NextVery simple. The Windows installation processes are virtually automatic and rarely require user intervention. In most of the cases they are based on a number of license agreements windows which pretty much show us information that we do not usually read while we click Next, Next, Next …to complete the installation of the desired software.

The thing is that this Windows installation process contains certain default options which are deliberately checked and you end up accepting toolbars in your browser, changing the appearance of the home page, getting unwanted advertising windows or installing programs that even capture your Internet surfing habits to later show ads to fit our preferences.Toolbar

Given this, what should be done to avoid this type of intrusive software? First, you should check that the page you download the software from is the official website of the creator of the software. This can often lead to confusion, since in many cases, the official page does NOT necessarily match the first result that comes on the page rank of our friend Google.

Last but not least, (because often even downloading from the official website is no guarantee), it is best to review the software installation process step by step. Above all, pay special attention to the default or preset options. Not surprisingly, I have come to see software downloaded from official pages where the installation process added 2 to 3 additional programs that we had not previously requested.

don't panicWhat to do when, in spite of all our caution, we have installed something that we did not want? Above all, do not panic, because all the changes we have done can be undone, but not in a way as simple and as fast as it had been during installation.

Legal programs should include their own uninstallers together with the license agreements. In most cases, simply go to the Windows Control Panel to find the software you want to uninstall in Add or Remove Programs or Programs and Features. At other times, the unwanted toolbar or add-on will be found in the Start menu, Programs.

Just like that? Yes and no. Unfortunately, most of the changes made to our browser, are not so easily reversed. You need to go to the configuration of your browser (IE / Firefox / Chrome) to again change the home page, and completely remove or disable add-ons or complements.

Finally, I would like to emphasize that although, mostly, this inconvenience occurs almost entirely in Windows OS, I am seeing how slowly this trend is starting to spread to both tablets and platforms such as smartphones, given their bigger and bigger market share.

How about you? Did you also install a cooking application on your smartphone to make curry rice and now you are receiving ads at 2:00 in the morning advertising precooked curry rice? 😉
*********************************************************************************************************Iñaki Cano

Iñaki Cano has been working at Panda for 4 years.

He is a Support technician for homeusers and enterprise products and is responsible for   troubleshooting and resolving Panda product issues worldwide.

He loves computers and keeping up-to-date with new technologies.