Adware refers to programs that display advertising using any means: pop-ups, banners, changes to the browser home page or search page, etc. The advertisements could be associated with the products or services offered by the creator of the program or by third-parties.
Adware can be installed in a number of ways, on some occasions without users' consent, and either with or without users' knowledge of its function.
It reduces the security level of the computer:
it terminates processes belonging to security tools, such as antivirus programs and firewalls, leaving the computer defenseless against attacks from other malware; it changes the security settings of Internet Explorer, decreasing its security level.
It uses stealth techniques to avoid being detected by the user:
- It terminates processes corresponding to several security tools, such as antivirus programs and firewalls, to prevent detection.
- It deletes the original file from which it was run once it is installed on the computer.
- It modifies system permissions in order to hide itself.
Startpage.AXY uses the following propagation or distribution methods:
- Exploiting vulnerabilities with the intervention of the user: exploiting vulnerabilities in file formats or applications. To exploit them successfully it needs the intervention of the user: opening files, viewing malicious web pages, reading emails, etc.
- Via Internet, exploiting remote vulnerabilities: attacking random IP addresses, in which it tries to insert a copy of itself by exploiting one or more vulnerabilities.