Common Adware Viruses
By Thomas King
Adware is a term for software programs that are designed to display advertisements. Some adware programs are relatively harmless; others have the ability to collect your personal information and may seriously impair your computer system. There are hundreds of adware programs; however, a WebRoot study noted that the three most common adware programs are180SearchAssistant, AltNet and CoolWebSearch.
180Solutions.SearchAssistant, also known as 180Search Assistant, is an adware program that tracks your Internet searches and then floods your computer with pop-up advertisements tailored to those searches. In addition to opening pop-ups, 180Solutions.SearchAssistant may slow your computer and add icons to your desktop.
Altnet is an adware program that, like 180Solutions.SearchAssistant, tracks your Internet searches in order to provide targeted popup advertisements. Altnet is bundled with several peer-to-peer applications, including Kazaa and eMule. If you have downloaded one of these programs, your computer has probably been infected with Altnet.
CoolWebSearch, also known as CoolWWW, is an adware program that opens pornographic pop-up advertisements on your computer. CoolWebSearch may also change your Internet homepage and redirect your Internet searches to malicious websites.
Ads by Gamevance
Ads by Gamevance is an adware program associated with Gamevance, the free gaming software website. Ads by Gamevance displays pop-up advertisements in the top-left corner of your Web browser. Ads by Gamevance does not collect your personal information. However, this adware does slow your computer considerably.
Virtumundo is one of the more dangerous adware viruses. Virtumundo floods your computer with pop-up advertisements for a fake anti-spyware program. While the pop-up advertisements may interfere with your online browsing, the real danger is that Virtumundo records your keystrokes as you type and sends the information to a remote hacker. This information may then be used to steal your identity.
Thomas King is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law where he served as managing editor of the "Pittsburgh Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law." He currently lives in Aberdeen, Washington where he writes and practices law.