What Are Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs)?

While installing free software from the Internet users can be in the risk of installing potentially harmful software on their systems. With the use of a valid antivirus, malware could be flagged and removed from the user’s system. Malware is usually installed on a system without the user’s permission.  However, there exists some other forms of insidious software that may be installed together with the downloaded software. These are known as Potential Unwanted Programs (PUPs).

Unlike malware, PUPs are actually installed with the user’s content. In fact, the definition of a PUP is a software that is unwanted software that the user consented to download. This happens when the user agrees with the End User License Agreement (EULA) during downloading.

PUPs could be things like spyware, adware and additional web browser toolbars. They really don’t add any useful functionality but just clutter your desktop. Your antivirus doesn’t recognize them because you agreed to download them. Some antivirus companies have actually been sued because of identifying some PUPs (also known as crapware) as malware.

In red are the consent checkboxes for PUPs

To avoid installing PUPs, users should always read everything during the downloading and installation phases to make sure that they are only installing the software they want. If you already have PUPs on your system, you can uninstall them through the Control Panel on Windows. Contact your system administrator if you don’t have the rights to do that on a work computer.

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