Potentially unwanted applications are applications that aren’t considered dangerous but can become incredibly annoying for users.
But aside from being annoying, they can potentially open up your device to other downloads which might be malicious.
Kaspersky has, throughout 2020 detected 102 million instances of potentially unwanted applications up until August 2020.
What is notable about this is that these applications is that they are being deployed en-masse throughout Africa.
Looking at South Africa in particular, while Kaspersky found malware attacks averaged out at 415 000 users, potentially unwanted applications affected an average of 736 000 users.
“The problem with them [potentially unwanted applications] is that users are not always aware they consented to the installation of such programs on their device and that in some cases, such programs are exploited or used as a disguise for malware downloads. This is why many security solutions, including ours, flags such programs to make sure users are aware of its presence, influence on their device and activity,” explained security researcher for Kaspersky, Denis Parinov.
As Parinov points out, often you won’t even realise you’re downloading something you don’t want.
Some software at least warns you, giving you the option not to install additional adware to your system. You might’ve seen something like this when downloading software for free online and then discovering that your web browser’s homepage is for a service you’ve never heard of.
This is concerning because, as we mentioned, potentially unwanted applications could open the floodgates for malware and other nefarious software.
So how do you safeguard yourself from this sort of problem?
Thankfully many security solutions have protection for potentially unwanted applications including Windows Security but for the most part you’re going to have to be careful of what you download.
Our recommendation is to head directly to a developer’s website to download an application and if said developer is loading the software with adware, perhaps look for an alternative.