offer.alibaba.com is a legitimate online store. Be aware, however, that cyber criminals use its referrals to generate revenue. Criminals develop applications that redirect users to various dubious websites which, in turn, cause redirects to the offer.alibaba.com website’s referral links. In addition to redirects, potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) generate intrusive advertisements (coupons, banners, pop-ups, etc.), gather sensitive data, and often misuse system resources.
Immediately after infiltration, PUPs randomly open new browser tabs/windows and cause a number of redirects. Ultimately, users will visit one of the product pages on offer.alibaba.com Note that the visited page’s URL contains a referral link. Therefore, if users become interested and make a purchase, cyber criminals receive a percentage of the sale fee. These deceptive marketing methods allow them to generate revenue.Potentially unwanted programs are also known to generate various intrusive advertisements. To achieve this, developers employ tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site. Therefore, displayed advertisements often conceal underlying content of visited websites, significantly diminishing the Internet browsing experience. In addition, the ads often redirect to malicious websites and, in some cases, run scripts that download/install malware (or other PUPs).
Therefore, clicking these ads risks computer infection. Potentially unwanted programs record information that typically includes personal details. Furthermore, developers share collected data with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) to generate revenue. There is a high probability that these people will generate revenue by misusing the information. Thus, the presence of data-tracking PUPs can lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. There are also cases where potentially unwanted programs mine cryptocurrencies or run other unnecessary background processes without users’ consent. By misusing resources, potentially unwanted programs significantly reduce overall system performance (sometimes, systems becomes unusable, since all resources are consumed by a rogue app). You are strongly advised to uninstall all potentially unwanted programs immediately.
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The list of potentially unwanted programs contains hundreds of examples, all of which are virtually identical. These programs offer “useful features” (e.g., file conversion, anti-virus, download, performance increases, system optimization, and so on), however, the only purpose of all PUPs is to generate revenue for the developers only. Rather than giving any real value for regular users, PUPs pose a direct threat to your privacy and Internet browsing safety.
How did adware install on my computer?
In most cases, potentially unwanted programs infiltrate systems without permission, since developers proliferate them by employing a deceptive marketing method called “bundling”, together with intrusive advertisements. “Bundling” is stealth installation of PUPs with regular (typically free) software. Developers hide “bundled” apps within various sections (usually “Custom/Advanced” options) of the download/installation processes. Therefore, users who rush these procedures, skip steps, and click various advertisements, often inadvertently install rogue applications and compromise their privacy.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
The main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior. The key to safety is caution. Therefore, pay close attention during download/installation processes and when browsing the Internet. Select “Advanced/Custom” settings, closely analyze each window of the download/installation dialogs, and opt-out of all additionally-included programs. In addition, avoid using third party downloaders/installers, since criminals monetize them by promoting rogue programs (the “bundling” method). Intrusive ads look legitimate, however, they are easy to distinguish, since most lead to dubious websites (e.g., gambling, adult dating, pornography, and so on). If you experience these redirects, immediately eliminate dubious applications/browser plug-ins and scan the system with a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite.
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The free antivirus version is available with limited features.