I am seeing a rise lately in “pup” software. By “pup” software, I mean “potentially unsafe software”. I think in many cases, this is just a fancy term for a virus or spyware. The difference is that many viruses install silently in the background, and allthough, so do many “pups”, many “pups” are downloaded knowingly by the user, or bundled with other software downloads.
The first notice that you may have “pup” software installed on your computer are changes to Windows. The first key is to look for any new toolbars. If its not the Google, Yahoo, or Bing toolbar, its probally not needed, and maybe even spyware. Another thing to look for is a change to your default search engine. Many times a “pup” software will change your search engine so that they control your websearches and ads. Pop up ads are another annoyance of “pup” softwares. This inclueds coupon or shopping popups, these usually contain spyware and/or viruses! Watch your internet home page too, many “pups” will change your home page to a search page for their search engine, or just simply changing to another home page.
If you are downloading any software, uncheck any boxes for extra software. Even with legitimate and safe software updates, we see unsafe “pup” software bundled in the installation, but in almost every case, you do not need to download the bundled extra software.