UwS (pronounced as “ooze”) is an unwanted software, which according to Google’s defining list of characteristics has the following properties:
- It deceivingly promises something which it never meets.
- It tricks the user to install itself, or some other program.
- It hides its principal motive under some other functions.
- It unexpectedly modifies the user’s system.
- It is very difficult to remove.
- It transmits user’s private data without their permission.
- Its presence is not disclosed, and generally bundles itself with other software.
Now that we know what is an UwS, and what are its properties, let’s see how such software is disseminated.
- Before clicking on any link, check whether it is redirecting to desired location or not. When you hover the cursor over the link, the status bar on the bottom shows a link. If this is the desired one, click on it.
- Whenever you download any software, download it from a trusted source.
- Check the extension of your download. If you’re downloading a PDF file, or a word file and it shows .exe, cancel the downloading process.
- Install plugins for Adblocks, etc.
Google’s Online Security Blog states “Given the complexity of the UwS ecosystem, the involvement of players across the industry is key to making meaningful progress in this fight. This chain is only as strong as its weakest links: everyone must work to develop and enforce strict, clear policies related to major sources of UwS.