Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUP’s), sometimes also described as Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUA’s) are a real threat to machines and systems out there these days. Here’s how to prevent infecting your network and machines with PUP’s.
1.) PUP’s get installed because someone installs them or installs a freeware program that PUP’s ride on. If you decide to install a program off the internet, especially a freeware, never do the express or standard install. Do custom installs, and do not hit next without reading everything first. Programs like ask toolbar and other PUP’s will sometimes require you to opt out of them installing in the custom install menu before you install the desired program, and they will be hidden in a place that someone can easily overlook as they blindly or quickly hit next. Also, always read the EULA pages before accepting and continuing. These pages are required to list all programs that are automatically installed with the program you are installing. One trick they do is pre-select the ‘I Accept’ option and you would need to open the EULA in order to see that it’s been accepted or switch to ‘I Decline’. If there are PUP’s listed in the EULA, and you do not have ‘I Accept’ checked, the PUP’s will not install with the program.
2.) Install a PUP filter such as Unchecky which unchecks the boxes that would automatically be checked by freeware to let PUP’s install with the freeware, or Spywareblaster which prevents PUP’s from being installed period.
3.) If PUP’s have already been installed on your computer, you can remove the from either your browser by managing and removing unwanted add-ons, or the program manager in control panel where you can uninstall them. Open windows task manager to see what programs are running on your machine to check for unknown PUP’s that slipped past your filters. CCleaner will also sometimes find and remove PUP’s.