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Learn adware with online courses and programs

Adware can cause pop-up ads to display on your screen. They can be legitimate or malicious. Gain a deeper understanding of the various types of adware, their impact on computer systems and mobile devices, and strategies to prevent and remove them.

What is adware?

Adware, short for advertising-supported software, are applications that display ads on your screen while running a program.Footnote 1 These ads can be pop-up windows or bars on the program's user interface. The motive behind adware is simple. They generate revenue for its developers through advertisements.Footnote 2 Adware is typically found on PCs, but they infect mobile devices sometimes, too. 

There are two types of adware: legitimate and malicious. Legitimate adware helps its software developers recover development costs and reduce or eliminate the price for its users.Footnote 3

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Why learn adware?

As the name suggests, malicious adware is both undesirable and detrimental as it may contain potential cybersecurity threats. Some malicious software may even trick the user into subscribing to paid services without their knowledge.

Legitimate adware is downloaded with the user's consent. This type of adware typically provides users with something in exchange. On the other hand, malicious ones use deceptive ways to gain permission. 

To prevent unwanted adware, it is advisable to exercise caution when downloading software and refrain from using freeware and pirated software. Also, read end-user software license agreements and avoid clicking on ads on untrusted websites.Footnote 4

Knowledge and understanding in this field is essential for online safety. Acquire knowledge on safeguarding against malicious adware with online courses delivered through edX.

Adware tutorial curriculum

If you want to study adware to improve your skills in IT, cybersecurity, or programming, there are several courses that can cater to your needs and are designed for individuals with your level of expertise. An introductory adware course may introduce you to the different types and functions of adware, methods of adware distribution and propagation, and the impact of adware on computer performance and security. 

With this broader knowledge, you can explore other topics, such as:

  • Detection and removal of adware, including Adware remover tools

  • Prevention and mitigation of adware infections

  • Social engineering techniques used by adware creators

  • Business models and revenue streams of adware companies

  • User behavior and demographics targeted by adware programs

If you’re seeking more in-depth knowledge, advanced courses may also cover

  • The role of adware in the broader context of digital advertising and marketing

  • The relation between adware and other types of malware threats

  • The challenges of regulating and prosecuting adware creators and distributors

  • The use of machine learning and artificial intelligence in adware detection and classification

  • The development of countermeasures and anti-adware technologies

If you are interested in how to learn about adware, edX offers a variety of educational opportunities for learners interested in studying programming, cybersecurity, and more. A boot camp can provide flexible, hands-on learning for those who want to upskill quickly, while executive education courses are designed for busy professionals. You can also pursue a more comprehensive curriculum in a bachelor’s degree program or, for more advanced learners, a master’s degree program. Find the right learning path for you.

Explore jobs that research and fight adware

Businesses seek professionals skilled in coding and cybersecurity to prevent malware threats. Here are some job roles related to combating adware:

  • IT technician: An IT technician maintains and repairs computer systems and networks. They diagnose and fix hardware and software issues, perform system upgrades, and ensure that devices are secure and up to date.Footnote 5 They can remove adware from devices and guide users on how to keep systems secure by avoiding suspicious links or downloads and installing antivirus programs.

  • IT support: An IT support specialist assists computer users, troubleshoots, and resolves technical problems. They may work remotely or onsite to support customers, colleagues, or clients.Footnote 6 They can also help with the removal of adware from devices and help keep systems secure.

  • Salesforce developer: A Salesforce developer is responsible for creating and customizing applications on the Salesforce platform. They design and develop software solutions that meet the needs of the business and ensure that the system is secure and efficient.Footnote 7 Salesforce developers can use their knowledge of adware to create secure and reliable applications that are resistant to malware threats. They can implement security measures such as encryption, two-factor authentication, and firewalls to protect the system from threats.

  • Information security specialist: An information security specialist safeguards computer systems and networks from security threats, such as adware, viruses, and malware. They develop and implement security policies, monitor network activity, and investigate security incidents.Footnote 8

Apart from degree programs, boot camps can help you build the foundational knowledge key to these roles. A cybersecurity boot camp focuses on providing intensive training and equipping learners with practical skills to prevent threats to digital systems. Coding boot camps may also provide the background for learners to better understand how code can be used to deliver and display unwanted advertisements, track user behavior, collect personal information, and manipulate browser settings without the user's consent or knowledge. If you are interested in pursuing one of these roles, research the education and skills requirements for the positions and explore how online education can help you upskill through convenient and accelerated learning pathways.

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