Virus Or PUP? The Difference Could Change The Way You Work

10 July 2015
 Categories: , Blog

Computer viruses are a plague upon productivity and can ruin an entire business if not handled properly. Some are designed to steal information, while others are made out of mischief or pure malice to annoy or sabotage people's computers. Unfortunately, there are some problems that resemble viruses that you may be letting into your computer every day, and there's little that virus protection can do to stop it from happening. As you look through your system and search for solutions, take the time to understand the differences between a PUP and a virus.

What Is A PUP?

PUP stands for Potentially Unwanted Program. If you've installed programs and watched the installation process, you may have seen a PUP without even acknowledging its presence.

Many program installations include check boxes that offer to install other programs. These other programs may have nothing to do with the program or the original programmer. In most cases, PUPs are an attempt to advertise different programs directly by giving you the chance to try them out. 

It may be obvious that you don't want the extra programs, but it's difficult for a virus protection programmer to deny the installation. Popular, useful programs are often added to a program's installation package because even the bigger companies want to advertise via affiliating with smaller programmers. The programmer of your desired program may be getting paid for allowing other programs to be installed as an option.

If an anti-virus program were to uninstall every program added from PUP lists, it could end up installing programs that you need and use every day. Instead, most PUP lists include nuisance programs that are regularly reported by users. Unfortunately, this list depends on user participation, which may not be enough if you aren't joining in the fight against PUPs

Be sure to carefully inspect every screen of the installation. Instead of clicking through the installation, make sure that every check box and button is for something you actually want to do. After installation, look through your installed programs and remove anything that seems to have been installed unintentionally.

A Virus Is Never Useful For You

Viruses are never potentially useful, although they can be packaged as a useful program.

Some users search for free versions of certain programs, or use search engines to find what they need. If they're not careful, they may download a fake version of a legitimate program that has a virus attached. The trojan horse approach is a common way to sneak a virus onto a person's computer by injecting malicious code into the real program.

In some ambitious cases, a virus programmer may create an entirely fake program that looks useful, such as a fake antivirus that claims to be finding problems with your computer. It may even load more viruses and PUPs on your system to make the report true, then ask for money to remove the virus.

Don't pay for a single thing, and don't give any personal information. If you're in doubt about a program or suspect a virus, contact a virus removal professional to have an efficient system cleaning and hardening techniques to make your system less likely to suffer an infection.

For more information, contact Microworx or a similar company.