Even though you can use many compelling security features and techniques to safeguard data on a computer or smartphone, viruses, and malware are still becoming increasingly sophisticated at the same rate that security advancements are being made.

However, there are many steps you can take to protect your data and minimize the risk of infection. To prevent malware from infecting your computer, you must be aware of the different types of viruses and malware that can damage your computer and steal your information. A PUP virus is among the more dangerous viruses, which refers to potentially unwanted programs. This guide looks at PUP viruses and how to avoid and eliminate them.

What Is a PUP Virus?

A PUP is a software program that can enter your computer without knowledge. It’s common for PUP programs to be installed simultaneously when you’re downloading a legitimate piece of software. Reading the small print is important when you’ve downloaded a program and are going through the installation steps. Many users make the mistake of quickly installing a program, which causes them to agree to download an entirely separate program accidentally.

PUP viruses can differ in severity. However, deleting a PUP is often tricky, which is why you need to take the steps necessary to avoid downloading a PUP in the first place. Installing a strong antivirus program will give you the tools to scan for PUP viruses and remove any detected viruses.

What Does PUP Mean In Malware Scan?

If you detected a PUP virus or file during a malware scan, one or more of the new software you downloaded brought it to your device. This process is perfectly legal since you accept an End-User License Agreement (EULA) every time you download and install licensed software with a PUP in it.

Are PUP Files And Viruses Malware?

PUP files and viruses may be similar to malware in some characteristics. They can both cause problems to a device when downloaded. PUP files from licensed applications, however, are not malware. PUP files come from free and legal software downloads, sometimes containing unwanted tools or other useless data. Malware, meanwhile, is malicious software that enters a device without permission to hijack your system.

Are PUP Files And Viruses Dangerous?

PUP files and viruses are invasive, but they are not exactly dangerous or harmful. Their invasiveness can cause extreme annoyance as PUP files automatically download tools and data you don’t need. These unnecessary programs require vast amounts of system resources. They can slow down your operating system.

You may, however, encounter several variations of PUP viruses that can be dangerous. One common variant is the PUP-Gen virus, a dangerous Trojan malware that can hijack your device and data. These harmful PUP viruses, of course, only come from unlicensed or malicious third-party software. You can avoid them by being a responsible user.

Signs That Indicate the Presence of a PUP

Without a malware scan, you might not easily detect PUP files and viruses. If you think you installed a program without reading the EULA, look for signs and symptoms of a PUP virus. These signs include:

  • Advertisements appear on your computer even when you don’t have a browser open
  • Web pages that you regularly visit don’t display properly
  • Links that you click on send you to websites that you didn’t plan to visit
  • The homepage of your web browser changes without any direct input from yourself
  • Unwanted programs become installed without your knowledge
  • Popups that occur in your browser recommend updates that aren’t needed

Dig Deeper: How To Do A Virus Scan

What It Takes to Prevent PUP Viruses

While PUP viruses can negatively affect your operating system once they enter your device, they are among the easiest to avoid. If you take the proper precautions, you should keep PUP viruses from being installed effectively. These precautions include preventing fake updates to reading the installation instructions thoroughly before proceeding.

Avoid Fake Updates

It’s typical for users accessing the Internet to find websites that remind them to update their Java or Flash player to the latest version. These websites are commonly developed for the sole purpose of pushing PUP programs. If you ever land on a website that advertises fake updates to programs on your computer, make sure that you click the decline button.

Read Carefully Through EULAs

Every program download comes with an EULA that you will need to read through and approve before the program gets installed. Because of how lengthy and verbose EULAs can be, many users will skip past them and automatically agree to the terms. If you don’t have time to read every word in the EULA, look at the title above the agreement. If the title refers to bundled programs, don’t accept the EULA.

Increase Security Measures on Your PC

The best way to protect your computer from PUP viruses is to use an antivirus program to detect and remove them. Many additional cybersecurity programs can protect you completely from these and any other viruses. When you’re searching for the best antivirus program, make sure that you select one that can also protect your computer from viruses, spyware, trojans, and adware.

Read the Install Instructions Thoroughly

Whenever you download a software program, you’ll go through an installation wizard that guides you along the installation process. During this process, most PUP viruses become installed on personal computers. You will likely be asked to choose “Express” or “Custom” installation settings at the beginning of the installation instructions. Ensure that you always select the “Custom” option, which allows you to see every facet of the program set to be installed. If you choose the “Express” settings, the installation wizard will select your preferred settings, which can lead to a PUP virus being downloaded without your knowledge.

Steps for Getting Rid of a PUP Virus

If you believe that a PUP virus is in your computer, there are several things that you can do to get rid of the virus. While a PUP is a type of malicious software, it’s important to understand that these viruses aren’t always difficult to eliminate compared to ransomware and similar malware.

In most situations, running an antivirus program that can detect PUP viruses will be enough to identify and eliminate unwanted programs installed on your computer. Several manual deletion methods also exist if you notice a PUP that your antivirus software hasn’t detected.

Uninstall the Program

The first option is to uninstall the program. Go to your system settings’s “Add/Remove Programs” section. The unwanted program may be listed in this section. If there’s a PUP virus, an option to uninstall the program should be available. If you have yet to open the program and use it extensively, clicking the uninstall button may be enough to get rid of it.

Delete the Program

You could also try to determine where the unwanted program is being run using a malware scanner. You may then have the option to manually delete the program from your computer. Remember that this method isn’t ideal since it can be challenging to differentiate between PUP programs and legitimate programs.

Disable the Program

Another viable option is disabling the program, which is possible for certain PUP types. If the PUP is a special redirect or toolbar in your browser, the program may exist as an extension to your browser. To remove the extension, simply navigate to your browser’s extensions and add-ons interface. From here, you can search for any extension you didn’t download.

While certain types of PUPs might not always be harmful, there’s always the possibility that a PUP is attached to a more dangerous program that could steal your information or damage your computer. As such, you should permanently disable any extensions that you didn’t download.

Dig Deeper: Malicious Cookie Stuffing Chrome Extensions with 1.4 Million Users

Conduct a Web Search

If the above steps didn’t work, try to search for how to remove the specific program on Google or Bing to eliminate the PUP virus. Most PUPs have already been downloaded by other users, meaning that someone should have information on how to effectively remove the program from a computer.

Tips for Improving the Security of Your Home Computer

Strengthening the security measures on your computer is a great way to prevent PUP viruses and other malware forms from infecting your computer. Some of the methods you can use to bolster security include:

  • Consider connecting to a secure network with a VPN
  • Enable the firewalls on your operating system and router
  • Disable any default features you don’t use
  • Install an antivirus software
  • Get rid of any unnecessary programs
  • Never click on email attachments from senders you don’t know
  • Regularly update your software and operating system to the latest versions

Final Thoughts

Even though PUP viruses may not be as severe as ransomware and trojans, they can infect your computer with adware and cause general instability to your operating system. It’s recommended that you take preventive measures to strengthen your computer’s security, keep your personal information safe and secure, and avoid installing a PUP virus. One way to do this is to trust a reliable and all-inclusive antivirus software like McAfee+.