A PUA aka PUP (Potentially Unwanted Application / Potentially Unwanted Program) is software that may be unwanted on the PC and sometimes comes bundled with freeware software, usually contains adware, installs toolbars or has other unclear objectives.
PUAs can be extremely irritating. Among other things, they can collect information about your surfing habits and then transmit it to third parties without notification or consent. They can also hijack browsers to change default settings (search engine and start page).
What is the difference between Malware and PUA/PUPs?
Malware is malicious software that arrives without your express permission. Potentially unwanted programs are programs that arrive along with a EULA that tricks you into installing them, therefore, in most cases, you agreed to some fine print and gave the company permission to run this software on your computer. This makes them legal and they cannot fully be labelled as Malware.
By classifying these programs as just “Potentially Unwanted Programs,” anti-malware software creators are attempting to shield themselves from legal action while detecting software most people don’t want on their computers.
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