Bloatware on computers and other digital devices is similar to junk mail stuffed into your home mailboxes: unwanted and ignored until there’s just too much of it.
“Bloatware” has become the term that describes many different types of applications with one common trait: they’re unnecessary. They can also expose you to a bunch of cybersecurity risks. If the bloatware connects to the internet, it exposes your device to malware by introducing a host of apps designed to exploit your computing power and personal information, including financial information.
Examples of bloatware include:
- Toolbars: Many of these applications install additional toolbars that clutter up your browser, show you annoying ads, and are not particularly useful.
- Adware: These applications have no other purpose than to serve you ads. Adware can also include annoying shortcuts to commercial websites that are placed on your desktop.
- Trials: Try-before-you-buy versions of apps you probably do not need, don’t want, and didn’t ask for.
Software companies pay device manufacturers and distributors to install demonstration versions of their products onto devices, hoping customers will buy the full versions.
Unless you actively search for and delete demonstration software — and we rarely do — these programs remain on your devices and become part of a growing mound of bloatware. Gradually sucking all of your device’s processing power and grinding it to a halt. Opening even small apps on overloaded storage becomes a total pain.
How to get rid of Bloatware
There are free tools that can help get rid of bloatware. Some that are available include:
These tools use crowdsourcing information to recommend which apps users might want to keep on their devices and those to get rid of it.
Quality Antivirus/Antimalware solutions can also detect adware and malware and alert you to its presence on your devices. Users are then typically given the choice of removing the app or quarantining them to prevent interaction with the system.
Unfortunately, bloatware isn’t going away anytime soon so it’s important to be aware of the threat and how to manage it.
By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from EveryDayCyber. We'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.
What is Spear Phishing?
Spear phishing is a targeted cyberattack to steal your information. You should be aware of the dangers of this and how to address them.
What is Digital Identity?
Your digital identity is your set of unique features and characteristics identifiable to you. It is all data that can be traced back to you.
What is a Trojan Horse?
Trojan horse computer viruses are malware disguised as or hidden in legitimate software. Hidden from view and ready to attack.
What is AD tracking?
Digital and online ad tracking is the process of gathering data and insights about the performance of online advertising campaigns. Digital systems use methods like cookies, unique tracking URLs, tracking pixels, and other tools
What is Malware?
Malware or “malicious software” is a cybersecurity term used to describe software that steals your data, spies on you, damages your devices, and generally causes chaos and destruction.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is particularly vicious malware that infects your digital device, encrypting your data and then holding you hostage until you pay a ransom.