||This article uses bare URLs for citations, which may be threatened by link rot. (July 2014)|
Ad-Aware Antivirus+ 11 Free running under Windows 7.
|Stable release||11.3.6321.0  / 28 August 2014|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows|
|Type||Spyware removal software|
|License||Proprietary , Freeware|
Ad-Aware is an anti-spyware and anti-virus program developed by Lavasoft that detects and removes malware, spyware and adware on a user's computer. According to Lavasoft, Ad-Aware detects spyware, computer viruses, dialers, Trojans, bots, rootkits, data miners, aggressive advertising, parasites, browser hijackers, and tracking components.
Ad-Aware was originally developed in 1999 to highlight web beacons inside of Internet Explorer. On many websites, users would see a tiny pixelated square next to each web beacon, warning the user that the computer's IP address and other non-essential information was being tracked by this website. Over time, Ad-Aware added the ability to block those beacons, or ads. Ad-Aware no longer makes the user aware of the ads on the screen, instead the program fights spyware, adware, viruses and other malware.
In the 2008 Edition, Lavasoft bundled Ad-Aware Pro and Plus for the first time with an antivirus scanner, which used the Avira engine and this arrangement continued for a few years. Starting with Ad-Aware version 10, the Bitdefender antivirus engine was used instead.
- Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+
- Ad-Aware Personal Security
- Ad-Aware Pro Security
Two other versions are also available:
- Ad-Aware Total Security
- Ad-Aware Business Security
The latest Ad-Aware products have been completely revamped to the point where it has almost nothing in common with its predecessors except the core functionalities.
Lavasoft also offers volume licenses of Ad-Aware for businesses, which is designed for use over networks. It has a central server console interface with licences for installing Ad-Aware Pro Security on the networked machines.
Each version includes anti-spyware, antivirus, and anti-rootkit protection, as well as integrated protection against real-time threats. According to Lavasoft, Ad-Aware allows computer users to combat malicious spyware, viruses, and malware; it protects users from malware that takes control of a computer and can result in aggressive advertising pop-ups, in sluggish computer activity and in the stealing of private information. The vendor says that Ad-Aware detects hazardous content on a user's computer, identifies the threat level, and then gives the user the ability to block or remove unwanted content. Ad-Aware Total Security offers extra features that the three core version do not, primarily: firewall, system tuning, online backup, data recovery, anti-spam and parental controls.
According to PC World magazine, an older version of Ad-Aware, the Anniversary Edition, could locate only 83.6% of malware in a comparative test carried out by the security firm AV-TEST. However, as the article states, no such tests have been run on the newest version. Neil J. Rubenking at PCMag performed a lab test on version 8.3, where Ad-Aware scored 9.2 points, beating the previous top score of 9.1.
Ad-Aware installs Google Chrome, which will be done automatically unless the user de-selects the tick-box in the Ad-Aware installation program.
Ad-Aware Free is listed as having been downloaded over 381 million times on download.com (and a total of 450 million times on the Lavasoft site, including downloads that do not originate at download.com) as of July 2013[update]; however, since its primary competition is not downloadable from the same location, a comparison of relative market-share is not possible with these figures.
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