A World Full of Digital Ads and Annoying Pop-ups Also Can Be Known as Malware

Ads think they are quite sharp; the sad thing is, they are. It’s not that I don’t like advertising – it’s that the advertising isn’t relevant to me. The random pop-ups that appear out of nowhere annoy me the most, and that seems to happen quite often. Pop-ups are flooding our screens and ruining our browser experiences. Nowadays most devices we use are FILLED with ads and pop-ups. Almost every page or app out there has some kind of advertising attached to it. While some ads can be tolerated, there are quite a few out there that are annoying and often may be completely irrelevant to you. It’s very frustrating when you are trying to do something and they pop up, get stuck, slow the computer down, blast your ears with random audio and just plain harass you when you are just trying to browse. You have to do whatever it takes to get rid of them before you can return to what you were doing.  As you can see, they do a great job of distracting you from what you were trying to do in the first place. We’ve all been there.

Let’s take ads on a blog or website for example. Chances are if it’s an irrelevant ad, it’s going to be a distraction, or the visitor may not return back to the link.  When I looked at my website, I couldn’t believe that I saw some weird wormy ad. I wasn’t given the option to choose… why the hell is that there? No one wants to see some weird wormy like thing on the side of my page. Out of all the options in the world why do I have to have that as a choice? Seriously, these things interrupt train of thought and it’s distracting and disturbing.

Ads have evolved, that’s for sure. I don’t recall ever using the public washroom and all of a sudden there’s some blasting audio coming out of nowhere, just to find out it’s coming from your own pocket. What the…?! I just closed ALL my apps. Why is there strange audio coming from who knows where out of my phone. And why? It’s completely stupid.

What are ads? Not all are bad, but a lot of them can be dangerous. They get pushed into your devices when you browse or download certain apps and programs. If you click on a pop-up ad it could be attaching malware to your devices – without you even knowing it. You really need to be careful what you are clicking on, but sometimes accidental clicking happens.

Most ads are devious, manipulative and try to stalk you by following and invading our privacy while being sneaky about it. Do you find it a bit ridiculous? I do. It’s weird, creepy and strange.

Is there anything we can do about it that’s straightforward and not complicated? Not really. You won’t be able to completely stop getting ads online. However, you can try to prevent unwanted ads by checking over your settings, exercising caution when you browse, and being extra careful when clicking and downloading.

There should be better choices for us when it comes to ads being targeted at us. We can’t do much, but we can try our best when we are given options to choose from.

Here are some tips:

1) If you are using Gmail – open your browser and log into your Gmail account. Click on your name bubble on the top right-hand side. A drop-down menu should appear. Click on “Manage your Google Account”. A new browser window will open. Here you will see that you have lots of options to have better control over your account.

On the left-hand side there are 6 options: Home, Personal Info, Data & Personalization, Security, People & Sharing, and Payments & Subscriptions.

I would go through all of them just to make sure everything is set how you want it and just to confirm that everything is correct. You have the choice(s) to help make your Google account and your experience more useful to you that might help your browsing experiences and security. You might be surprised what you find in there.

2) Turning off pop-ups. For Chrome: On your Chrome browser, click the 3 vertical dots on the top right-hand side. Click Settings, then go down to Advanced – Privacy and Security – click Site Settings. Click Pop-ups and Redirects. Now disable it. You do not need to be signed in to do this.

For Safari: Open your browser. On the top left-hand side click Safari and then click Preferences. Choose Websites and click on Pop-up Windows.

Keep in mind some websites will require you to have pop-ups enabled in order to use their websites or services.

3) Clearing your cache and history – this applies to all web browsers – and might be really annoying to do every time you start and finish browsing. But you should always clear your history and clear the cache.

4) Browse in incognito mode – when browsing in incognito mode, your browser won’t store any data. This is good for keeping your privacy safe. And especially use incognito mode if you are doing banking on the net. It’s important to protect your financial well-being.

Windows/Android users – will an antivirus protect your browsers and devices from bad pop-ups and malware? Yes, there is antivirus software out there that will promise to protect you from malware but for some devices and browsers, it might not always work. You might have to adjust your settings for some browsers and programs. In the long run, it might give you more headaches. I would stick with the built-in Windows Defender for PC and use your common sense when using Android. Don’t be silly and click or install things that don’t make sense or have bad reviews. Don’t take the risk. If the website or app looks strange, chances are it probably is. Compare websites and apps that look professional vs not so professional. If it doesn’t look that great, it probably isn’t. Don’t just click, know what you are clicking. There are WAY TOO MANY tricks on the internet for you to just be clicking – think it through.

Apple users – Yes, it is possible to get malware on your devices. However, the chances are very low. When choosing Apple there is less of a chance for your devices to get infected with malware. Apple has great safety precautions and amazing software to keep you safer on all their devices.

In the meantime, Google says by August 5, 2020, they will block invasive video ads and do a better job of online advertising.

It’s important that we take care of our devices. Are they cheap? No. Expensive – absolutely. Since you can’t stop ads completely, do your best to try and make them less annoying today! Here’s to hoping Google will keep their word and get these ads a little more under control!