Results for "potentially unwanted program"

Mobile PUP

PUPs use the mobile platform and trusting nature of users to install an app which might have cool functionality but comes bundled with unwanted features such as draining the battery, leaking data, and aggressive advertising. These apps aren’t necessarily malicious but users might want to reconsider installing due to performance hits or bad reputation.


Browser Hijack Objects (BHOs)

Browser Helper Objects (BHOs) are add-ons or plugins designed for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE). Designed to enable COM objects to be written that will load with the browser (both IE and Windows Explorer), BHOs were a means to enhance the functionality of the browser. Their first use was to add toolbars to the browser windows.

Although these objects are usually dll files, we have also seen dat and exe files. The unrestricted access that BHOs have by design in IEs Document Object Model make them a powerful tool in the hands of attackers. In the Windows registry, the BHOs are registered by globally unique identifiers called CLSIDs under the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Browser Helper Objects. There the CLSIDs are sub-keys that enumerate the BHOs in use on that system.


Browser extensions

Browser extensions are computer programs that add functionality to existing browsers. They come in as many kinds (and more) as there are browsers.

Internet Explorer distinguishes between toolbars and browser helper objects (BHOs). Other browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Safari call them add-ons or simply extensions.

For PUPs, the economically most interesting browsers are the most popular ones, e.g. Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.



Adware, short for advertising supported software, is arguably the forerunner of the modern day PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program). Adware is typically a standalone program which displays adverts to the end-user in a variety of forms: inside the program itself, or via pop-ups, slide-in adverts, browser pop-ups, inserted adverts, or altered website content. The revenue generated by the adverts is how the program the adware is attached to is paid for, meaning the end-user receives their desired tool or service for “free.” Unfortunately, adware has a history of dubious value propositions, and what is initially offered can often turn out to be a scam or not what the end-user intended.


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