Updated: Jun 14
Cookies are small pieces of information that your web browser saves when you go online. They help websites keep track of your actions and improve their services. Cookies make your internet browsing experience smoother and more convenient. However, some cookies called adware tracking cookies are associated with adware, which can be a threat to your privacy.
To protect users' privacy, popular web browsers like Firefox and Google Chrome have introduced features like Enhanced Tracking Protection and Total Cookie Protection. These features aim to safeguard your data and privacy. As a user, it's important to be cautious about your data and privacy. Removing adware tracking cookies from your web browser is a good practice to protect your information.
In this article, we will learn about adware tracking cookies, explore methods to safeguard your data and privacy and understand how to remove these cookies from your web browser.
What is Adware?
Adware is a type of computer program created for marketing purposes. While it's not extremely dangerous on its own, it's also not a good thing to have. Adware can serve as a platform for various types of malware, which can harm your computer. Additionally, adware collects a significant amount of user data, including search and browsing behavior.
When adware infiltrates your system, it negatively affects your web browsing experience. For example, instead of displaying the website you intend to visit, your browser may inundate you with numerous pop-up ads. Adware often spreads like a computer virus, with a common hiding place being cookies.
Cookies, in general, are not designed to steal personal data or information from users. Instead, they are intended to enhance the browsing experience. For example, when you log into a website, it may store certain information (excluding your password) using cookies. This way, when you revisit the site on the same device, cookies streamline the login process by eliminating some initial steps.
However, some cookies are specifically designed to track user information, including browsing history, the number of pages visited, and other data. Certain cookies can even store sensitive user information. The type of data stored by cookies depends on the entity that created them.
What are Adware Tracking Cookies?
Adware tracking cookies are a specific type of cookies that are associated with adware. However, adware tracking cookies are designed with the intention of tracking your online behavior and internet history. These cookies collect information about the websites you visit, the pages you view, and other browsing activities. The data gathered by adware tracking cookies are often used for targeted advertising purposes, where advertisements are tailored to your interests based on your browsing habits.
While not inherently harmful like malware, adware tracking cookies can be seen as a privacy concern. They enable advertisers to monitor and analyze your online behavior, potentially compromising your privacy. Therefore, some users choose to remove these cookies from their web browsers as a best practice to protect their data and privacy.
How to check when your system is affected by Adware?
Sometimes when we download free software without being careful, we unknowingly end up with unwanted programs like toolbars, search engines, or homepage changes. These are signs that Adware may have entered our computers. Here are some clear indicators that your system may have malicious adware:
Your browser's homepage changes on its own, without you making any changes.
Even with a good internet connection, you struggle to open web pages.
Ads start appearing everywhere, even in places where they shouldn't be.
You notice new browser add-ons or extensions that you didn't install.
Your web browser crashes or freezes more often than usual.
Clicking on website links takes you to unexpected or different addresses.
Your entire device, including the web browser, becomes noticeably slow.
If you notice any of these signs, it's likely that your computer has been affected by adware.
How to remove Adware & its Tracking Cookies?
If you are a victim of adware tracking cookies, follow these steps to get rid of them:
1. Remove Unknown Software:
Open the control panel on your system. You can do this by pressing the "Windows + R" keys, typing "Control Panel," and clicking "OK."
Once in the control panel, look for any suspicious or unwanted applications installed on your computer. These could be programs that you don't recognize or remember installing.
Select the unwanted program and choose the option to uninstall or remove it. Follow the prompts to complete the uninstallation process.
2. Remove Unknown Extensions and addons from Web Browsers:
Launch your web browser (e.g., Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge).
Access the browser's settings or options menu. Typically, you can find it by clicking on the three vertical dots or horizontal lines in the top-right corner of the browser window.
Look for an option like "Extensions," "Add-ons," or "Plugins" within the settings menu.
Review the list of installed extensions or addons and identify any unfamiliar or suspicious ones.
Remove or disable the unknown extensions or addons by clicking on the corresponding options next to each item.
3. Reset your Web Browser:
In the browser's settings or options menu, search for the "Reset" or "Restore" option. This may be located within a section called "Advanced" or "Privacy & Security."
Choose the option to reset your browser to its default settings.
Confirm the reset and wait for the process to complete. This will remove any customizations, unwanted settings, and cookies associated with adware.
4. Run an Antivirus Scan:
Ensure that you have an up-to-date antivirus program installed on your computer. If you don't have one, consider installing reputable antivirus software.
Launch the antivirus program and initiate a full system scan. This comprehensive scan will search for and identify any viruses, adware, spyware, malware, and other security threats present on your computer.
Follow the prompts provided by the antivirus software to remove or quarantine any detected threats.
5. Use Specialized Tools:
Consider using additional tools specifically designed to combat adware and unwanted software, such as AdwCleaner or Ultra Adware Killer.
Download and install the chosen tool from a trusted source.
Run the tool and follow its instructions to scan your computer for adware and related components. These tools often provide additional functionalities like resetting proxy settings, deleting tracing keys, prefetching files, resetting network settings, etc.
Take appropriate actions recommended by the tool to remove or quarantine the identified adware and tracking cookies.
6. Utilize Private Browsing Mode or Clear Cookies on exit:
Most web browsers offer private browsing or incognito mode. Activate this mode when you want to browse the internet without leaving traces of your browsing history or cookies.
In private browsing mode, all browsing history and cookies are automatically deleted when you close the private browsing window.
Alternatively, you can configure your web browser to clear all cookies upon exit. This ensures that no persistent tracking cookies are stored on your computer.
Adware tracking cookies are a specific type of cookies associated with adware that aims to track users' online behavior and internet history. While cookies are generally intended to enhance the browsing experience, adware tracking cookies pose privacy concerns as they collect data for targeted advertising purposes.