What is PUP (Potentially Unwanted Programs)?

What is PUP

PUP acronym of “potentially unwanted programs” or “possibly unwanted programs” are the programs which are responsible for creating security issue. Sometimes, we call them as riskware, offerware, grayware etc. and  we can not divide  these kinds of programs into different  categories as adware, browser hijacker, dialer, scareware, system tools, spyware and so on. Because its characteristics are similar to every malware present around us.

Generally, people mistake to count it as an adware or computer virus. But, if we go technically PUP is a program which might be undesirable, in spite of the option that you agreed to download it. Potentially unwanted programs comprise adware, spyware, and dialers.

PUPs are different from other categories of malware, for example Trojans, viruses, worms and so on. Which may be securely supposed to be undesirable for you.

Ways of infiltration

Security exposure: Typically, PUPs penetrate any PC by manipulating security openness of computer’s operating system. Generally, PUPs don’t have any installation wizards and do not require any approval to affect computer.

Other viruses: PUPs can also infiltrate the PC with the help of other parasites, such as Trojan, worms, backdoors, or viruses. They target PC without user’s consent and try to affect the system.

Illegitimate and malicious websites: The most eminent way of spreading the malware is malicious website. These sites contain infected pornographic content. But sometimes, it also gets spread by visiting a game or mp3 songs download. Attackers usually injects the malicious content in the downloads and other contents.

E-mail: Some of the fake or promotional e-mails contain links which redirect to exploit security issues in your web browser. As you click on that link or spam e-mail the browser redirects you to that malicious web site which has stealthy PUPs. And, would run every time you start the window.

Malvertising: Malvertising (malicious advertising), PUPs are also spread via advertisements and links. These advertisements can mask themselves as updates needed for software, some kind of information about price reductions and so on. And, as you click on that link or ads PUPs invade to that system and create unusual activities.

USB devices: most of the PUPs come from USB device such as CD or DVD, pen drives and other. When these removable media connect to system, looks for autorun.inf and automatically executes the malevolent file to execute the task silently in the computer.


PC performance issues:  If you are facing trouble of frequently computer crashes or slowing down of PC. Then your PC must have Potentially unwanted program (PUP). Because, it activates in the background and attenuate hard drive resources.

Unsolved behavior: If things are happening that you don’t initiate. Then, you might have infiltration of PUPs in your system. It starts to generate mysterious toolbars undeletable, unexplainable change in home page settings and suspicious result of search.

Pop-ups and spam: PUPs are also responsible for displaying Pop-up ads, in-text ads, banner ads and many more. And, these pop ups can activate the PUPs to hijack the web browser and it can capture the information of your computer. Moreover, PUPs can redirect you to sponsored search results.


You can be safe from any PUP by applying good practices of using computer. And, most importantly keep a good and reliable anti-malware program in your computer. In order to keep safe your computer from any malware.