What is PUP?

If you find some random applications appearing on your system that you do not remember installing, they might be Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs).

Let us know more about PUP, how it gets an entry on your system, and how to prevent it.

What is PUP?

As its acronym suggests, PUP or Potentially Unwanted Programs are the software that users never intended to download and install into their devices but still get stuck with them. PUP is also known by other names like Bundleware, Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA), Bloatware, or Junkware.

Technically, a PUP is not malware and cannot create destructions like Trojans and Ransomware on your system. Still, they can highly slow down the system, take unnecessary disk space, add excessive add-ons in the browser, display irrelevant ads, and create a path for other dangerous malware programs to infiltrate your device. It is therefore critical to remove PUPs as soon as you spot them.

How PUP enter my device?

As they are 'unwanted' programs, PUPs generally enter the user's system without permission. Here are the top gateways of the PUP's entry on your PC:

  • Through a bundled software. A bundled software is the one that brings additional unwanted applications along with its installer. If the user is inattentive while installing that software, the bundled application would also get installed along with the primary one. That additional application is generally a PUP.

  • Download Portals are another major pathway for the PUPs entry. When you visit any freeware download site, you might have seen multiple Download buttons. Out of those, only the one is real for which you are on that site. If you accidentally clicked any other Download button other than the intended one, you can trigger the download and installation of a PUP.

  • If you have installed a program long back for some purpose and don't require it anymore and the program is still there on your system, technically, it is also a PUP.

  • Fake software can also introduce PUPs as a useful tool for the system.

The ironic thing about the PUPs is, although they are 'unwanted' by the users, a PUP rarely gets installed in the user's device without its intervention.

What are the indications of the presence of a PUP?

When a PUP gets installed on your device, you will experience the following problems:

  • The system will drastically get slow down since the PUP is consuming the computing power.

  • You will notice some random, unknown applications installed on your system that you never downloaded or installed.

  • Random ads will be displayed on your application's screens and browser.

  • You will get pop-ups that would ask you to download or install malware removal applications.

How to remove PUP from the system?

Removing a PUP from the system is relatively easy compared to other malware programs. Follow these steps to get rid of it:

  • Open the Control Panel and navigate to Uninstall Programs.

  • Carefully look for the programs that you don't remember installing.

  • Uninstall them one by one.

  • Open your web browser and go to the extensions page.

  • Point out the extensions that are suspicious or irrelevant to you. Disable or permanently delete those web extensions or add-ons.

  • If you find the above steps overwhelming, get your system an all-rounder security solution. It would find and list out all the Potentially Unwanted Applications.

How to prevent PUPs from entering your device?

It is better to block the entry of PUPs on your system, as they might create havoc later. Here are some measures you can take for that purpose.

  • While installing software, always monitor its installation process and uncheck any additional application installation.

  • Carefully read the End User License Agreement (EULA) that comes with every software. Before ticking the "I Accept" check box, verify that the software is not asking permission to install an additional toolbar with it. Generally, users click the "I Accept" button or box and legally allow the software developers to install a PUP into their PC.

  • Avoid downloading applications from untrustworthy or unverified sites. Software programs on such websites generally come bundled with additional PUPs.

  • Always keep installed a robust security solution on your device. Security programs are designed to block the entry of malware and PUPs and remove them from the system.