What is a PUP? It is short for the potentially unwanted program, which is used as a subjective tagging criterion by security and parental control products. Now read this post from MiniTool to get more detailed information about the PUP virus.

What Is a PUP?

What is a PUP? It is a program that unwanted. Now let’s get some information about its definition and origin.


What is a PUP’s definition? PUP is the abbreviation of a potentially unwanted program, which can be perceived as unwanted. PUP can also be called bundleware, junkware, or PUA (potentially unwanted application).

The term “potentially unwanted programs” was coined by the global computer security software company McAfee, when marketing companies began to oppose the fact that their products were classified as “spyware,” even if they contained all information related to informed consent.

More and more open-source software projects express frustration on third-party websites, which bundle their downloads with unwanted software packages without project knowledge or consent. Almost every third-party free download site bundles its download content with potentially harmful software.

In the download agreement of the product, users rarely read the entire download agreement before checking the “I agree” box, so the PUP will be automatically downloaded and installed on the computer.

PUP is rarely useful. For example, the browser toolbar will only clutter your screen, track browsing, pop up other advertisements, and in most cases will only slow down your computer.

Related post: How to Prevent Ransomware? 7 Tips to Prevent Ransomware


What is a PUP’s origin? Historically, the earliest large companies that cooperated with PUPs to create revenue appeared in the United States in the mid-2000s, such as Zango. After investigating the company and, in some cases, the competent authority conducted an investigation into the company for invasive and harmful installations, these activities declined.

A major industry dedicated to generating revenue by strengthening PUP has grown in the Israeli software industry and is often referred to as Download Valley. These companies are responsible for most of the download and installation tools, which place unnecessary additional software on the user’s system.

How to Avoid PUP Virus?

What is a PUP? After reading the above text, you should know its definition and origin. This part we will give you some suggestions on how to avoid the PUP virus.

1. Recognize Dark Patterns

The dark pattern is a user interface deliberately designed to deceive people. For instance, it is difficult to find newsletters with unsubscribe buttons or websites that confuse customer service contact information (this is a dark pattern). Here are some other dark modes to be aware of:

  • Pre-filled checkboxes (Software programs like Unchecky scan for third-party software protocols and unchecked options that cause PUP, but they may not capture everything.)
  • Add an unofficial “seal” as a reputation indicator.
  • Emphasize the desired path (the “Skip” button is grayed out, the “Next” button is brightly colored).
  • Misleading (hide free or cheap options).

2. Read Through Install Wizard Instructions Carefully

PUPs can be publicly hidden in the installation wizard because their manufacturers understand that most users tend to skip these steps to start their intended program. In order to avoid the PUP in the show, you should:

  • Read the information in the navigation bar at the top of the installation wizard to capture the names of unwanted programs.
  • Do not accept the recommended standard, fast, default, or other installation settings. Always choose custom. The installation wizard may call it “advanced” in parentheses, but this is actually dark mode. Custom settings are not advanced.

3. Read Through EULAs Carefully

EULA is the standard End User License Agreements for all downloads. They are a legal contract between you and the manufacturer of the software program you are downloading. EULAs are always there and are flooded with legal jargon, which is why most people skip them and go directly to the “I accept” button. However, the manufacturer of the PUP can legally slide its program into your computer in the EULA. To avoid this situation: Don’t accept terms of use that are for bundled programs.

4. Improve Security

Although careful inspection of software downloads is the best protection against PUPs, network security programs can provide you with some valuable help. Installing some additional layers of defense can help avoid PUPs that require large amounts of RAM. You may want to purchase or download the following:

  • Ad blocker/pop-up blocker
  • Anti-spyware
  • Anti-malware

Related post: The Different Types of Malware and Useful Tips to Avoid Them

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