Got pop-ups? Here are 3 ways to stop them, according to cybersecurity experts

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Pop-ups on your computer can in some cases be a sign of malware infection. (Photo: Getty)
Admittedly, if you come across a pop-up on your favorite website, it's annoying. Even so, within seconds you can simply click the little X in the corner and continue surfing.
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But if pop-ups happen to pop up on your computer and you are not browsing the internet, it is understandable that you are alarmed. What's going on here? And what exactly does that mean for the health of your computer? Computer security experts are breaking it open.
What's another pop-up?
Sure, chances are you've seen a pop-up at least once, but you might be a little blurry about what they actually are. Basically, pop-ups are online advertisements that appear when you visit a website.
"A pop-up is a graphic display, usually a small window, that appears unexpectedly on your computer," Mikko Laaksonen, chief executive officer of Responsible Cyber, told Yahoo Life. "The pop-up itself is not malicious, it is an advertisement." A lot of websites use pop-ups to try to sell you something or offer you a promo code before you go and that's pretty harmless.
But sometimes, pop-ups can be a sign that something is wrong with your computer. "Browser pop-ups can also indicate that unwanted code is running on your device," Joseph Steinberg, cybersecurity and emerging technology advisor, told Yahoo Life. "Pop-ups that appear on your computer outside of the limitations of a web browser are also often the result of malware infection." (Malware, in case you are unfamiliar with the term, is software designed to harm your computer or network.)
Even if the pop-ups do not appear to harm your computer, Steinberg points out that "unwanted adware is malware". When you see pop-ups on your computer, it is basically annoying at best and malicious at worst. In any case, you don't want to copy it.
Buy one: Malwarebytes Premium Multi-Device, 30-Day Free Trial, Then $ 4.99 Per Month, Subscriptions.yahoo.com
How to Stop Pop-ups Solution # 1: Get Anti-Malware Software
Laaksonen says anti-malware software is a "must have". Steinberg agrees, saying, "If you're already using security software, run a full system scan for malware." And if you don't currently have security software on your computer, Steinberg recommends getting it as soon as possible.
One option: Malwarebytes Premium. This software protects you from malware attacks, as well as online fraud and phishing schemes designed to steal your sensitive information, including login information and credit card numbers. Malwarebytes Premium can also warn you when you visit a suspicious website. In addition, Malwarebytes Premium helps block sophisticated cyber threats that other programs can miss, and is an effective way to keep your devices and data safe.
Buy one: Malwarebytes Premium Multi-Device, 30-Day Free Trial, Then $ 4.99 Per Month, Subscriptions.yahoo.com
Anti-malware software can protect your computer from malware attacks. (Photo: Getty)
How to stop pop-ups Solution # 2: check your web browser
Steinberg recommends checking your browser (i.e. Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer) to make sure there are no proxies configured to intercept and forward web traffic or unwanted plugins.
"If this advice sounds like techno jargon to you, consider uninstalling and reinstalling your web browser," Steinberg suggests. Basically, you may have to remove and reinstall your current browser to completely fix the problem.
How to Stop Pop-ups Solution # 3: Don't click Pop-ups
Clicking the pop-up can make the problem worse. “Do not buy anything that is offered to you in a pop-up via the pop-up. Don't interact with the pop-up, ”says Steinberg.
Laaksonen says this is especially the case if the pop-up promises you something, such as money or a random prize. "It would be helpful if you didn't click unfamiliar links or open attachments that claim a price or something you weren't expecting," he says.
You don't have to put up with pop-ups. (Photo: Getty)
How to stop pop-ups in the future
To prevent pop-ups, Steinberg recommends practicing good cyber hygiene - that is, making smart decisions online and using software to keep your computer free of malware. A couple of ways to do this, according to Steinberg:
Back up your computer and do this often. That way, if something goes wrong, you don't panic.
Encrypt sensitive data. Encryption is built into many versions of software packages, or you can use a free encryption tool.
Use anti-virus and anti-malware software. You don't have to spend a lot for it, but you want a package that is antivirus, anti-spam, and anti-malware. Once you have it, do a scan often.
Buy one: Malwarebytes Premium Multi-Device, 30-Day Free Trial, Then $ 4.99 Per Month, Subscriptions.yahoo.com
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