We’ve all been there….you visit a website, and it’s so overrun with advertisements and pop-ups that you don’t know where to click next to keep reading the actual story you came to the page for.  Lately- especially on mobile devices, and when following articles posted on Facebook- these click-bait advertisements quickly take over the entire screen, leaving even the most experienced “web-connesuers” questioning where is legit to click next.  If it’s hard for them- imagine how much harder it is for those who aren’t experienced online, and how quickly they can fall into a trap and end up clicking on advertisements that install malware or hijack their machine!

Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to protect yourself online from things like this.

  1. Install an AdBlocker on your Computer.  An ad-blocker is a safe and easy add-on to your machine that will automatically help stop popups and block advertisements from showing on the page.  It doesn’t block everything, but it does a good job at getting rid of the masses.  We recommend https://adblockplus.org, because it’s free, trustworthy, and reliable. Simply go to the site and install, and it will take care of the rest.  There are others out there, but be careful and make sure they’re legitimate, and not spyware or a virus themselves.
  2. Consider Smartphone AdBlockers.  Don’t forget about your smartphone too!  There are a few different kinds of protection for smartphones: ad-blockers that work like the ones on your computer, and complete alternate browsers that are built for blocking ads and minimizing distractions on your screen. Apple iPhone users can check out 1Blocker, AdBlock Plus, and AdGuard, while Android users can consider Adblock Browser, and AdGuard.  Before trying out these apps, read the reviews in the App Store and see which is right for you and what you would like to block- they each work a little differently, but should significantly help readability on your phone!
  3. Run A Malware Scan.  Sometimes, once malware or spyware is installed on your computer, it will cause popups to be more prevalent and more frequent.  We recommend everyone use MalwareBytes and do a scan at least every few weeks to make sure there’s nothing rogue running in the background on your machine.  Consider purchasing a license for the program if you want it to periodically and automatically run the scans for you, versus you having to remember to do it manually every so often.  Yes, you need to use this in conjunction with valid, paid, antivirus software for the best protection- it doesn’t protect against computer viruses, but is the best spyware remover hands down.  We recommend this for all PC’s and Mac’s (yes, Mac’s can get popups and spyware too!)

Setting up these options should help your computer run faster and more efficiently online, and with less distractions from advertisements.  It’s sad that in order to increase revenue advertisers have had to stoop to these low levels to get us to see their ads….but luckily they’re easy enough to minimize, if not eliminate with a few simple tweaks to your machine.  Don’t forget to share these tips with the less tech-savvy in your life- pass these on to your neighbors and parents- and help them set it up….at the least it will make their browsing experience more enjoyable, and it will probably protect them from potential electronic harm!