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Potentially unwanted application (PUA)

What are potentially unwanted applications (PUAs)?

These are hidden applications, unknowingly downloaded alongside legitimate apps, which clutter your PC with ads, hijack your browsers, slow down your PC – and frequently collect data on what you click on.


How they spread

PUAs often get onto user’s PCs via social engineering tactics; legitimate applications trick the user to install additional software.

This tend to be done via:

  • Writing up a misleading description of the software
  • Claiming that the installation of additional software is mandatory
  • Installing additional software by default
  • Tricking the user into taking unnecessary actions

What they are after

PUAs can be extremely irritating. Among other things, they can collect information about your surfing habits and then transmit it to third parties without notification or consent. They can also hijack browsers to change default settings (search engine and start page).


Known cases

Some of the most commonly encountered PUAs include OpenCandy, InstallCore, and Media Get.


How to block PUAs

To protect yourself from PUAs, consider the following guidelines:

  • When downloading any software/app, be on the lookout for any pre-checked option boxes.
  • When it comes to terms and conditions, always read at least the title above the fine print to ensure that the terms are for the specific program(s) you want to download.
  • Read through the information in the top navigation bar of an installation wizard to catch names of unwanted programs.
  • Avira Free Antivirus blocks PUAs – even if you didn’t read the terms and conditions!
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Automatically renews, unless the renewal is cancelled. Subscription details below.*
Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Subscription details below.*
Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Price subject to change.
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Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Price subject to change.
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Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Price subject to change.
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Special offer for the 1st #cma_period# until #cma_promo_end_date#. Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Price subject to change.
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Special offer for the 1st #cma_period# until #cma_promo_end_date#. Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Price subject to change.
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Special offer until #cma_promo_end_date#: #cma_promo_price# — #cma_promo_saved_price# off the 1st #cma_period# price of #cma_promo_standard_price#. Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Price subject to change.
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Special offer until #cma_promo_end_date#: #cma_promo_price# — #cma_promo_saved_price# off the first 2 year price of #cma_promo_standard_price#. Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Price subject to change.
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Special offer until #cma_promo_end_date#: #cma_promo_price# — #cma_promo_saved_price# off the 1st #cma_period# price of #cma_promo_standard_price#. Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Price subject to change.
Subscription details below.*
Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Price subject to change.
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Special offer until #cma_promo_end_date#: #cma_promo_price# — #cma_promo_saved_price# off the 1st #cma_period# price of #cma_promo_standard_price#. Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Price subject to change.
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Special offer until #cma_promo_end_date#: #cma_promo_price# — #cma_promo_saved_price# off the first 2 year price of #cma_promo_standard_price#. Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Price subject to change.
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Special offer until #cma_promo_end_date#: #cma_promo_price# — #cma_promo_saved_price# off the 1st #cma_period# price of #cma_promo_standard_price#. Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Price subject to change.
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Payment method required. Special offer until #cma_promo_end_date#. When trial ends: paid subscription starts at #cma_promo_price# / 1st #cma_period# (#cma_promo_saved_price# off the 1st #cma_period# price of #cma_promo_standard_price#), and automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Price subject to change.
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Payment method required. Special offer until #cma_promo_end_date#. When trial ends: paid subscription starts at #cma_promo_price# / first #cma_period# (#cma_promo_saved_price# off the first 2 year price of #cma_promo_standard_price#), and automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Price subject to change.
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Payment method required. Special offer until #cma_promo_end_date#. When trial ends: paid subscription starts at #cma_promo_price# / 1st #cma_period# (#cma_promo_saved_price# off the 1st #cma_period# price of #cma_promo_standard_price#), and automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Price subject to change.
Offer details below.*
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Special offer for the 1st #cma_period# until #cma_promo_end_date#. Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Subscription details below.*
Special offer for the first #cma_period# until #cma_promo_end_date#. Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Subscription details below.*
Special offer for the 1st #cma_period# until #cma_promo_end_date#. Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Subscription details below.*
Special offer until #cma_promo_end_date#: #cma_promo_price# — #cma_promo_saved_price# off the 1st #cma_period# price of #cma_promo_standard_price#. Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Savings compared to the renewal price. Subscription details below.*
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Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Savings compared to the renewal price. Subscription details below.*
Special offer for the 1st #cma_period# until #cma_promo_end_date#. Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Subscription details below.*
Special offer for the first #cma_period# until #cma_promo_end_date#. Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Subscription details below.*
Special offer for the 1st #cma_period# until #cma_promo_end_date#. Automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Subscription details below.*
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Payment method required. Special offer for the first #cma_period# until #cma_promo_end_date#. When trial ends: paid subscription starts at #cma_promo_price# / first #cma_period# and automatically renews at #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#, unless the renewal is cancelled. Offer details below.*
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Payment method required. When trial ends: paid subscription starts and automatically renews, unless the renewal is cancelled. Price subject to change.
Offer details below.*
#cma_promo_price# — #cma_promo_saved_price# off the 1st #cma_period# price of #cma_promo_standard_price#. Then #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#.
#cma_promo_price# — #cma_promo_saved_price# off the first 2 year price of #cma_promo_standard_price#. Then #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#.
#cma_promo_price# — #cma_promo_saved_price# off the 1st #cma_period# price of #cma_promo_standard_price#. Then #cma_promo_renewal_price# / #cma_renewal_period#.
The remaining value left on your current subscription is converted into additional days in your new subscription.
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