Tuesday 2 April 2013

6 Ways Toolbars are Hurting Your User Experience

Got toolbar-overload? Toolbars can be incredibly useful—but also a gigantic pain that slows down your browser and causes total frustration. The worst toolbars are those that you never actually wanted to install, but unknowingly accepted as an add-on for a purchase or app download. If you’re not careful, you could end up with multiplying toolbars that are totally clogging up your browser—and possibly stealing your identity.
  1. Toolbars can multiply over time. When you install a new version of your browser, you’re usually asked to automatically install a new version of the toolbar as well. But that doesn’t mean the old version disappeared. If you go through this process several times, you could end up with half a dozen versions of the same toolbar clogging up your browser without even realizing it. The more toolbars you have installed, the longer your search results and pages will take to load.

  1. Toolbars can be spyware. Some toolbars are designed to track your habits across the web or target unwanted advertisements. But these toolbars can cause major frustrations. In addition to crowding your browser, you may be getting pornographic pop-up windows out of nowhere and your search results could be wonky.

In some cases, these toolbars can cause a slew of ads and pop-ups to appear when you’re trying to access a legitimate site, causing you to have to close half a dozen or more spam windows before you’re able to view the content you’re trying to access. Few things are more frustrating than being inundated with pop-up windows that prevent you from accessing the legitimate search results you’re trying to click on.

  1. You might be running toolbars you don’t even know you have. Many spyware and adware toolbars slyly install themselves without your knowledge. If you’re getting strange pop-up windows, you could have an incognito toolbar that’s messing with your user experience.

There are tools you can use to remove some of the better-known malicious toolbars, such as Utorrent, Toolbar Buddy and Facemoods.  If you suspect you have unapproved toolbars running in the background slowing down your browser speed, you can check to see which toolbars are installed in your browser’s settings.

  1. Toolbars could be stealing your identity.  Some of the more advanced spyware toolbars act as key-loggers, tracking both your web activity and your usernames and passwords. Armed with this information, hackers can obtain valuable personal data, including financial information, to steal your identity, use your credit cards and much worse.

  1. Toolbars can trick you into thinking you’ve removed them. When you’re trying to remove a toolbar, make sure you’re following the right protocol. Otherwise, you might think you’ve successfully removed it by right-clicking and selecting “remove.” But in reality, all you’ve probably accomplished is hiding it from view—allowing it to continue doing its dirty work behind the scenes, without your knowledge. For how to remove toolbars.

  1. Toolbars can act as portals for viruses and malware. Even toolbars that appear safe on the surface take up additional resources to run in your browser. Because they’re installed, they have a higher level of access to your machine than a stand-alone website would have. If you have one of these toolbars installed and you’re taken to an advertisement that contains malicious files, the toolbar could be the very thing that creates an access channel for the code to enter your browser, machine and even your entire network.
If you’re being inundated with strange pop-ups and advertisements or if your browser seems to be running unusually slow, you might have some shady toolbars installed. Removing these pesky add-ons will not only improve your user experience, but it might just save you from identity theft.

Katelyn is a freelance writer who frequently creates content on behalf of Guardi.us, an Internet security blog with a particular focus on providing resources to help users learn how to remove toolbars and other unwanted software and plugins.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic piece of information. Thanks for sharing ... !


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