What is Pornware?

Pornware is the name given to a class of programs that display pornographic material on a device. In addition to the programs that some users may deliberately install on their computers and mobile devices – to search for and display pornographic material – Pornware also includes programs that have been maliciously installed, without the user having any knowledge of their presence. Often, the purpose of unrequested Pornware is to advertise fee-based pornographic websites and services.

How Pornware can impact you

Malware developers can exploit unpatched vulnerabilities – within commonly used applications or the operating system – in order to install Pornware on a user's computer, tablet, or smartphone. In addition, Trojans – such as Trojan-Downloader and Trojan-Dropper – can be used to infect a device with Pornware. Examples of Pornware include:

  • Porn-Dialer
    This type of program dials ‘adult content’ phone services, telephone numbers, and / or a special code.
    Unlike malicious programs, dialer programs notify the user of their actions.
  • Porn-Downloader
    This behavior downloads pornographic media files to the user’s computer, from the Internet.
    Unlike malicious programs, Porn-Downloaders notify the user of their actions.
  • Porn-Tool
    Porn-Tool programs search for and display pornographic material on the user’s computer – for example, special toolbars for Internet browsers and special video players.

How to protect yourself against Pornware

Because Pornware may have been deliberately downloaded by a user, antivirus solutions may not be able to determine whether a specific Pornware program poses a threat to the user’s device. Kaspersky Lab products give users the option on whether to detect Pornware – and how to react to it:

  • Detecting and removing Pornware
    There may be many reasons why the user suspects that a Pornware program – that has been detected by Kaspersky’s antivirus engine – is posing a threat.  For example, the user may not have installed the program and doesn’t know where the program came from – or the user may have read a description of the program on Kaspersky’s website and now has concerns over its safety.  Whenever the user needs to remove Pornware, Kaspersky’s antivirus software will help the user to get rid of the Pornware program.
  • Choosing not to detect Pornware
    In some cases where Pornware programs are detected, the user may be confident that these are programs that they have deliberately downloaded – so the user may decide that the programs are not harming their devices or data.  Kaspersky products let the user disable the option to detect these programs – or let the user add specific programs to a list of exceptions – so that the antivirus engine doesn’t flag this Pornware as malicious.