Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP)

Definition - What does Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP) mean?

A potentially unwanted program (PUP) is a piece of software that is also downloaded when a user downloads a specific program or application. PUP is similar to malware in that it will cause problems when it is downloaded and installed.

This term was coined by Internet security company McAfee to avoid labeling downloadable programs as malware. What makes a PUP different from malware is that the user gives consent to download it. When the user downloads a program from the Internet and neglects to read the download agreement, he or she may fail to understand what other unwanted programs are being downloaded.

Techopedia explains Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP)

Generally, PUPs have undesirable effects on a user's computer. Once downloaded, a PUP may run various background processes that slow the computer down, or it may display numerous annoying advertisements. The sole purpose of these applications is not discovered until they have been installed and run. Most often, PUPs are downloaded and installed with legitimate applications, and users are unaware of these additional installations because they do not read agreements thoroughly.
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