Drive-By Download

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What Does Drive-By Download Mean?

A drive-by download refers to any download to a computer or device that occurs without the owner’s consent. A drive-by download may occur simply from visiting a website or opening an email. Drive-by downloads can be spyware, adware, malware or even a legitimate program that the user simply doesn’t want.

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Techopedia Explains Drive-By Download

Drive-by downloads from websites and email can usually be stopped by antivirus software, but other types of drive-by downloads are trickier to remove. For example, if an individual loans his or her computer or device to a friend who then downloads unwanted applications, this qualifies as a drive-by download. Sometimes a user will install a program that he or she wants, only to find that a host of unwanted programs have been installed along with it. Drive-by downloads are annoying, but they can quickly become infuriating it there is no obvious way to uninstall them.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.