Business Cyber Security

What Is Bloatware? How to Identify and Remove It

There are some expectations a person has when they purchase a new device, whether it be a smartphone or a new computer. It needs to perform better than your old device, and it should run the top-of-the-line programs without any problems.

Unfortunately, it seems brands like Samsung and Microsoft never got the memo. When you purchase one of their new, top-of-the-line products, you also end up with a ton of unnecessary bloatware.

Just like a clean desk, it’s important to clear out your device of any extra or unused software taking up space such as pre-installed programs.

But what is bloatware exactly and is all of it as bad as the name implies? Keep reading to learn more about online security.

Pre-Installed Bloatware

The term bloatware refers to any software installed on a device that takes up excessive disk space or performs worse than another similar program. In most cases, bloatware is integrated into the operating system to the point where you can’t completely uninstall it.

However, whether or not a program counts as such depends on the user and the supporting development team.

For example, Samsung phones and Galaxy Tabs come with a plethora of preinstalled apps such as NewsBrief, Health, and more. While users can remove some of these apps, there are those, like Galaxy Store, that they can’t delete.

The problem is that Android’s Play Store already fulfills the functionality of Galaxy Store. Other news apps also do what NewsBrief does and are compatible with other smart devices.

Meanwhile, Apple Music offers the same type of service as its competitors, but is well-supported by its developers. It also integrates well with all of Apple’s different products.

Alternatively, you can run into bloatware that comes from new external hardware, like a printer or a drawing tablet. Even if you already own a suitable program, the company will try to push their own versions onto customers.

How Bloatware Compromises Your Online Security

Even though bloatware may seem like a minor annoyance at best, it can actually compromise your technology. In fact, some people actually go out of their ways to hack their devices in order to erase bloatware despite the risks.

The problem lies in the nature of bloatware. Oftentimes, they’re apps or software that people don’t care about and thusly don’t get the kind of support they need from their developers. This opens them up to all kinds of liabilities.

Decreased Processing Speeds

Generally speaking, bloatware takes up a lot of space on your device. Not only does this mean less space for the apps you actually care about, but it also means your device will run slower.

Additionally, some pre-installed apps run constantly in the background, even if you’re not using them. Unless you know to delete or stop them, you may find your phone or tablet isn’t performing as expected.

Waste of Space

Your smartphone may come with dozens of programs that you will never touch or use. While some can get uninstalled, others only allow you to disable them. Many Android device users go to the lengths of rooting them solely to get rid of these unnecessary programs.

Digital Security Risk

One of the best ways to keep your programs and apps secure is to update them regularly. However, bloatware often includes older software that hasn’t received any updates in a while. That creates a security risk that opens up your entire network to a data breach.

There have also been situations in the past where software updates actually brought Trojan viruses into operating systems. If a program hasn’t been updated in a while, it only takes an opportunistic hacker to upload a fake update.

Since so many people rely on smartphone technology in today’s work culture, your business security could be at risk through your employees. Phishing protection and scam protection can only do so much if you don’t deal with passive threats like bloatware.

Dealing With Bloatware

Freeing your computer and smart devices of bloatware is simple enough in most cases.

When you first turn on a Windows computer, always make sure to look through the list of installed apps. You can find those in the settings, where every app should be listed.

Go through and uninstall whatever you don’t recognize. If you’re not sure about something, look it up online to see what it’s for. You can also look for certain programs online that can help you determine what’s safe to uninstall.

As for your mobile device, once again look for installed apps inside your settings. Disable anything that you can’t uninstall, and watch as your device regains some storage space.

 

Popular Alternatives

Bloatware is a security risk, especially when there are better alternatives out there. The security software previously installed may claim to protect your device, but it most likely won’t offer phishing protection.

Microsoft Defender is one of the few exceptions, as it does offer decent protection from viruses, trojans, and other malware. It also comes installed with any Windows device.

To maximize your digital security, make sure every user in your company has the same protection installed. It’s also important to teach them best practices on scam protection and avoiding malware.

Online Security

Your company’s online security is more important than ever with the rise in cybercrime around the world. Bloatware on your devices don’t help with that. Instead, they can act as a way into your device and to your information.

Deleting all that bloatware may seem like a lot of effort, but it’ll save you down the line. You’ll also clear up space for more important programs and files.

If your company needs help managing its tech and other IT problems, contact DSS today.

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