PUA guidelines

Potentially Unwanted Applications/ Programs

Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs)  or are applications that are not malicious in the traditional sense of the word but rather, from a user’s perspective, behave in an unwanted manner. There are many different reasons (some obvious and some less so) that cause a user to perceive an application as unwanted.
They sometimes come bundled with freeware software, and even if you can use the software at no additional costs, it will display pop-ups or install a toolbar in the default browser, changing the homepage or the search engine.

Some of them will also run several processes in the background, slowing down the computer or will display numerous ads. These programs can be installed without your consent (also called adware) or will be included by default in the express installation kit.

Here are the criteria used to classify a software as PUA or PUP:


  • Asks for malicious or insecure permissions
  • Ask for permissions it shouldn’t need to fulfill its promoted purpose


  • Uses user’s identity to send or post content
  • Uses user’s identity without explicit consent


  • Changing browser settings without consent (default page, search engine, etc.)
  • Installs browser add-ons/plugins without consent

Misleading/Scary information

  • Shows misleading information about performed actions
  • Displays threatening or scary messages
  • Uses misleading language and graphics with a specific intent (to purchase, take some actions, etc.)

Publisher information

  • Contains incorrect and/or incomplete details regarding brand ownership or license
  • Digital certificates used are invalid
  • Fails to display an End User License Agreement (EULA) and a Privacy Agreement


  • It is missing uninstall information
  • Can’t be uninstalled completely


  • It shows or performs a malicious behavior
  • It installs or offers malicious apps


  • It installs directly other software without consent
  • It performs actions on the computer unrelated to its promoted functionality


  • It shows mandatory offers
  • It misleads the user via unclear defaults to install unwanted software
  • Performs SEO Poisoning

How to report a false detection or request a review

If you think that the detection was done in error, please email us at [email protected]