What is Adware, What are PUPs.
The names may sound cute but neither of them are. Adware is software designed to infest your computer with pop-up ads. It displays and even downloads advertising material when you are online. These ads are where the maker of the website or search engine displaying the ads profits by the number of times you purchase products by clicking on the ads and in many cases just by clicking on the ads without a purchase they receive some money. Now they are required to post that they may profit from the ads you see on most websites. Without a doubt, cooking or recipe sites are the worst.
The money they receive is legitimate and they are not taking it from you but they are using your machine to make money without your permission. Many of them are also self propagating and will make copies of themselves to infect your friends and family. All of this may sound benign but they are not only using your resources to display these ads, you did not ask for them in the first place.
PUPS is an acronym for Potentially Unwanted Programs. The term was created to prevent antivirus companies from being sued by calling some programs spyware or malware when it was not. Some malicious software are hard to define and sometimes not outwardly malicious so they are listed by antivirus and similar programs as PUPs. In reality, PUPs can be adware, Crapware. As you might expect, Crapware is just a bunch of Crap that you did not ask to have installed on your computer.
Therefore, PUPs can be regular Malware or a Virus programs that have yet to be defined or they may be nothing more than a tracking cookie. In any case, you should not have programs PUP's or otherwise on your computer without your permission.
What Are Cookies
A "Browser Cookie" is a very small file that contains coded information that can track certain information about you. Not all cookies are bad. Some are very useful. When visiting a website like Ebay.com or Amazon.com, they might put a cookie on your computer so that the next time you visit the site it know who you are and can display your last visited item or make it so you do not have to enter your password again.
Most browsers give you the option to allow cookies or to prevent them. Some internet sites will not let you navigate them without letting you accept a cookie. The choice is yours, i believe that a setting of not accepting third party cookies is the best way to navigate. Third party cookies are cookies that do not belong to the site you visit but and advertiser that may be listed on that site. I never allow third party cookies.
What Are Tracking Cookies
These are versions of browser cookies that represent a threat to the security and safety of any of any information you may have entered online. These are specialized versions of cookies that record your entries and report them back the cookie's author or where the author wants your data to go.
Most free adware and spyware programs are very good and finding and eliminating tracking cookies. Use them frequently. Some optimizing software like CCleaner will remove all cookies that are not on a "cookie save" list. also know as a whitelist. Alternately the will eliminate and/or block all cookies on a blacklist.