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Prohibited Content: Malware, phishing, and disallowed software behavior
Prohibited Content: Malware, phishing, and disallowed software behavior
Malgorzata Pietruszka avatar
Written by Malgorzata Pietruszka
Updated over a week ago

Malicious and unwanted software

Promotion or distribution of malicious or unwanted software is prohibited:

  • Malicious software - software which performs malicious actions on the user’s device, such as compromising personal and financial information or security protocols. Malicious software includes but is not limited to trojan, worms, ransomware, trojan clicker, trojan spy, backdoor trojan, exploit, macro virus, virtool, dropper, rogue security software, password stealer, obfuscator, hacktool, virus, spyware (including recording actions performed on the user's device such as keystroke logging) and scareware.

  • Unwanted software - software that does not expressly fall under the definition of malicious software but still includes functionality that limits or denies users’ choice and control of the experience on their own devices or may otherwise compromise user computing experience and/or the performance of the user’s device, browser, operating system or even publisher properties.


The following is a non-exhaustive list of definitions and activities of malware and security threats that will be subject to immediate removal:

  • The ads contain any script intended to mine the user’s personal data.

  • Ads that auto-redirect to any location or take a user out of an app or browser.

  • Ads that include fake virus warnings or other “scareware” tactics, software updates, or phishing content.

  • Direct links to executable files, reinstalls, or apps that alter installed software.

  • Ads that click to or event-tracker links to malicious domains.

  • Ads that use any script intended to mine cryptocurrency.

  • Ads that initiate auto-dialing a phone number.

  • Ads that alter the content or page layout of the publisher's site.

  • Ads that have a general impact on performance, reliability, and quality of the user’s computing experience (e.g., slow computer performance, reduced productivity, corruption of the operating system, or other issues).

  • Ads that have a negative impact on the security of the user’s computer or attempt to circumvent or disable security, including but not limited to evidence of malicious behaviors. 

  • Ads that use any form of cloaking technology intended to obfuscate any portion of an ad from scanning, audits, or any user segment.


Phishing sites that try to trick visitors into sharing personal data for fraudulent purposes, such as stealing one’s identity, for example, are prohibited.

Software disallowed behaviors

  • Software must not include malicious or unwanted software.

  • Software must not create any unexpected behaviors. The software must behave consistently with the declared behavior and functionalities at installation.

  • Software must not perform activities that are hidden from the user or otherwise attempt to hide its presence or operation on the device unless for legitimate background processes (which would be disclosed to users at installation).

  • Software must not be designed to evade, circumvent, or impair security checks, antimalware, operating system and browser security scans and protection, or spam filters.

  • Downloads must not alter, reconfigure, or disable existing software or settings installed on the user’s device without clear disclosure and consent from the user before installation.

  • Software must not inhibit or otherwise limit the user`s ability to control and change settings on the device.

  • Software that automatically dials a phone number or connects remotely to another device or system without legitimate reasons and/or user consent is prohibited.

  • Alerts or other technologies must not attempt to mislead users into believing something is wrong with their device that needs fixing when this is not the case (e.g., scareware) or otherwise misrepresent or make exaggerated claims about system health and performance (for example, by claiming that the system performance will improve by removing files that do not positively affect system performance).

  • PC cleaner/optimization software should provide error details to further specify their claims, as opposed to merely stating the presence of a certain number of issues.

  • Free downloads must not be made conditional to any form of consideration, including a sign-up or the provision of a cellular phone number (except in the event where sign-up/account creation needs to be validated by the user, such as an email account creation validated via text message, or a required app store account creation for example).

  • Software must not weaken or attempt to compromise the security and/or protection of the user device or attempt to disclose any of the personal or sensitive information of the end user.

  • Software may not replace, add to or remove from the webpage by injecting content or causing site content not to display from a source with which the site owner does not have an affiliation.

  • Software must not limit the user’s control or programmatic control of the user’s browser default search settings, home page, and new tab, either through additional questioning/prompts or other means of prevention when a change to the default search, home page, or new tab settings is attempted.

  • Unsigned software is not allowed. All software must be digitally signed by its author(s) using a valid certificate issued by a reputable certification authority.

  • Unauthorized distribution is not allowed. Advertisers and partners may only distribute software that they are authorized to distribute.

  • Software that changes the browsing experience must adhere to the browser’s and/or operating system’s respective supported extensibility models and policies.

  • Users must be able to abort software installation before completion through a standard “close” button. Aborted installations must be complete in that no traces of the software remain on the device (including discarding any selections made prior to abort).

  • Installation programs may only present one single dialog prompt confirming user intent to abort in clear, straightforward language.

  • If a user declines an offer or cancels the install before the installation process is completed, software may not place any shortcuts on the user’s device to continue the installation at a later time.

  • Changes to the user’s device and settings, including changes to the search providers, homepages, local file systems, and other configurations and user's settings, must be easily reversible without negative impact.

  • Undisclosed files that are unnecessary or unrelated to the software being installed must not be installed or delivered.

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