Kind of a strange question: I'm teaching a class on removal of Adware and PUPs. To give people some experience, I'd like to give them VMs with adware intentionally installed and have them remove it. Unfortunately, finding some good adware to put on there is proving a bit difficult, since searching for it only brings up removal tools. The best adware will:

  • Include some kind of pop-up ad on any webpage on any of the three major browsers (Chrome, IE, Firefox)
  • Install a toolbar in any of the three major browsers
  • Be more difficult to remove than a benign program (ie, you can't just uninstall it from Programs and Features)
  • Include some kind of tracking capabilities
  • Download other adware
  • Other fun things (constantly re-opening programs saying my AV is out of date, setting up a proxy, etc)

However, it shouldn't be full-on malware. The people I'm teaching are by no means expert users. I don't want some kind of Crypto-Locker stuff, I don't want my VMs to be part of a botnet, and it can't be really hard to remove (so, doable with some decent removal tools). Also, it can't make any kind of attempt to propagate, survive anything beyond a cursory attempt to delete it, or break out of my VMs.

I'll be using Win 7 and 8, so adware that works on both is preferable.

  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because good answers cannot also comply with the SE ToS.
    – KnightOfNi
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 16:51
  • There are plenty of browser toolbars that qualify. They may not be adware, but most people consider them PUPs. Like the Ask Toolbar. If you search for posts from people having trouble uninstalling unwanted software, you may occassionally see the source mentioned (e.g. bundled with other software).
    – user416
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 8:09
  • @JanDoggen That's probably not "evil" enough for the OP. :)
    – dr_
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 11:01
  • 2
    I don’t think that asking for adware/malware would be off-topic here (or even against SE’s ToS). This particular question might be off topic for other reasons, though. But I’m not sure about it. I think we had similar questions in the past where it’s not really about the software itself, but about (a collection of) software used for some other purpose (e.g., where the software is more like data). --- See on Meta: Is looking for software as “data” within our scope?
    – unor
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 15:47
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    Also, the GWX "update" from Windows 7 and 8 closely resembles adware, and certainly behaves much like malware. It doesn't complies with the requirements here but it's an interesing challenge to clean the system from this plague.
    – Alejandro
    Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 3:24

2 Answers 2


Yes, there are many websites with malware (including adware). And yes, I also know this is an ultra-old question but it has no answer anyways so posting for future readers.


http://vxvault.net/ViriList.php VX Vault has lots of malware, but it's not sorted.

Watch this YouTube video for a lot more websites and important info about them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMDEvoeqaHA

  • Excellent! Since, as you mentioned, this question is pretty old, I'll just mark this as the accepted answer. It's definitely the best. Thanks!
    – KnightOfNi
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 2:28

Malware binaries (even mild malware like the one you're looking for) are only available to security researchers, and for a good reason. Additionally, it would both be illegal and against StackExchange TOS to post here link for malware download.

What you could do to infect yourself is to visit some freeware/shareware website, click on those fishy ads "Speed Up Your PC!!!", "Your PC Is Infected, Click Here To Clean It!!!" and let them install their crap. However, it is not guaranteed that it won't be hard to clean, so beware.

  • Yeah, that's just a kind of time-consuming (not to mention inexact) way to get it. I wasn't aware it was illegal to post links to malware binaries (although thanks for the heads up on the ToS). Closing this question so no one posts a link and gets in trouble with SE/a three-letter agency.
    – KnightOfNi
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 16:49
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    Which section(s) in the ToS are you referring to?
    – unor
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 7:43
  • @KnightOfNi You don't need to close this question, as you might get other useful tips apart from links to adware.
    – dr_
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 11:03
  • @unor Section #3: Subscriber represents, warrants and agrees that it will not contribute any Subscriber Content that (...) (e) contains a virus, trojan horse, worm, time bomb or other computer programming routine or engine that is intended to damage, detrimentally interfere with, surreptitiously intercept or expropriate any system, data or information.
    – dr_
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 14:01
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    @dr01: Thanks. I don’t think that section #3(e) applies here. It’s about "Subscriber Content", i.e., the actual content you post (which gets licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0), not the content of (external) links you post.
    – unor
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 15:37

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