Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Dangerous Downloads on Legit Sites


By Bill Pytlovany

There are a large number of websites that provide useful reviews and what seems like easy ways to download free software. Unfortunately, these websites also sell ads and allow advertisers to use well known software as keywords in their ads. The result is users often end up with software they can’t remove from their computer instead of what they were looking for.

Here’s an example of the page you’ll get if you search the popular download site, cnet’s for WinPatrol. 
Click image to enlarge.


Click any image to enlarge

You can see WinPatrol at the bottom of the page but if you’re not paying attention you might easily click on “Start Download”.  The resulting download is not something you want on your system.  My laptop is currently using the add-on Web of Trust which immediately warned me something was wrong.

blog2Btw… if you’re interested, don’t search Google for “Web of Trust”.  Instead of WOT, you’ll find a dangerous download using its keyword which I’ll talk more about below. Go to if you’d like check out WOT.

Not all but some of the other downloads advertising on the page are also dangerous. For instance, the link that says “Spybot – Free Download” will not take you to the real Spybot – Search & Destroy program.

Beware of Search Engine Results

Even search engines like Google and Bing are selling search ads to bogus programs using the keywords of popular legitimate programs.  If you search Google for “WinPatrol” you may be tricked into clicking on a dangerous deceptive link.

Article continued here

This post is excerpted with Bill’s permission from his blog

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