Downloading – Danger Signs

Downloading – Danger Signs

By Bob Rankin

Bob Rankin points out more danger signs for those looking for software on popular download sites.–PC Pitstop.

Downloading? Watch Out For These Danger Signs

A while ago, I wrote about the problem of foistware, software that sneaks in during a download, without your knowledge or explicit consent. I fingered CNET for their Six-Part Horror Story that downloaders must endure. Today we’ll look at two other popular download sites, to see if they are guilty of the same shenangigans…

Is It Still Safe to Download?

There are plenty of rogue sites on the Web, offering downloads that are either fake or malicious. But when we go looking for software downloads, we should be able to trust the big names like CNET, ZDNet, Adobe, Oracle and Tucows that have been around forever, right? Sadly, the answer is not always.

In my previous article DOWNLOAD ALERT: Foistware Warning, I wrote about the pervasive problem of foistware, and named names. If you’ve ever downloaded Adobe Reader or Java, you’ve experienced the problem of unwanted toolbars, sneaky downloads, and changes to your browser settings.

The problem is especially bad at CNET’s site, and they deserve to be shunned and scorned for it.

In today’s article, I’m looking at two other popular download sites, ZDNet and Tucows. Both have been around since the early days of the Internet, but at least one of them should be added to your “Do Not Visit” list. Let’s take a look at both, and see how it goes while trying to download CCleaner, a popular Windows utility program.

Downloading? Watch Out For These Danger Signs

Excerpt shared with permission from Bob Rankin.

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15 thoughts on “Downloading – Danger Signs

  1. Next time please read the installation dialogue, ma'am. You should then opt not to install items you don't want bundled with the installers.
    Meantime, you can simply uninstall them from the "Add/Remove Programs'. Another way is to disable them from your browser's Settings menu, or from Internet Options > Advanced> Enable/Disable Add-ons.
    Hope this helps, ma'am.

  2. When typing into the search bar for drivers I've noticed that the links offered by one from '' comes first. I've clicked on it once & was immediately warned that this is a bad site by my AVG security, so I ignore it afterwards. But what about those not warned? Isn't there a way to put these perpetrators behind bars? If there's anything I could do I'd be glad to help, Mr. Rankin. Meanwhile you could post a warning about clicking on this link. Thank you and warm regards to you, sir.

  3. Get a different Web Browser once a month. Learn to use Google Chrome & Firefox. When you get new copies once a month, you get rid of all the pop ups, plug ins, cookies etc. The new copies will be faster too.

  4. I use Spybot S&D, Spy Hunter, Reg Hunter, Trojan Hunter and Microsoft Security Essentials. I have never had any conflict between any of these. You will be surprised when you run the 1st 4 of these. I was infected with 11 Trojans and thousands of other nastys. I have run these for over 7 years and my machine is always clean as an enema.

  5. As a fellow IT tech and professional .The above info is very correct and I am throwing my hat it to the ring and to what to do.Maybe different variations or programs that will help you in this fight to get rid of unwanted spyware.
    In my fight with this spyware,
    1st defense is with malware bytes-anti malware ,try to update then run the scan first.
    2nd is try running and updating super anti spyware ,now has a box to check to remove unwanted programs ,let it look for them first after you update.
    Then run eset online scanner google it it’s free.
    If all else fails then try going to control panel and looking for programs and if they hide look by date write them down and try to remove but before you do always try to back up and or create system restore point just in case.
    I hope this helps.

  6. Be very careful when deleting the unwanted ‘foistware’ which may have ridden piggy – back on the requested download from CNET. If it is possible to remove using safe mode do so. I just went to Control Panel and crashed the whole system as soon as I pressed the Remove tab. The damage was severe and my pc has not been the same since!!

  7. Of course one way is to periodically check via the Control Panel and the Uninstall Option, what programs are on your computer. Every time I download anything I double check by date what programs are there and uninstall the 'junk' that sneaks in !

  8. try this – “control panel,”
    Uninstall a program
    click 1st column, sort by name
    Find name (i.e. zone alarm)
    click program – click uninstall, uninstall
    restart computer
    let me know outcome

  9. so thats where those toolbars and browser hijacks came from ….i thought cnet and the like were clean i had reformat my computer to get rid of them …use filehippo to get latest and best programs thats free with no crapware

  10. Everytime I read one of your updates, I see certain words in green print with underlines. If I put my cursor on it, an ad pops-up. At the top, it has Ad Choices. If I click on that, I get the Kontera web page explaining everything. It also has highlights that tell me to click on it if I no longer want those ads but when I do click on it, nothing happens.
    How do I eliminate that crapware from appearing on your articles?

  11. I really dislike tool bars that come with every download .I've got 2 tool bars I can't seem to get rid of. One came from ZoneAlarm, and the other is a search engine for some fool thing.

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