The dangers of free software downloads cannot be overstated. With careful installation, a computer is protected from at least 95% of computer viruses and malware. To protect yourself from adware and other pitfalls, avoid clicking on bright buttons or Call-to-Actions. Hackers often prefer aggressive communication over passive methods, and a frightening CTA could mean malware. Using common sense is the best defense against these risks.
Malware and spyware are notorious for capturing private data, including credit card numbers. Spyware can even spy on your online activity and view private files. You may not even be aware that spyware is being bundled with free software. Bundling malicious software with legitimate software is an easy process that only requires a quick search. Another way of obtaining free software is by clicking absently through an installation dialogue box. This could automatically consent to the installation of toolbars or adware.
The public internet has long been a source of illegal software. In the 1980s, computer nerds used dial-up modems to connect to local bulletin board systems. However, malicious software began to circulate through the internet in a more sophisticated form. Consequently, malware operators began to hide malicious code inside legitimate applications. This tactic has become widespread in free software downloads. As such, there is an increased risk of infection from free software downloads.
Adware is another dangerous component of free software. Adware forces the victim to view unwanted pop-up ads. The adware is often in the form of a scareware, which falsely claims that the computer has a virus. In turn, these programs defraud the victim by selling useless software and luring them to download more malware. Despite these risks, it is important to protect yourself against these software infections by installing quality antivirus and malware protection programs.
Fake browsers are another danger. Fake browsers can be installed on your computer, spy on your browsing habits, and steal your personal information. You should remove any suspicious extensions right away. Virus and malware protection software will remove any fake extensions. Make sure you download trusted browsers, and always use an antivirus program. Once you install the software, you should scan it to detect viruses and other types of malware.
Shareware is one of the biggest threats of free software. Shareware is also often used by cybercriminals to distribute malware and other harmful software. Malicious URL links in shareware advertisements can lead users to unsafe shareware download pages. Also, most shareware applications don’t have available upgrades and patches, which makes them a perfect target for hackers. Shareware is a great option for one-time needs, but it has serious risks, especially for businesses.
Another common risk is nagware. Although freeware can help you detect malware, it cannot remove it. If it is infected, downloading freeware is a huge mistake. Freeware does not come with support. It usually provides a basic feature set for free, with premium versions available for a fee. If you need support, you’ll have to search for community forums or Internet websites, but you won’t receive direct help from the manufacturer.