Why you should avoid free software

Why you should avoid free software

Over the past few months our technicians have seen a major uptick in Malware infections related to “Free Software” and it’s easy to see why. The internet is plastered with software offers that claim to speed up your computer, remove viruses, or protect your identity and so on. On top of that, there are countless video steaming sites that require you to install a browser plugin or some video player to stream their “free” movies or TV shows.  Unfortunately most time these offers are fraudulent and are attempts to get malware installed on your computer. 

In the screenshot below you can see the result of clicking a link that claims to increase your PC’s performance. Instead it led us to a web page that claimed my Flash Player was out of date. However with just a little bit of scrutiny it is easy to see that this warning is fraudulent; the logo does not match Adobe’s logo (the company that created Flash), the popup window is not actually a window (it’s just an embedded image), and when you read the text there are references to something called Open Software Updater.  This is undoubtedly an attempt to put malware on your computer, however many users are fooled by traps like this. 

Increase PC Performance trap

Unwanted software can even be packaged with programs that you actually want to install on your computer. For example, when you try to install Java, a legitimate piece of software, you will be asked to install the Ask Toolbar. As you can see in the example below, the agreement checkboxes have already been checked off and it would be very easy for a user to click next without noticing. While the Ask Toolbar might be fairly benign, this same method is often used to install more malicious software like CryptoLocker which can damage and corrupt your files. 


These attempts to fool internet users can be hard to avoid without caution and a trained eye. Even people who have years of experience browsing the web can make a mistake and click on the wrong thing. Mistakes happen, that’s why it is critical to take preventative measures. 

Contoured Solutions can help protect you against this type of malware. We offer a variety of solutions such as our combination of ESET and HitmanPRO antivirus. Together they create a powerful defense with ESET’s real time scanning and HitmanPro’s ability to detect infections that major scanners often miss.  We also offer solutions like Spectorsoft Monitoring Software and routers with web browsing enforcement polices, both can be utilized by businesses that need to protect their corporate information. Contact us today for more information on how we can help you protect yourself.