Dianne says – Beware of CNET

By | July 19, 2013
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Dianne says beware of Downloads.com (CNET)
Beware of downloads.com-when I tried to download Musicbee I managed to stop RealPlayer and thought I had stopped Sweet Packs browser helper / Perion Network. I didn’t. I had it in IE10 and Firefox. It hijacked my homepage–yours–and added a updater and a couple of other things. You will find pieces in many different places-I thought Revo Uninstaller got it-but I checked Add and Remove and there it was again. I also had to go to Internet Options for parts of it. At this point I think I found all of it and removed what I found, did a system restore and crossed my fingers. if you have an easier way to find things like this, I’m sure I am not the only one who would appreciate the info. This is HotBar on steroids. I had never heard of it-but I will remember it and downloads.com too. After using downloads.com for years–I won’t make that mistake again. Maybe you will pass this info on so others will be on the lookout for “Sweet Packs” Nothing sweet about it.! Thanks

Our answer
Dianne, you have highlighted exactly why 90% of the computers we work on have so much malware installed on them. It has become a profitable business to attack computers from the backdoor and to install bundles of software without the user’s explicit permission. It should be illegal, but it’s not.

Bundlers operate on the “fine-print” principle, that before it was made illegal, got so many people in trouble by signing contracts where the most unfair terms were spelled out in the fine print. And bundlers are today’s digital equivalent to fine print.

At one time we would have said to run Malwarebytes to remove all the malware, but, we’re sorry to say, Malwarebytes is almost worthless when it comes to removing the most commonly found malware, adware, spyware, which Malwarebytes once detected as PUPS, but now does not detect at all.

We use many different programs to ferret out malware, but no one of them will find everything, and some aren’t easy to use — and if used incorrectly could result in serious problems, and even may result in the removal of legitimate programs. We’re testing several other anti-malware programs right now, but we’re not at the point, yet, where we can make a recommendation.

The best way to get rid of malware is not to install it in the first place. Do not download from CNET or Downloads.com, they from time-to-time have been noted for installing bundles. The last time we tried them they were clean but obviously you had problems. Do not ever download from a site called Softronics — or you’ll get bundles no matter what you download.

This kind of thing is going to get worse because it’s so highly profitable for the malware creator as well as the distributor. Since it is distributed with freeware, there’s not monetary cost to the consumer — but here is a cost to everyone who install malware — and that cost is compromised privacy, computer problems and corrupted or broken browsers.

Sweet IM is a product of the same company which makes IncrediMail. They’ve got a new product we’re all going to have to watch out for — it’s called SweetPCFix (and we are not kidding). I’m sure you’ll be seeing advertisements all over which tell you that your computer is riddled with errors and how SweetPCFix and make your computer like new again.

Thanks for sharing your story with us, it illustrates very well why things are like they are and why so many peoples’ computers are full of malware.

6 thoughts on “Dianne says – Beware of CNET

  1. Susan Kemp

    I had the same problem at CNET, but was able to uncheck the myriad of boxes…they had about 4 “traps” for unwanted downloads…shame on CNET, who used to be the “go to” place for information…trusting them no more…

  2. Don

    When I opened this page-“Beware of C-Net” there was an ad at the bottom of the text “Free Malware Removal Tool-sparktrust.com” The same ad is at the upper right above another set of 5 Google ads that include Norton, Malware removal links, ADT etc. Are these “safe links” and or recommended by Cloudeight? Guess I’m just getting gun-shy!!

  3. E Muriel Schlecht

    These ads are absolutely NOT RECOMMENDED by Cloudeight. Never have been. Never will be.
    If you’ve read the articles on Cloudeight (InfoAve newsletters) before, you’d know that CloudEight (InfoAve newsletter) has published many WARNING articles against using some the products in the ads you see. They are simply ADS, placed in designated AD SPACE made available to Google in hopes of generating some money to stay in business. Think of it the same way as those ADS and card insertions that we find in a magazine or newspaper, or all those TV commercials that we have to suffer through.
    Does that mean the magazines or TV programs RECOMMEND the
    products being advertised? NO, not since the day advertising in those places first began. Disclaimers are all over the place. I don’t know of anybody that writes letters to ask magazines and TV networks if they recommend the products advertised in their available spaces.

    Send $1, $2, $5 a month to TC and EB and they can stay in business WITHOUT needing to provide ANY space to these deceitful and confusing advertisers to “muck up” their pages, confuse their readers, and answer this same question a zillion times a week.

  4. Don

    Gee, E Muriel Schlecht, sorry I asked such a “dumb” question. But, on the other hand, I was smart enough not to open a link I was not sure of. Thanks for the input. I have contributed to Cloudeight financialy and would recommend that others do the same.

  5. Bill Jacobs

    I knew something had changed! The interface was veary difficult to read, and I, too, accidentally downloaded unwanted stuff. Fortunately, I am computer savvy (wll maybe not after this Cnet trap got me). I have now boycotted C-net after almost 20 years. Or however many thay have been on. They were, at one point, a wonderful place to download stuff. Sigh.

    I will send a small amount soon. Bless you for all you do. Life on the internet would be very much more difficult if you weren’t

  6. Mary

    I have found with CNet the last couple of times that when I was going through the wizard clicking “next and I agree”. I have come across extra program come up and if you are not reading through it as you go, you will be agreeing to download the extra programs. I also found that they are giving a option on “Download Automatically” which they have (Recommended) in brackets and then a option to “Customize”. Always click Customize because there are extra programs tick there as well. What I do when I download something I don’t want, I go to Control Panel on Program and Remove and check what I have download on that date, and uninstall everything that I have downloaded on that date.


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