Downloading Spyware Removers: Think Before, not After
“Think twice before installing anything on your computer”—how many times have an average user heard or read this advice? If some of them thought at least once before downloading rogue spyware removers, there would be no need in articles like this one.
Just imagine: you are walking, say, towards your car, and all of a sudden some guy comes up to you and begins… polishing your shoes. Or even better example—a guy you’ve never met before opens the hood of your car, says the engine is broken and tries to persuade you to add some gadget your car desperately needs—and now! What you’d do if such a crazy thing happened? Wouldn’t you readily accept the help, paid for it and thank this unknown altruist for his generosity? Why not? Lots of people are doing exactly the same on their PCs.
A pop-up ad offering you a pop-up blocker—funny, isn’t it? With those numerous spyware removers it isn’t even funny. Obtrusive advertising in itself is not necessarily suspicious (it might be just a sign that the company’s marketing director is stupid), but some dishonest software vendors are applying deceitful tactics in marketing their anti-spy solutions (often of low or zero quality), trying to make money quick.
Almost any product can be faked, but with software it is especially easy. It is also very tempting to take advantage of huge demand for security solutions without much effort. The recent story with a placebo product Spyware Assassin proves it.
What a simple but efficient (and disgusting!) scheme—to offer users a free system scan, which is bound to find spyware (even if there isn’t any—because no scan actually takes place), then offer them a “solution” to this problem for only $30. This product (Spyware Assassin) seems to be about as fake as spyware found on a “clean” PC. As a result, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently took action against MaxTheater—the company which distributed Spyware Assassin. The site used for selling this bogus anti-spyware software has been taken down.
Users who were literally forced to buy Spy Wiper or Spy Deleter, or those who remember the notorious litigation in fall 2004, can say a lot of things about authors and sellers of such programs—if written down, their remarks can make paper blush. In short, Seismic Entertainment Productions, Inc., another vendor prosecuted by FTC, applied even more impudent tactics than MaxTheater. Computers were infected with real spyware and adware to be later “cured” with Spy Wiper or Spy Deleter. The spyware changed the consumers’ home pages, changed their search engines, and generated constant flow of pop-up ads.
We all have been told not to be too credulous; still lots of us fall for the advertising bait. You must have already heard or read tips like these, but maybe they are worth reading once more:
If a company is unscrupulous in choosing means of advertising: tone of its ads is aggressive, they are scaring a potential customer and demanding immediate action (scan and system, install/buy/download some program NOW or something nasty will happen), if a company is using pop-ups and especially spam to distribute its “message”—you’d better stay clear
If a company is very young and yet claims to offer something really wide-range and universal, or better to say, panacea-like, solution, with 100% guarantee—it’s most likely a lie. No product is capable of protecting your PC against all the malware. Only irresponsible vendors give such false promises, and only naive users believe them.
However name the product bear, the name is not the product itself. Cool names don’t describe functions, quality, or reliability of the program, though imply them (usually it’s not true). Words “perfect” or “advanced” in the product’s name may sound good, but don’t at all mean this product works well or is better compared with others.
The conclusions are rather simple. Don’t believe everything ads say. Do spend time on background checks before downloading, and you won’t have to waste plenty of time, money and nerves afterwards.
Alexandra Gamanenko currently works at Raytown Corporation, LLC—an independent software developing company, which provides various solutions for information security. Raytown Corporation, LLC has never used and is never going to use any deceptive advertising tactics. Its anti-keylogging software is of high efficiency, though you will never see its ad in a pop-up window. Learn more about it—visit the company’s website