Downloading Spyware Removers: Think Before, not After
Just imagine: you are walking, say, towards your car, and all of
a sudden somebody 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--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
sell 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:
Tip 1 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
Tip 2 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.
Tip 3 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