Thursday, January 4, 2007

Why "Free" Software You Downloaded Isn't Free

Why "Free" Software You Downloaded Isn't Free
Courtesy of Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW
Internet Safety Advocate and Educator

The following is presented in response to a comment made by one of my friends on my blog.

Here's what she had to say:

    What about those that can't afford to get internet security and download free programs to protect themselves the best way they know how? Is their a safe website you can go, to get internet security? We all know the threats are out there, but what programs or internet security can one use to better protect themselves against such threats? Sometimes downloading free software is not safe either.

My reply:

Thanks for your comments, but it isn't business people alone who need protection. And the cybercriminals know this! That's one of the reasons they give away nicely packaged "free" software disguised as toolbars, screensavers, and thousand of other "freebies". It may be free to you, but it's loaded with their spyware.

Just like going online takes a subscription to your local ISP (Internet Service Provider) for either dial-up, cable, or DSL service, so, too, will it be in the near future for the average Internet user to protect himself from these cybercriminals. Before long, the average user will be investing in security subscriptions. (I do now and have not had to worry about a thing.)

Like anything else, if you value your computer and being safe online, then you will need to invest in a quality security service. There's no way around it, thanks to the cunning hackers and cybercriminals!

Be careful though, cybercriminals, many out of Russia and the Far East, will sell low-cost or give away their free "security protection" software. Again, this is a smoke screen to allow them to get inside your computer.

"Sometimes downloading free software is not safe."

Just like you have to buy gas to make your car run, or insurance to keep it running legally, so, too, you will have to do when it comes to protecting your id, your personal information, and most importantly, your family. This is the only way to stop hackers and cybercriminals.

Unwanted advertising software or "adware" has evolved from an annoyance into a serious threat to the future of Internet.

Why? Every day, thousands of Internet users are duped into downloading adware programs they neither want nor need. Once installed, the programs bog down the computers' normal functions, deluging users with pop-up advertisements, creating privacy and security risks, and generally diminishing the quality of the online experience.

Some users simply give up on the Internet altogether after their computers are rendered useless by the installation of dozens of unwanted programs.

To read about adware's Dirty Little Secret, go to:

Remember: When you say No to hackers and spyware, everyone wins! When you don't, we all lose!

© MMVIII, Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW
Your Internet Safety Advocate and Educator

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