Beware of Malware on http://download.cnet.com

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CNET malware download warning
CNET malware download warning
CNET malware download warning
CNET malware download warning

WARNING!  Downloading software from CNET’s Download.com could lead to unwanted Malware being installed onto your computer. 

I do not know anything more annoying than downloading a piece of software from what I thought was an ethical site ( download.com ) run by CNET resulted in malware being installed in my MAC.  Searching for a new FTP program (MAC ) I opted for their “Editors Choice” and hit the download button.  Surprisingly a CNET installer program was download instead of the software I had requested.  Well I thought I was a savvy user, normally very cautious of suspicious downloads, I continued as I ‘trusted’ the site and  have used them many times in the past without issue.

Well trust no more!

cnet malware download warning
cnet malware download warning

The screen shot clearly shows that by default they will install 4 browser extensions in each browser you have (Searchme, Slick Savings, Ebay & Amazon Assistants), change your default search provider to Yahoo, and change your homepage to Yahoo.  Yes they clearly display what they will be installing.  But is that a defense?  Disguising the fact that they will be installing malware in a ‘Terms and Conditions” page.  How many people will notice and uncheck?  I was fooled!  

“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!”

As the proverb says I will not be tricked again – I will never trust CNET again!  Doing a bit of research I discovered that this pattern of behavior is not new to CNET.  They have been known to insert their own adware in downloaded installers, without the knowledge of the software developers whose software is being hijacked.  In this case the popular MAC FTP program Transmit.  (For the record I was able to download and install the software from another site without any malware.)

As the Founder & CEO of Kozzi Images I am bombarded with offers to include malware in our stock images, clipart and video.  Normally this type of behavior exists in the dark seedy neighborhoods of the internet.  But in what I believed was a respected company I am surprised and disappointed.  Myself, I would never in my wildest dreams hijack my customers computers with any type of malware.  I value Kozzi Images members and customers!

Malware Removal – Spigot

Delete all of the following browser extensions: Searchme, Slick Savings, Amazon Shopping Assistant and Ebay Shopping Assistant

  • Safari – from the Safari menu choose Preferences from the Safari menu, then click the Extensions icon.
  • Chrome – from the Chrome menu choose Preferences from the Chrome menu, then click the Extensions .
  • Firefox – from the Firefox menu choose Add-ons from the Tools menu, then look at both the Extensions and Plugins lists.

 Finally you will need to change your search preference (if it was not Yahoo originally) and change your homepage (the page that loads by default).

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