CNET Download.com not so 'spyware-free'

CNET Download.com not so 'spyware-free'

Summary: On its home page, CNET's Download.com promises that all software available on the site "has been tested to ensure it's 100% free of spyware, viruses, and other malware.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Malware, Security
10

On its home page, CNET's Download.com promises that all software available on the site "has been tested to ensure it's 100% free of spyware, viruses, and other malware."     Unfortunately, there appears to be a kink in the system that allows the display of a known adware program called AntiVirus Defender.

According to malware researchers at Kaspersky Lab (disclosure: my employer), the adware program is appearing as a recommendation in Download.com's Anti Virus Software tab (see screenshot below):

CNET Download.com not so Â’spyware-freeÂ’

Kaspersky Lab discovered the issue while downloading a piece of software and being redirected to the Downloads.com recommendations page.  We're not sure if this is something that slipped through the cracks at Downloads.com or whether the site was compromised. CNET has been notified.

The moral of this:

You're security conscious and you want to protect your computer. You’re looking for useful utilities. Download.com assures users that all programs available via the website have been analysed, and don’t contain any malicious code. So maybe you relax your vigilance. But with both businesses and bad guys making use of sponsored links on sites like download.com and Google, you’ve got to stay very alert indeed to make sure that you don’t get caught out. 

* Image source: Viruslist.com analyst's diary.

Topics: Malware, Security

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

10 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Anyone else notice the irony of the name?

    "Anti-virus defender"? Doesn't that mean it defends against anti-virus products? ;-)
    MGP2
  • RE: CNET Download.com not so 'spyware-free'

    The listed link to winrar is also with spyware
    aliendogstar
    • winrar is spyware-free

      I don't know to which link you are are referring, aliendogstar, but winrar itself is free of adware or spyware.

      Provide your source, please.
      sixit
  • RE: CNET Download.com not so 'spyware-free'

    This is only an example, but can you think how many other links and downloads at CNET may contain ad-ware, or even spyware? More than you can think.

    Being at top of search engine results for many of the thousands and thousands of software they offer, CNet download.com may be one of the mayor adware distributors on the net.
    tonybonnet
  • RE: CNET Download.com not so 'spyware-free'

    Correct that there are occasionally viruses. All re-directs are inherently dangerous, and it's correct that to assume anything is inherently safe is asinine.
    --Glenn
    oregonnerd13
  • RE: CNET Download.com not so 'spyware-free'

    I have had only one problem with anti-virus software I've downloaded from downloads.com and that's when I had Norton installed other than that no probs. AVG is great and it's free too :) AVG detected viruses on programs that I've had since windows 3.11.
    edkofc4@...
  • RE: CNET Download.com not so 'spyware-free'

    have downloaded many things from download np have directed others to the site also. I use avast and have had np's verse nortons lol.... what a joke.. verse other sites download is safer if u get redirected u dont go to it unless ur blonde lol honk honk
    goose58431
  • RE: CNET Download.com not so 'spyware-free'

    Have just tried to download Smart Defrag from download.com and was warned by Avast that it has a trojan horse Win32:Delf-MZG [Trj] so i immediately aborted the download
    petin_y@...
  • RE: CNET Download.com not so 'spyware-free'

    Great!! ! thanks for sharing this information to us!
    <a href="http://www.yuregininsesi.com">seslisohbet</a> <a href="http://www.yuregininsesi.com">seslichat</a>
    birumut
  • RE: CNET Download.com not so 'spyware-free'

    look,with all the problems mentioned here,and mine,I was about to complain about you downloading corrupt files on my PC,don`t you think it would be a better idea to fix the problem before we have any time to write into talkback?
    ozziedigger