- Bruce Hall, ReNewed Computers
I recently saw this offer to get "free" plans to build a garden sphere on Facebook. Because I love garden ideas, I decided to check out this innovative idea. Under the picture, I notice a big orange DOWNLOAD button. This implies that to get the plans for this design, I should 'press here'. Had I done that, I would have downloaded at least one PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program). In this case, the DOWNLOAD button is an embedded ad and has nothing to do with the article.
BEWARE "Free" offers such as video players and converters, 'speed up your computer' offers, savings and coupons, free computer scans, free weather apps, emoticon downloads, registry cleaners, driver updates, backup programs, and antivirus programs, to name a few of the targeted areas.
Although some programs are legitimate and will not be problematic, many are malicious. It is very difficult to discern what is legitimate and what is not. One way of discerning is to search the internet for reviews of that software. However, some very sophisticated scammers even go to the length of making their own webpages and writing their customized reviews.
I spend a great deal of my time removing these "PUP's" from peoples' computers, and I have seen computers with literally hundreds of these programs installed. Many of these programs are dangerous to computers and put your confidential information and even your identity at risk. At a minimum, they slow your computer down with each added program.