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This article was written on 16 Feb 2013, and is filled under Malware.

CNet is evil

Once the home respository of free, useful programs for the PC, Cnet.com has become an evil entity that is the pawn of CBS and seeks profit by installing malware on your computer.

Cnet.com has been a poor excuse of a tech website for many years but it has been on a steady downhill road since it was purchased by CBS. The website became front page news recently when they awarded The Hopper as Best of Show at CES. Actually, they intended to award it best of show but the lawyers of CBS took exception. Because CBS is suing to prevent the ad-skipping built-in to the Hopper, they deemed it ineligible for any awards at CES. You can find details of this story here: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2414276,00.asp

But this is not the end of Cnet’s degradation. The company purchased Download.com back in the infancy of the internet and has been a top place to go for free software as well as trial versions of software. For many years, Cnet was content with using page button confusion to boost their bottom line. If you were to search, for instance, for a good disk defragger, you might select Auslogic’s Defrag but accidentally click on on alternate programs because the download buttons for alternatives are large and vaguely worded to sound like they are the requested target. Cnet has now taken it step further and will not link directly to the target download. Instead, it provides a “Download Manager” that will download the file for you. The current version of the download manager has six steps to it. The first five steps were actual downloads of software one does not want on a pc. Steps 1-4 were blatant about what was being offered with a chance to skip, step 5 offered only a standard install or advanced install, with no word on the actual program. By clicking on advanced, a list appeared where it was possible to opt-out of installing “SearchYa”, a toolbar and search engine that is widely noted as malware. Then there’s step 6 which was the actual installation of the requested software.

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