Living just east of Crazy

Good sites gone rogue

Written By: Eddie Snipes - Nov• 03•13

What the heck happened to CNET?

This site was once a trustworthy source, but this is no longer. I had trouble downloading TweetDeck, so I went to CNET to download it. In the past, I used CNET/Download.com as a trustworthy source for downloading reliable freeware applications, but they have implemented a download manager that sneaks unauthorized malware into your system.

Immediately after downloading TweetDeck (which failed to install), I got a prompt by Firefox to authorize the Lucky Leap plugin. I was alarmed knowing I had not installed anything that would use this plug in. I was in the process of installing a new computer, and this is the only app that didn’t come from a CD or had been installed this day. I searched and discovered other users with the same complaint about downloads from CNET. After installing apps from CNET, they also discovered Lucky Leap was installed. I had to uninstall it from IE, Firefox, Chrome, and from my windows application list. End of story? Nope.

A in a short time I began to get prompted to back up my computer. I got a notice that I had failed to perform my system back up. I use Norton 360, and this window looks oddly like the Norton prompt. I don’t use Norton for backups, so I went to disable the backup again. Only it was already disabled. Every 30 minutes to an hour, this prompt would pop up again. I combed through my Norton settings trying to figure out why I was getting prompted even though backup was disabled. Finally I had to chat with their support. That’s when I discovered it wasn’t Norton, but was MyPC Backup. And this stinking software wouldn’t take no for an answer.

I uninstalled the spyware, but I’m highly disappointed in the fact that CNET has gone rogue. Not one thing indicated that their download manager would be installing two unauthorized apps. It was done completely in the background as a silent install. Only the symptoms of the spyware indicated something had been installed. And it’s all a ploy to spam in advertisements and trick users into signing up for substandard backup services. Not to mention that if a company is this underhanded in getting their software onto your computer, do you really want them to host your private data?

From this point on, CNET and Download.com are on my block list. Never again will I trust either of these sights and this is a good reminder for all of us. Use caution when visiting sites. In the quest for profits, even good companies can forget the value of customers and use unethical means to take advantage of trusting people. Welcome to the modern quest for profit 🙁

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