Warning: Download.com (CNET Downloads) A cesspool for privacy invading malware and rogue software

Sean Doyle

Sean Doyle is a tech author and engineer with over 20 years of experience in cybersecurity, privacy, malware, Google Analytics, online marketing, and other topics. Sean's content has been featured in numerous publications.

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25 Responses

  1. Nanciewanda says:

    Hahahaha!! LMAO!

  2. Anonymous says:

    So were do we go now to download!?!

  3. thomas says:

    Just tried downloading a mp3 encoder, which did not install properly, unlike he 8 (!) other programs including a hijacker. Hope they get their asses sued back to the stoneage. Fucking assholes.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ipad video coverter has TONs of disruptive malware!

  5. baaaaaa says:

    i’ve just been cneted … never downloading from them again .

    it didn’t ask to install anything , just did … 5 different things ..

  6. Annalene says:

    I just downloaded “shouldiremoveit” from cnet, and it came with 3 toolbars, and a bunch of other things. I canceled the installation, and decided to do more research about cnet and stumbled on your take. I am shocked, cnet used to be very reliable!

  7. Chris says:

    Just now got a simple utility, along with 5 others, which were not listed nor was I prompted for approval.

    Did some serious clean-up afterwards…

  8. Joy says:

    ok so how do I download a legitimate copy of malwarebytes? I downloaded it through cnet and was given toparcade hits and a bunch of other stuff I do not want on my computer. But when I go to the malwarebytes website and click download now it takes me to a cnet download?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Just happened to me. I download YWriter5 and it came with some shitty malware programs which I’M TRYING TO GET OFF, but to no avail..

    Thanks a fucking lot, CNET. You’ve completely lost my trust, you fucking assholes.

  10. cb10100 says:

    Just got burned by CNET. I’ve been using CNET downloads for YEARS. The bastards put “Coupons By Quickshare”, “TopArcadeHits”, and who knows what else on my PC. Thanks for the article, it was very enlightening.

  11. mrfreezzzz says:

    Interesting article. Although I find it funny to read it and to see an ad for Cnet, on the right side panel of the page 🙂

    • Sean Doyle says:

      That is not ad for CNET. That is an advertisement for Malwarebytes that links to the Malwarebytes website that happens to contain text suggesting that the software was a top download on the website. 🙂

  12. Biomech says:

    Today I downloaded a Zip File Recovery program from download.com
    4 hours later ads started appearing where the comments should on my friends facebook photos. Baffled, I hovered over the link and found out it was Coupon Companion and it had been installed WITHOUT my knowledge when I got the zip recovery software. I pay close attention to installers because I can’t stand bloatware and what not, and there was not even a mention of this let alone a check box.

    Used download.com since the late 90’s. NEVER again. Giving us tricky options is one thing, but installing ad/malware without ANY indication is another

  13. Anonymous says:

    Use file hippo.com or softpedia.com for downloading software. Cant trust CNET!

  14. Michael D says:

    I can confirm this. I downloaded from CNET a legitimate proxy server trial program (Mask Surf) and immediately discovered I was infected with Text-Enhance Adware. It was easily removed using instructions on this site, but the point is CNET posted a line to the effect that this download has been checked by our staff and is certified virus-free. The same download from the software issuer’s actual site generated zero problems. So, YES, this is important–shop for great software at CNET…THEN go to the source to download and NEVER download anything from CNET.

  15. Nigel says:

    Well said Sean, I heard they are being sued for including “privacy invading malware” in the software of a few companies without their consent. I think one is called ntmap, or something rather.

  16. Bob says:

    This definitely needs to be quoted again here: “… it can only be concluded that Download.com is not safe to download software from. Even legitimate software downloads like Malwarebytes are compromised…” YES folks read this again, keep it uppermost in your mind, and whatever you do, DO NOT GO TO CNET TO DOWNLOAD ANYTHING !! I speak form experience, spending the last two weeks cleaning out malware, and ultimately re-installing the OS on a just-purchased Dell XPS 8500. I’m not sure what kind of pea-brain at CNET thinks this is an acceptable or justifiable way to run a business. Basically CNET is now in the malware business — there is no question about it. I personally will try to find as many ways to publicize this as I can, and I urge anyone reading this to do precisely the same thing.

  17. AJ says:

    Wish I had seen this earlier. Just had to remove Snap Do browser hijacker and Price gong malware from my computer after installing a program from there (The official site has their downloads through download.com for some reason). Last time I downloaded something from the site I ended up with major malware and trojan problems as well. (Gave Cnet the benefit of the doubt as a one off mistake but that was obviously mistaken and I wont use them again- it’s like russian roulette for your computer).

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