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Programs from the internet
It has become commonplace to download programs from the internet.  You can get a different web browser, a better media player or even a great audio editing app.  It's really a boon to users because most of it can be had for free, and I mean legitimately free and not pirated.

I wish I could stop there, but I can't.  The easiest way to infect your computer with adware if not malware is to install a legitimately free and benevolent app in a careless way.  This has become a way for programmers - and people that pay programmers - a way to get into your pocket.  It does nothing wrong or immoral, but counts on your laziness.

It works like this.  You decide you need a video converter because your video editor won't open a video file.  So you go find one that does what you want on the web.  It has great reviews and you may even know from prior use that it's a great app.  But running the app is different than installing the app.  Installers generally have some sort of user agreement and for a long time you could ignore the agreement and just say yes, install it.  The agreements were always roughly the same - you promise to not decompile or sell the app.  Fine, I  don't hack, so I don't have a decompiler and I'm not going to sell other people's stuff, so yes, I agree.

But it has changed in the last few years.  You still see and agree to the user agreement, but then it asks you something else,  two boxes underneath say decline and install, then you see something similar.  You want to install the app so you hit install.  The user agreement was for the app, but the next two choices were to install "virtual coupon downloader" and "games nirvana".  It is often the case that such programs will start with windows and slow your computer down.   They also waste disk space and worst of all, trick you into installing software you don't want.

Be careful even if installing a trusted application because it is trivial to rewrite the installers to fool you into also installing garbage you don't want.  The days of just clicking "yes" or "install" are done.  Read enough to know for certain what you are agreeing to install.  You might not want five of the applications you would otherwise install.

Watch them.  They know how to trick you.


Chicken Dinner.


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