The free software market is booming for PC users. Today, you can find free software for just about any purpose. While free software is great for some circumstances – like if you need an instant messaging program or a Bit Torrent client – it’s a bad idea to download free antivirus software and computer optimization programs.
Why are free antivirus programs and free optimization programs a bad idea? Let’s find out.
The program always expects something in return
Unfortunately on the internet, very few people willingly give something away without expecting something in return. The software market isn’t any different. While the companies that sell paid and subscription-based antivirus software receive money in return for designing their product, the people who create free programs do not. This means that they have to recover the costs of development in other ways.
Here are just a few of the ways in which a free antivirus or optimization program will squeeze money out of you:
Adware: In exchange for giving you a free program, a free software company might install annoying adware on your PC – like browser toolbars or pop-up advertisements. While these aren’t necessarily dangerous, they can be extremely annoying. The program may also sell your email address or phone number to third-party advertising partners, who will then spam you with products and services they think you might like.
Spyware: In more malicious cases, a free software program may install itself on your PC solely to monitor your keyboard activity and other personal information. This is called spyware, and it can steal your identity, drain your bank accounts, and perform other dangerous acts on your computer.
Computer hijacking: In some cases, a free antivirus program or computer optimization program may hijack your computer. It may claim that you have a dangerous virus, for example, when in reality, your computer is clean. In order to fix this virus, you’re going to have to pay for the ‘full’ version of the software. This is a complex scam, but a scam nonetheless. If you don’t want to fall for it, then you should avoid downloading free software in the first place.
The power of a free trial
Despite everything we’ve mentioned above, it’s important to know the difference between a free trial and a free program. People who design good programs will often offer a free trial in order to lure customers in. Basically, this is telling the customer that the company is so confident in their program, they are willing to let people try it for free.
Free trials are good, but free programs are bad. By choosing your antivirus software and PC optimization programs carefully, you can ensure that you never get infected with dangerous malware or get lured into buying an overpriced program.
The bottom line
Put simply, when you download free PC optimization software, you’re exposing your computer to serious threats. Whether the designer recoups his cost in spyware, adware, or other types of viruses, the goal is always to make money off of you. To prevent this from happening, choose a trusted antivirus program, or look up software reviews before you download anything.