You may want to install WOT (see google) to avoid even more infections.
I just downloaded an nVidia driver for my computer using CNET. This new CNET installer thing pops up and tells me I should install the StartNow toolbar, make MSN my homepage and use Bing as my default search engine. I unchecked the boxes that offered those things and proceeded with the install, not thinking for a single moment that CNET wouldn't honor my request to not install this crap.
After my download completed and the software installed I rebooted, opened Firefox and guess what.....you guessed it, there was the StartNow toolbar, Bing in place of Google as my default search engine and MSN as my homepage.
So, I did a bit of checking and found out that the StartNow toolbar is classified as malicious spyware here: spywaredb.com/remove-startnow-hyperbar/
Thanks a lot CNET. You can bet I will stop all my CNET newsletters and I will NEVER come to this site again. I have used CNET for many years way back to the Windows 95 era, but this is the end. Never again will my browser grace your site and I will also tell all my friends & customers (I'm a computer tech) to stay away.
Note: This post was edited by a forum moderator to disable auto-linking to dangerous website on 08/19/2011 at 9:10 AM PT
I work on the download.com team. I am sorry to hear about your recent problem with the CNET
We have done extensive testing with the installer
to ensure that if a user opts-out of an offer they should not receive
it. We will re-evaluate this offer and see if we can reproduce what
happened to you.
We do not require that users download using the
installer, there's also a direct download link. The direct link is
underneath the download now button on the product page. However, we do
require that you be a registered CNET user to access the link.
Do you realize what the power-raters at MyWOT and other sites are going to do when they realize this change? All I can say is you guys need to reverse this quick, and issue a massive apology. I'm not going to go inform on you, as I don't want in this mess, but you can rest assured someone will sooner or later.
CNET is going the route of all the other unethical download sites that put trash into people's computers. You shouldn't even consider doing this. Adding stuff to people's computers & changing theiir settings, even if they aren't a member, sucks. If you want to be a trustworthy website you can't do these things. I know I will tell all my customers to watch out for CNET now. In fact I think I'll tell them just what happened to me and let them decide if the still want to visit.
I've downloaded two programs since the new installer was implemented. The first time I saw the prompt for it, I was surprised, and opted out. I do not believe StartNow was installed at that time.
The second time I encountered this, I was admittedly in a hurry, and having seen the prompt previously, I blindly accepted that this was the new approach for CNET to offer downloads, and I clicked through to install the application I was looking for.
Shortly after this, I started seeing the StartNow.com toolbar in Firefox, Bing was now my default search engine, and my homepage was changed. Not realizing where it came from, I first went to the settings in Firefox to turn it off. I then realized the toolbar was also on IE. Next step was to uninstall using the Windows program manager. After uninstalling, I found this thread.
Clearly the opt-out function needs to work. I believe it did for my previous download. I believe it was my own carelessness that led to the toolbar install the second download I performed.
Perhaps the opt-out could be made more prominent. Like others who have commented on this, I have trusted CNET over the years as a safe place I can go to download applications without the annoying spam toolbars. Many users are unaware of where these toolbars come from, and I have seen some users screens with 6 or 7 toolbars stacked up above the browser page. The toolbars rarely add any functionality not offered within the browser itself, and at worst, present themselves as some form of malware.
I'm not going to stop using CNET, but I do question the logic of adding a downloader which defaults to installing such a tool.
I reread his post 3 times and I can not find where he said he went to spywared. I do read that he unchecked the boxes for the toolbar, Bing and MSN. Then I read that he rebooted and he found the toolbar in FF, that his homepage had been changed and that Bing was now his search engine. Please point out how you know he went to the red flagged web page spywared and that is how he got the toolbar, his home page was changed and his Bing became his default search engine.
What I see is that he went to spywaredb. Please help me out some more if you can. Why did you only check wot for a rating on spywared and spyaredb. I have checked multiple rating sites and not one rate either of these sites as bad or should not visit. I will list a couple.
spywared site ratings
AVG rating, just a reminder AVG is CNET recommended AV programs
Now lets check spaywaredb ratings
AVG rating, just another reminder that AVG is a CNET recommended AV program
So that is 3 for 3 on both these sites saying they are safe. I am confused on how you can say that either of these sites caused the problem being reported. Now just to be fair, I went and visited both these sites and surfed thru them and I do not have a new toolbar, my search engine is still yahoo and my home page has not changed. My confusion grows even greater on how either of these sites could be the blame for problems this person has experienced.
He says he went to spywaredb, not spywared. There is a b after the d. I can see that, why can you not see it. Lets ignore the fact that he went to one site and one of us see that and the other thinks he went to the other site. Please explain to me how both of these sites check out just fine by 3 top rated AV companies and I myself visited them and surfed thru them and had nothing bad happen.
You depend on one sites rating when they state upfront that this is a user rating site. They have no connection to the AV business nor do they sell ant AV products. Let me post what they say at the top of their site.
Reputation ratings are based on real user ratings and they tell you how much other users trust this site.
I have seen many times how these rating can be manipulated by bot voting or just plain ole fan boy voting. The main thing we need to determine is do these sites have the ability to install a toolbar, change our home page and search engine. I think not. That is why I depend on the ratings of replicable sites that are in the business of looking for malware on a site. I will again remind you or anyone else that AVG is a CNET recommended AV company and they rated both these sites as safe. Also, Symantec and McAfee rated these sites as safe.
SO what we come down to is that your using WOT, who is not in the AV business nor do they have any connection what so ever to checking for or finding malware. They just take a vote. HMMMMMMMMMM
I am using 3 top rated AV companies who actually check the site for malware and all 3 come back and say they are safe. On top of that I went to them and surfed thru them and had no problem what so ever.
Clean what up. You have confused me again, what needs to be cleaned up.
My concerns have been covered in this post. We had a member come in and express his concerns about what happened after using the so called CNET secure downloader. The kinds of concerns that I always express to people on why they should never use such things as a downloader tool.
Now neither of us know for sure what happened because neither of us were there at his puter. I do believe these things happened to him and they where caused by the downloader and not by any web site he might have visited. You seem to think that they were caused by a web site he visit to check on the tool bar that was installed. You quoted WOT which is a web site that takes votes by user on the trust worthiness of the site. I used 3 top rated AV companies to rate the sites. I think we should let the readers of the post decide which one need to be trusted and nothing should be cleaned up here.
The only thing we do know for sure is that CNET has decided, for what ever reason, to stop its open use of its download site and to start tracking what its user are downloading. There are many ways to stop people from direct linking to downloads without this approach. They also decided to try to get people to use what they claim is a secure downloader that offers up a toolbar, bing, and MSN. Me myself and I will never use a downloader nor will I ever sign in to download something.
In the end Bob, when I read that you thought it was the web site he visited and did some quick checking I thought it was the downloader. The main reason is that these things happened, as he states, before he went to the web site. All I was doing was offering a different opinion and I do not think nor does it justified being cleaned up.
Keep in mind, I have a lot of respect for most of what you post. I have at least a dozen or more bookmarks that have come from your post on how to fix a problem or do other things on our puters.
From time to time I see a post and it is not just you that has to do more with opinion then a how to thing. Like this one. Again, I will state that neither of us was at his puter when this happened. I just thought it was important that there was a counter opinion to your on what was going on.
Over the years my respect for CNET has been going down because of how they handle what I call the paid for reviews. Now they come out with this so called secure downloader. The respect just drop another notch.
If this post gets cleaned up by you or anyone else at CNET I think the repect level will drop into the negative numbers. I also took the time to take screen shots and do a copy and paste of the whole conversation just in case it does.
Something else altogether.
Thanks for clearing this up.
I downloaded CCleaner and opted out of StartNow and Bing then I downloaded CCenhancer and didn't get the choice to opt out. When I restarted my browser there was Startnow and Bing.
Not what I have come to expect from CNET!
Two months and not fixed?
Or did StartNow people override CNET's fix?
At least it was easy to uninstall from the control panel.
Big screens for the big game
Still looking for the best TV deals ahead of Sunday's game? Here are our top three big screen picks.