Abandon CNET - installers repeatedly full of malware

It is a sad day for me, as a long time user and huge fan of CNET over the course of many years. I don't know what has happened to the service we once knew, whether it was taken over or just corrupted from the inside. WHAT I DO KNOW IS THAT OVER THE PAST YEAR, CNET HAS CONSISTENTLY DETERIORATED UNTIL BY NOW IT IS A MALWARE DISTRIBUTOR.

When the installers full of toolbar "offers" were first introduced, they were annoying to be sure, but at least harmless as long as you didn't click through too quickly or accepted the default installation instructions.

BUT THE LAST TWO TIMES I DOWNLOADED SOFTWARE FROM CNET, THE INSTALLER HAS INJECTED MALWARE INTO MY SYSTEM DESPITE MY CAREFULLY UNCLICKING EVERY TOOLBAR "OFFER" IN THE INSTALLATION PROCESS. The malware has hijacked all of my browsers (start page, default search engine and even new tabs all changed to in an irreversible manner - I have uninstalled the toolbars, purged every registry entry and run virus and malware scans - nothing helps.


This is the last time I will ever touch anything CNET has anything to do with. I am bewildered as to why you have turned into one of the bottom feeders of this world, but whatever the reason I don't care. Goodbye.

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Re: malware

Could you tell WHAT 2 downloaders did this, so we can check?

A simple google search, by the way, finds removal instructions for claro-search, for example
It might be worthwhile to try this (or others you find) before starting that reformat.

By the way, wasn't there a 'direct download' link on the download page? Usually there is. And usually it links to a clean installation program without the CNET installer.


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Re: Malware

Hi Kees,

I appreciate your responding, though it won't make much of a difference - the straw has broken the camel's back once and for all.

The most recent one was MobiPocket Creator; not sure what the previous one was since it was a few months back. As mentioned, I have tried everything (including the steps you linked to) and it has not solved the problem.

You know, I've seen the response about the direct download link in (the many, many) other posts that complain about malware in CNET installers and it just pisses me off. The point here is that CNET tricks people into installing #%@&$ malware, not that there is a way not to get shafted if you read the fine print.

If indeed the direct download is clean (which I for one is not going to try) then that's beside the point at best - a cynical mind would argue that it just shows that CNET *knows* its installers are full of crap. It's like telling parents that bought lead-filled toys from China that "oh, you should have bought our non-poisonous line of products hidden in the back of the store instead of the stuff we put on the shelves and advertise".

Can you please explain to me why in God's name CNET has anything whatever to do with claro-search? Or any of the multitude of similar crapwares the installers are filled with? Do you really expect people not to be furious about that? Is anyone noticing the deluge of complaints? I just don't get it, I really don't. CNET had so much credibility and goodwill built up over the years - all ruined for a few bucks (I assume). Hope it was worth it.

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Re: malware

Sorry. I'm just a volunteer moderator of these forums, far away (9 hours by airplane) from where it all happens (in San Francisco). So I really can't explain. I've alerted this to the forum administrator. Maybe he can.


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Just today, my antivirus detected two malwares from files I downloaded from Cnet. I used to download everything I needed from your site. Not anymore. I don't even want to try to circumvent the installer or anything. You used to be a trustworthy website for downloading software, and you are not anymore; period!
Whatever the reason you are letting this happen -because I have no doubt that you could stop it whenever you wanted- SHAME ON YOU! You are no better than the creeps that create virus to annoy people and destroy computers just for fun. You belong in jail.

A former Cnet member.

Anand Srivastava

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Amen to this, by the way

And how about Babylon.

I don't know how Babylon is classified by cnet, but it's a virus to anybody who's ever had their pc environment involuntarily re-defined by a program that was involuntarily installed.

That same person will absolutely confirm it's a virus once he or she has tried to uninstall it without leaving his or her system impaired.

cnet, shame on you! You have effectively transformed yourselves from a reliable online partner to a purveyor of malware. Shame on you.

I, too, have abandoned cnet.

Steve McCain

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Aughhh I got the same junk on both my computers.

CNET... IS not longer viable source for downloads.. Screen gets so cluttered with ads that appear to be the download button who knows what your actually getting..

I got a list of malware that has destroyed both of my computers...

Done with this..

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Happened to me too

It happened to me too, the malware redirects me to "" and "" and when I click to open a new webpage I don't get it, instead I get a pop-up new webpage trying to redirect me to a fake 'required' video player. Arrrggg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! needs to be blacklisted by the entire world, they are a malware spreading site.

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CNET full of Malware

Oh, it's awful trying to install ANYTHING from CNET. It sets off both Windows Defender and Norton something awful. I cannot believe that a tech site stuffs all of their downloads with viruses, spyware and rootkits.

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Malaware etc etc on CNET Downloads .....

From recent bitter experience (see my post re Freeviewer Maker), and as a past user and fan of CNET, on and off over many years, I fully agree and support all these complaints. CNET DOWNLOADS IS NOW NO LONGER FIT FOR PURPOSE, and should be banished to the trash bin!! Sad but very true.

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I have been working for two days trying to get rid of different malware, trojans and whatever else they downloaded from I have been coming to this site since the beginning - 1996. All I needed was to reinstall PDF XChange Viewer, what a mistake! This will be the last time any CNet site will see me. No need to respond, I wont be back to read it. I hope my computer is only loaded with malware and not some incurable VD.

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I have a name for you

mp4 to mp3 converter. I unchecked all their boxes and still got stuck with two programs within a program. Ended up uninstalling it, uninstalling the program and the program within the program (by NOT clicking next) and ran malwarebytes to deal with the rest. Not very happy about this because I USED to trust your site.

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Last few weeks, CONDUIT for everyone.

It appears that unchecking is not enough. You have to go into some advanced area too.

HOWEVER there are sites that host the files and those appear to install Conduit even with all opting out.

With great weight I think Conduit is going to change folk's perspective on Windows and scare everyone to "curated company stores."

Please top post what you think in another forum so we can chat about that.

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Why isn't this considered treason?

We have a foreign owned company, Conduit, that designs malicious software that gets onto your computer through trickery and subterfuge with the aid of an American owned company (Cnet is a division of CBS). The result is millions and millions of lost man hours and lowered productivity, which damages our economy, and makes us less competitive with other countries like China.

Why has Cnet/CBS partnered with Conduit and others to put these horrible programs on American computers? Greed, which is often the motivator for treasonous acts. I truly believe that the executives at Cnet and CBS who made this decision are guilty of treason.

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Same here, I downloaded VLC Player, and got MIXI.DJ toolbar and sweetpacks everywhere.

Thanks Cnet for being the first one to screw up my new PC, it is the last time I blindly trust the reputation you spent years building. You are now in my eyes little better then a spyware, malware, homepage hijacking distributor.

now that I have vented I will be returning to the near impossible task of ridding my computer of all the crap you snuck in to my download.

Please note that when ever the chance presents itself I will trash your site and warn people not to use it.

Note my name is cnetsucks2... cnetsucks was already taken... I wonder why?

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cnetsucks3 wasnt taken, so dibs!

I installed elcom wireless analyzer yesterday.

When i installed it, i got several offers for searchbars and stuff i didnt need..

the button to not install them was "faded out" as if u couldnt click it, as like it wasnt an option.

Trickery to get people to install stuff they dont need.. anyways i clicked it anyways and thought that i was safe, from all the malware..

The day after, i findout my entire fracking browser was taken over by

Then i go to think, is this a real thing? never heard of it..

i go to my google search in the upper right corner (which was also hijacked by

i switched it to google and tryed typing "" i dindnt need to type more than "snap." before i got this list of "populare searches on this topic"

1 :
2 : fjern (danish for removal)
3 : virus
4 :
5 : chrome removal
6 : snap.js
7 :
8 : uninstall

Note that 4 out of 8 are for how to remove this load of crap, and 2 of these are actually higher up in the search order than "" and ""

Its disugsting that CNET turned into a malware distributer, with such a prestine history and a place to look for news regarding software.. that has now turned into greed for money (as i sure as hell hope u get paid for us getting hijacked, any other reason to do it and id call you a bunch of swear words)

but i guess greedy is sufficient..

RIP in pieces CNET.. ur nothing but a virus distributor

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(NT) Avoid CNET downloads at all costs! Malware!!!
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NEVER use CNET or every again. Parasite ware forced upon download, no option to avoid. Even when try to uninstall, it re-installed itself.

Too bad, I used to use it regularly - never again.

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thanks a lot cnet

I have many pictures on my hard drive so i tried fileminimizer pictures (900 kb) to compress them and save some space. i think it was like 6 steps before the installer proceeded with the actual installation. but then, i noticed it is taking a while for such a small program to be installed so i canceled the installation halfway. To my surprise, 3 new programs were silently installed on my computer and their sizes are far bigger than the one i am actually trying to install. when i uninstalled them, i needed to reboot my computer before they were completely removed. after that i ran my anti malware and antivirus program, and found out i have 3 malwares on my pc. after i deleted them and restarted my pc, i noticed that it is taking some time for it to start up so now i am really not sure if there are still remains of those programs in my computer that my antivirus and anti-malware program can not detect. THANKS A LOT CNET! Now, i am going to add another site to be blocked by my antivirus. Guess what it is?

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i had to sign up

I have use since i started using the internet in the mid 90', and i have all way been happy with it.
but now, I have it, like all the others guys in the thread.

In the US, is it not illegal to infect peoples computers with virus and mailware, even it you enlighten people with fine print, that you will install others programs.

to remove some of the stuff your program install, you need a minor doctoral degree in computers,
and one must assume that most ordinary people, can't remove them.

so if it's not illegal, then it is at least very unethical...

I will also stop using this site and never come back.....

at least i have a good program, that have a very effective uninstaller,

it is not all the programs that your program install, that is been install probably, so you can not remove them using the windows uninstaller...

Best regards

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100% agree with you.

Sadly i feel the same way. CNET has always been the go to place for me to get little odd and end downloads. Lately they have started using trickery to get you to install 10 other programs when all you wanted was one.

I just tried the Auto Clicker and express install wanted to put in 4 other programs, so i ran custom. The custom had options to install all the junk malware but the "decline" button was greyed out like it wasnt clickable(obvious trickery).

Now, Im fine with having clear options available to decline, or accept but when you start using underhanded tricks and hiding options to get malware onto peoples computers, im out.

cya cnet, from a 10 year user

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Yep, same here -- too bad, CNET used to be fantastic

So, in order to sign up to post this reply CNET gives me the choice of my email, or facebook and then tells me they want to take all my email contacts. What rot. So I signed up on an email I almost never use.

Then once I sign on to reply, CNET has the nerve to inform me:
"The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited."

Well, what about the crap you guys used to weed out? You guys just posted advertisements all over my computer! What a huge disappointment. Last two times I attempted to download from you I was hit by malware attacks. I thought it was a fluke the first time, maybe I just missed one of the check off if you don't want areas each time around it seems like more and more it was some PDF converter previously. Yesterday I went to update VLC and have been battling to remove several. I utilize several browsers, and each seems to be infected differently, so I get rid of one and then have to search out removing the next. This time it is Conduit and some mixi survey pop up crap. I run Avast all the time but it did not catch these. You are right, CNET is no longer safe. How sad.

And no, I do not care that this thread is old. It needs to be updated. You guys are doing a sorry job of keeping things clean and can no longer be trusted. People need to know that you are no longer a reliable site.

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Malware Central

I also created an email account just so I could post here to warn others. CNET is Malware Central. I guess I gave CNET 'permission' to download malware when I accepted the Terms of Service. I've used this site often over the last few years as a source of trusted software downloads. Kiss my butt goodbye CNET; I just spent 4 days trying to get the Scorpion Saver malware off my computer. I had programs crashing like never before and will NEVER visit this site again.

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quality control

pick a simple file converter. choose a well-known one..
1,364 file and or registry additions is the result
half a dozen restarts, windows updates and malwarebytes scans later:
cnet used to be # 1 but now should be avoided. cheers

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Old thread..imagine that

BBB search for came up with this for CNET Direct Inc (under heading Computers Software & Services). Don't know if its this CNET but that would explain some things...

CNET Direct Inc is not BBB Accredited.

According to information in the BBB files, it appears that the company is no longer in business. The phone numbers the BBB had for this company are disconnected, and directory assistance does not have a listing for this company. The BBB's mail to this company has been returned as undeliverable. If you have an unresolved dispute with this company you may wish to seek legal advice.

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My Bad

Please ignore...apparently this CNET is affiliated with CBS. Still run far run fast!

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Are CNET employees allowed to use

I think all CNET employees should try a using their own site to fully experience what they are putting us through. Better yet, could someone low level CNET employee who still retains a shred of ethics sneak upstairs and put some of this crap on the mega-rich excecs' computers so they can share in the fun?

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It happened to me too! I cannot use my pc till I get it figured out. Which I will.

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So CNET is STILL infecting computers with this garbage?

I'm sorry for your loss. Your computer has been infected by a once trusted organization, thanks to the unbridled greed of over-paid ethically challenged executives like Sean Murphy, Exec. VP for Cnet, and CBS CEO Leslie Moonves. Maybe they would be kind enough to come to your home or office and fix the mess they made. CNET execs profit from damaging the working productivity of American workers. Why is this not treason? We should stop worrying about the Chinese and put these domestic terrorists in jail, where they should be forced to send out apology letters, one at a time on CNET infected computers to every person who suffered as a result of their shameless greed.

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No more Cnet for me!

Just today, my antivirus detected two malwares from files I downloaded from Cnet. I used to download everything I needed from your site. Not anymore. I don't even want to try to circumvent the installer or anything. You used to be a trustworthy website for downloading software, and you are not anymore; period!
Whatever the reason you are letting this happen -because I have no doubt that you could stop it whenever you wanted- SHAME ON YOU! You are no better than the creeps that create virus to annoy people and destroy computers just for fun. You belong in jail.

A former Cnet member.

A. Perez

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I thought you already left?

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