Spyware, Viruses, & Security forum


Deceptive ad on Avast download page

by JOHNLIONHEART / March 26, 2012 4:53 PM PDT

I went to download avast anti-virus, was duped into clicking on a link that looked like part of the cnet / avast page - said "3 steps for faster download" and button "Start Download" - but quickly routed to systweak.com and "RegClean Pro" and downloaded and tried to run but it said I needed a key, and paid $29 for the key, which was emailed, but ran the RCP again and no way to input key, so called the 888303-3189 number for support and a fast talking fella had me type in "AMMYY.com" into my browser bar and before I knew he had remote control of my computer and had opened my "Event" log and showed me thousands of logged "errors" and alert and one "critcal" he pointed out and told me my computer had been hacked and was in danger of crashing... I think he was headed toward rushing me into an expensive upgrade, but I finally got suspicious and hung up. I called another 800 number on the systweak site and got the same guy or his brother and asked him where systweak was located - he told me Washington State somewhere he didn't know. I hung up and pulled the internet cable out of the router. Then took and hour and examined the event log. It didn't look like I had really been hacked. Any way I plugged back up and took some screen shots to show you and here's five:

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What's the URL of that download page?
by Kees_B Forum moderator / March 26, 2012 5:02 PM PDT

And what was the link on that page you were duped into clicking on?


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url of download page
by JOHNLIONHEART / March 29, 2012 6:17 AM PDT

This is the url of the cnet page that has the deceptive ads on it

also screen captured here: http://ipoet.com/untitled4.jpg

Clicking any of the "start download" buttons or boxes other than the *real* "Download Now" button clicks on this link


which automatically opens to this page:


and here is a screen capture of that page:http://ipoet.com/deceptive.jpg

NOTE: ipoet.com is my hobby poetry site and I'm just using it above to show these screen shots here - ipoet has nothing to do with this issue.

HOWEVER: CNET should take some remedy on this,

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That is a 3rd party advert
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / March 29, 2012 6:32 AM PDT
In reply to: url of download page

and not the Download.com option to download Avast Free version.

Advertising is done through Google Syndication advertising and CNET has no control over that. However I have alerted the Forum Manager to your post above so he can forward this on to the correct people.

May I offer a suggestion to help you avoid these traps in the future. If you use Internet Explorer change it to Firefox for which you can install the AdBlockPlus add-on. It removes all advertising from web sites.

In the Download.com link you gave above I don't see those adverts because of ABP. I have learned the hard way never to trust web site advertising.

I hope that helps.


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by JOHNLIONHEART / March 29, 2012 6:49 AM PDT

wow, that's great. I hate ads

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It would be worth a try
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / March 29, 2012 6:56 AM PDT
In reply to: firefox

You can have as many browser types as you like installed on your computer and they won't interfere with each other. I even have Firefox and Chrome open right now, and they work individually of each toher.

If you are interested in trying it, get it from here; http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/fx/ and note it is the green button, "Firefox free download".

You may then also want to consider some of the other security add-ons available, and a recent discussion in the link below highlights some of those.


Good luck.


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Thank you OHNLIONHEART for reporting this.
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / March 29, 2012 7:04 AM PDT
In reply to: url of download page

I brought this to the attention of the Download management team.

Those ad are quite deceptive! Sorry that this had happened to you.

Thank you again!

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Just a guess here
by Steven Haninger / March 26, 2012 10:49 PM PDT

The screen shot of the Cnet Avast download page does not match what I get. I see additional characters after .html. I think you may have been redirected to a bogus site. I suspect some malware BHO could be the underlying cause. You might download some of the often recommended fixes such as malwarebytes, etc. I'd do this from another computer, however. Put the file on a flash drive and install it on your PC that way.

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screen shot
by JOHNLIONHEART / March 29, 2012 6:18 AM PDT
In reply to: Just a guess here

see reply to previous poster, Kees_B

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by Kees_B Forum moderator / March 29, 2012 6:47 AM PDT
In reply to: screen shot

I see what you mean on your screenprints.

I don't see any ad when I look at the page myself. I'm a regular visitor here, as you can imagine, so I invested some time in blocking scripts and ads on CNET pages to get pages showing faster. That seems to work quite effectively.
Also, but that's a little bit off-topic, I prefer to download from the makers own site (or sourceforge) if possible. That's always one of top hits in a google search for DOWNLOAD XXXX (with xxx the program name). For Avast it's http://www.avast.com/free-antivirus-download and the top link indeed. This, by the way, is more or less a necessity, as that ad blocking I mentioned blocks dw.com.com (where those downloads are coming from) also.

I fully agree that it's misleading. If you know it, it's rather clear that that two download buttons at the top and at the right are for ARO 2012 and Regclean Pro, not for Avast. But I can imagine you don't notice it if you don't know it.
Let me stress that ALL mods and most regular visitors here would tell you to stay away from both products. We don't believe in system optimizers and registry cleaners and we advice to NOT use them, and we really strongly advice to never pay for such products. Just read the reviews for ARO 2012 in http://download.cnet.com/ARO-2012/3640-2086_4-10183947-1.html and you'll understand.
But, alas, our sales department only smells the money.

I'll alert your post to our forum manager. He might be able to convince the sales people that ads (for any software, not only these scams) with green 'download now' buttons simply shouldn't be allowed on our download pages with our own green 'download now' button for the software our members search for.


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