Fred Griffin: Spyware - There is No Such Thing as Free Software - Beware of Downloads!

Spyware - There is No Such Thing as Free Software - Beware of Downloads!

    One of the easiest ways to Infect your Computer with Spyware is via a "Free Software Download".   This morning I downloaded a couple of Software Programs for my computer.  Several of the programs came with Tracking Cookies, Potentially Unwanted Programs, and more!  

Malwarebytes Screen Shot of Spyware

     Spyware, Malware, Adware... all spyware is bad; some is absolutely destructive.  Tracking Cookies and Pop-Up Ad Servers are invasive and annoying.  Keystroke Loggers can compromise your Security and Privacy.  Trojans and Viruses can wreck your Hard Drive, or turn your computer into a "Zombie" to perform malicious tasks.

     Even Software from reputable Download Websites like Major Geeks, File Hippo and CNET may contain Spyware.  When you are getting a "Free Download", proceed with caution!


.Malwarebytes Spyware Found


    Wikipedia says,

     "Spyware is software that aids in gathering information about a person or organization without their knowledge and that may send such information to another entity without the consumer's consent, or that asserts control over a computer without the consumer's knowledge."


Tracking Cookies found by SuperAntispyware


    One of the easiest ways to Infect your Computer with Spyware is via a "Free Software Download".  Be sure you are running active Anti-Spyware on your computer before getting any "Free Downloads"!


Frederick Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker    850-545-1901


Tallahassee Florida Metropolitan Area

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Frederick Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker    850-545-1901


Disclaimer:  Nothing in the above blog article is to be construed as legal advice, tax advice, or financial advice.  For legal advice see an attorney.   For tax advice or financial advice see a tax attorney, certified public accountant, or other qualified professional.


Comment balloon 28 commentsFred Griffin • November 25 2013 04:40PM


Fred you have knocked it out of the ball park with this winner!  Absolutely right freebie beware of spyware!!!  I am extremely cautious ... Learned the hard way years and years ago.  Highly SUGGESTED

Posted by John McCormack, CRS, Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me! (Albuquerque Homes Realty) about 5 years ago

Fred, I agree with John above.  I got malware on my laptop once several years ago and it crashed my system!  It was unsalvagable.  Earlier this year I got some spy ware and the FL Realtors Tech Support went onto my laptop and took it up and installed a firewall.

Posted by Christine OShea (Christine E O'Shea Real Estate Broker) about 5 years ago

Fred, I couldn't agree with you more!  Great information here.

Posted by Kathy Sheehan, Senior Loan Officer (Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021) about 5 years ago

I just downloaded an update for Adobe PDF and guess what?  They changed by home screen with their junk. It's all gone now, but I was fighting made.  A Name like Adobe should be trusted!

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) about 5 years ago

It is imperative to have something to detect and stop any spyware.  I thank you for this heads up!

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) about 5 years ago

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, since I often get software from BitsDuJour.  They often have a freebie thrown in with the paid options.  At one point I downloaded one of their offerings and my AVG picked something up during a scan.  I immediately got rid of the culprit and am very wary of anything that looks too good to be true.

Posted by Geri Sonkin, Long Island Real Estate & Staging Expert (Douglas Elliman Real Estate 516-457-7103) about 5 years ago

I went to a conference earlier this year and they had "free Wi-Fi" and I thought it was safe.  Nope, it wasn't I got a virus and spyware

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) about 5 years ago

There is a lot of malware.  It is everywhere and I don't think half of the legitimate sites even realize they have it attached to their downloads.

Posted by Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker, Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940 (Mike McCann - Broker, Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska) about 5 years ago

Bryan, we use Spybot and it works great, except that I got something that was blocking Spybot and had to search it out myself and remove it. All is well now, but we check it once a week and Spybot alerts me whenever I click on something that might be malware/spyware.

Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) about 5 years ago

Fred- WOW, it has been forever since I have seen a screen shot like that- must be a windows computer:) Well, the solution is to get a mac :) us mac fans don't have these issues:) We don't need norton anti virus, AVG, etc. Actually, those companies probably promote malware so they can sell more of their anti-virus software:). 

Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) about 5 years ago

Fred thanks for your advice concerning Malwarebytes on Facebook last night.  I ran it and in minutes it cleaned up EXACTLY the list of malware that you posted in this blog.  30 malware files that weren't detected by Norton.  In fact, it cleaned Norton!  This malware had hijacked Norton and posed as Norton in an attempt to get me to "click the link."  Fortunately I didn't fall for it and immeditely sought a solution!  Thanks for weighing in on my post!

Posted by Kate McQueen, Tailored service for your real estate needs! (CB&A Realtors) about 5 years ago

Recently, I lost my computer for six days due to viruses.  It took that long for the store to figure everything out.

Posted by Lisa Friedman, 29 Years of Real Estate Experience! (Great American Dream Realty) about 5 years ago

John - thanks for the Suggest and for the Reblog!

Christine, I hear you... I lost a hard drive once.  About Florida Realtors Tech Support, AND their Legal Hotline... those are outstanding services; worth the price of admission!

Kathy, thank you.

Evelyn, that is so frustrating when Adobe - or other companies change the screen, or remove something that you have enjoyed using.

Joan - it is amazing how many people have computers that are loaded with Malware.  They cannot understand why their machine is running slow!

Geri - I am not familiar with BitsduJour... I just opened it in another tab... looks interesting! 

Tammy - Free WiFi!  I was in the Mall Food Court a while back; logged onto their WiFi... every alarm on my computer went off LOL.  I backed out of there in a hurry.

Mike, agreed.  Although, some of the Spyware may be paid clandestine advertising (I am seeing more and more of it on CNET downloads).

Sharon, I forgot about "Spybot".  I used to have them.  I opened their page in another tab... thanks for the reminder.

Katerina - ah, Mac!  Sometimes I wish I had gone with it when I started using computers... my friend has a Mac... it does seem more intuitive, more functional. 

As for Norton, McAfee - I dropped them back in about 2001.  

AVG used to be a great product (lots of Techies recommended it), but they got hacked a year or two ago; their reputation has never recovered. 

BTW, needless to say I "set up" those Screen Shots.  I used Comodo to sandbox the Spyware; figured out which ones were not going to do any real damage, and then let them onto the drive.  That PUP called "MySearchDial" was a bit of a pain to remove!

Hi, Kate! I recall your Facebook post yesterday.  FWIW, I run several anti-malware programs; Malwarebytes is probably my favorite.

Lisa - 6 days? Ouch! At least you got it back okay!

Posted by Fred Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) about 5 years ago

Malwarebytes program is a free download. So is AVG virus software. They have pay versions. Just don't download anything you don't know.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) about 5 years ago

Bill, there is the kicker!  To protect yourself from Free Downloads, you have to get a Free Download.  LOL

Posted by Fred Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) about 5 years ago

Fred, I have gotten very wary from even trusted sites. With 3 hardware crashes and one motherboard failure in the last 2 years I have had it.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) about 5 years ago

Debbie, it's a never-ending battle!

Posted by Fred Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) about 5 years ago
Fred, good advice. We all need to be reminded of just how invasive some of these seemingly "harmless" downloads can be-- thank you!
Posted by Ralph Gorgoglione, Hawaii and California Real Estate (800) 591-6121 (Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes) about 5 years ago

Mac products need to get cheaper for this reason. :)


Love and light,


Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) about 5 years ago
Fred - This type of thing is such a pain in the neck and unfortunate that we have to be so wary.
Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) about 5 years ago

Thank you for the reminder. I will be careful when I download anything.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) about 5 years ago

The offer of "free" should cause one to think twice...unless it is a free market analysis for a prospective seller!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) about 5 years ago

Yes to this...I became aware of this years ago and I am weary when a free app is introduced. Less is more guides me

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 5 years ago

There's certainly a lot of junk out there and so many sites trying to sneak in a little something special for your computer.

Posted by Aaron Hofmann, aka Mr. Smyrna Vinings (Atlanta Communities) about 5 years ago

Happy T-day Fred just wanted to check out your post and hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving. 

Posted by Charles Stallions Property Manager, Pensacola, Pace & Gulf Breeze Property Management (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services) about 5 years ago

Fred, while TRYING to download Firefox yesterday I wound up with a nasty hijacker known as Search Conduit.  Malware Bytes can't clean it.  I found an online adware tool that did the job, and of course THEY wanted a donation (I have $5) which caused me to wonder if the makers of the adware tool also created Search Conduit.

Posted by Kate McQueen, Tailored service for your real estate needs! (CB&A Realtors) over 4 years ago

Kate - I saw your post on Facebook about that!

Posted by Fred Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Always best to be safe than sorry.

Posted by John McCormack, CRS, Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me! (Albuquerque Homes Realty) over 4 years ago