Why You Should Not Use Free Software

Free computer software is now a popular trend with Internet users. However, experts view these free download offers as potential sources of threat to your computer system. Free software downloads can easily breach your computer security and serve as a back door entry to malicious programs.

Concept of Free Computer Software

Free computer software is that which can be copied or distributed by the public without any legal restrictions. Legally, a software license and customer agreement is required in order to run any software on your computer. If it is not-for-free or is actually proprietary software, a unique registration key and activation code is incorporated by the manufacturer and passed to the user who purchases the software. This registration key is specific to that particular copy of the software. However, free software comes with a ‘free software license’ and an open registration key. Both of these are available to all, which means that any user can download and install them without worrying about registration formalities.

Free Computer Software and Possible Security Threats

Crusaders of free software view it as an attempt towards democratization of knowledge and expertise while many others view it with suspicion due to security reasons. Another fact to consider is that free software has security flaws in the patch files. This means that there is a strong possibility for an adware, spyware, virus or a malicious program to be hidden along with it. It is best for you to be aware of these potential threats and avoid installing free software. Still, the most popular websites to download free software are CNet and ZDNet. Millions of people are aware of security threats yet they share online data with friends on numerous social networking sites.

Tips for Installing Free Download

It is possible to enjoy the benefits of free software without putting your system at risk. Here are some simple but effective tips to follow before carrying out a free download:

  • Check authenticity: Try to download only from sites that display an authorization certificate. TRUSTe is one of the organizations that certify software vendors and provide ‘trusted seal’ logo for display.
  • Examine source: Search for the original source before you download any software from the Internet. It can be a company or an individual who has provided this content. If it’s a company, you should read the license agreement for verification. Also, examine the privacy and security measures applied by the company or the individual.
  • Do not download widgets from social networking sites. They may contain adware or spyware applications.
  • Avoid file sharing with online friends who are not your personal contacts. There is no mechanism to test the identity of online friends.
  • Advanced virus or spyware removers carry out a security check before you download an application. Once a high quality virus remover is installed, you can be at ease from potential security threats.

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