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Before the establishment of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the United States, pretty much anyone could mix up anything and call it medicine. The people going around selling these concoctions were often called 'snake oil salesmen' and the term still sticks today when someone tries selling something that doesn't work as promised, but fools some into thinking it works. While it is now illegal to sell medicine with faulty claims of its performance, that hasn't carried over to the software world. Junk software and scareware is rampant these days because it is so easily spread over the Internet, and Cyberdefender 64-bit is the software equivalent of snake oil. Learn more about this software and its true purpose in this article, before you fall for the false promises and infect your computer with this quackery.
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Cyberdefender Is Scareware
Scareware is a type of malware also called a fake virus scanner. There are tons of variations of these type programs going around the web, but the general idea is that they try to make you think your computer is infected with viruses and malware. Scareware will bombard you with pop-up messages, redirect your search engine results, stop software from loading, and generally make your computer a hassle to even use. Furthermore, this type of stuff is very difficult to uninstall because it was designed not to be easy to remove.
What happens when you get all those pop-ups is that the software says you must buy something before it can remove the infections it claims to have found. If you don't "activate now" then you'll continue to have the disruptions. Some scareware does this to trick people into providing credit card information to scam them, while others just do it to trick people into paying to fix a problem that didn't really exist in the first place.
If you want proof that Cyberdefender gives false alerts, look no further than fellow Bright Hub author Donna Buenaventura's scathing review of this software. She did a clean install of Windows XP with Service Pack 3, then installed this software and it supposedly found three threats, but of course required payment to remove them. What's funny is that more than half of legitimate security programs will actually detect the main Cyberdefender executable file as malware. That should tell you something.
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Further Proof of Fraudulent Behavior
Just how bad is Cyberdefender? I found an online message board called ComplaintsBoard.com that has an active thread that was started in November 2008 and is still getting comments as recently as July of 2011. That's nearly three years of complaints. You'd think somebody would have caught on by now.
Remember the FinallyFast TV Commercials that famously showed someone on a Mac computer getting a Windows BSOD (blue screen of death) error? The same company behind those commercials and others like MyCleanPC is called Ascentive, and they are the makers of Cyberdefender. Ascentive had to repay customers thousands of dollars after the Washington state attorney general took them up for their fraudulent sales practices. You can read the press release from the Washington AG's office in the References section at the bottom of this article.
If you look at what their services like FinallyFast and MyCleanPC and even Cyberdefender promise, you'll notice they all sound eerily similar. It's amazing that they can keep repackaging and renaming this junk software. They've obviously made enough money running this game that they can afford primetime TV commercials which only dupe more people into becoming victims.
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Don't Fall Victim
You've probably heard about unscrupulous garages taking advantage of customers by claiming their cars needed repairs that weren't really necessary. These types of scams play off of uniformed victims. Much in the same way that a car owner may not know the different between a spark plug and a heater coil, many computer owners don't know the different between the system registry and a local user profile. All some junk 'security software' has to do is mention the word "virus" and people freak out because they don't know any better. It's even worse when they reach for their wallets, and it happens all the time.
A great many legitimate security programs are available for your PC, and some of them are even free. Microsoft makes a great one called Security Essentials, for example. Any time you hear of a software company making exaggerated claims like what you see on TV commercials, this should immediately throw up red flags. It's sad that you not only have to be careful what you do with your computer, but you also have to be careful what kind of security software you install.
Don't be a victim to false promises that you read online because there are still a lot of snake oil salesmen out there. No herbal supplement is going to 'extend your member' and you have not, unfortunately, won any European lotteries. There are not really any African princes needing your help getting their fortunes out of their native country, and Cyberdefender will not make your computer run faster.
- Washington State Office of the Attorney General, Company that promises cleaner, faster computers should scrub its sales practices, http://www.atg.wa.gov/pressrelease.aspx?&id=27102
- ComplaintsBoard, Cyberdefender, http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/cyberdefender-c95821.html?sort=datea&page=1
- Ripoff Report, Cyberdefender, http://www.ripoffreport.com/Search/cyberdefender.aspx
- Image credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Law_gavel.jpg, Creative Commons 3.0