Depending on where you download your software from, you may get nasty surprises in form of adware with it.
This is done to increase revenue for the site's parent company at the expense of users visiting it.
Some sites give you options to opt-out of using the site's custom installer while others don't.
What makes things even more problematic is that offers come in all forms and shapes. There is no general procedure to follow to avoid installing adware as installers may require that you uncheck boxes, click on cancel or none, click on continue instead or perform other operations that are often not obvious and hidden to increase installs.
AntiAdware is a so-called userscript that protects you from installing adware from dozens of popular sites that are known to throw adware installers or offers at you. A list of supported sites has been posted on GitHub.
The list of supported sites includes cnet, filehippo, softonic, sourceforge, sendspace, afterdawn, several Google domains or Adobe's Reader and Flash Player download pages.
How it works depends largely on the site in question. Checkbox offers are removed on most sites for instance so that offers don't get downloaded with the installer when you hit the install or download button.
This is for instance the case on Adobe's website which displays an offer to install McAfee security software by default when you click the install button to download and install Flash Player or Adobe Reader.
On most download sites, it skips download wrappers automatically so that the software itself is download directly to the computer.
While it is doing a great job at that, it is important to pay attention to the process to make sure it works on the site you are on.
In addition, it is important to note that the software itself may still include adware offers as the script does not take care of those.
Google Chrome users are encouraged to download and install Tampermonkey first before they install the script in the browser.
AntiAdware is a useful script as it protects you from adware offers and download wrappers on dozens of sites. While it is certainly possible to bypass all these offers manually instead, it may not be a bad idea to add another level of protection to the process.
Less tech-savvy users may benefit from this the most. If friends or family download from these sites regularly (and install adware on their systems because of this that you may have to clean), then you may want to consider installing the script on their systems along with other helper tools like Unchecky to limit exposure to these threats.Advertisement
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.