I know you are pro in searching and downloading pirated softwares and I am also pretty much sure you are aware of the risk behind it.
But what about open source and free softwares? Do you download them from any 3rd party websites or file-sharing networks? well its time to be aware of the risk.
Popular open-source softwares that are being downloaded by thousands of internet users every day includes a VLC media player, Google chrome browser and others.
Most people prefer downloading these from unofficial websites, because they feel its more complicated when downloading from official websites, Like in the case of downloading ‘Google chrome browser’ from the official webpage, you are first required to download small downloader which will then download and install the chrome browser on your PC.
But many other websites provide download link for the full “Google chrome” exe file and people prefer this way.
We all know that the main objective of open-source software developers is to share the source code with everyone.
Because they expect other developers to fix any bugs or add new features to it and make it more beautiful.
But sometimes it gets abused.
Scammers are taking advantage of the availability of the source code to trick users and make money.
The Scammers are adding malware and adware to these softwares and releasing them as the original product. Some deceptive sites are even re-branding the original open-source project and selling them as a new product.
The Scammers are Binding “open-source software” with various crapware to monetize the software with loads of advertisements and earn money.
The result of this is a poor product that doesn’t work as intended, that can’t be uninstalled and that clearly abuses its users and their privacy. Recently there were reports that some websites are selling “Mozilla Firefox browser”, using the Mozilla trademarks to promote other products and services, or using modified versions of the Mozilla trademarks.
How do these Scammers work?
- They Download the source code from open source projects and add adware or malware to it.
- They release their version of the product and disguise as the original.
- They advertise their product on adverting networks like Google AdWords.
- They earn more money through the malware and adware bundled with their version of free software.
- They buy more advertisements to spread their copy of free software and earn even more.
These activities are indeed deceptive, harm users and cause consumer confusion. Open source softwares are affected and will keep on affected by this scourge and there’s not much we can do about it. So the next time you download any free open-source software, make sure you are in the right place.