Who can I trust?

I’ve often mentioned that everyone should be cautious about downloading things from the Internet, especially things that offer to “clean the registry”, “check for out-of-date drivers” or “optimize your PC” and so on. Most (all?) of these are trick to get you to download some malware.

Checking out their websites isn’t any help — the dodgiest bits of software often have the best and most convincing websites. They make a lot of money from their scams, and they spend some of it on good-looking websites and fake review sites that they have created to recommend their software.

And yet there is a lot of excellent, often free, software out there. I use all sorts of very useful free software every day: VLC, Malwarebytes, and so on.

So how to tell the good from the deceptive and dangerous?

The best advice is to find a few trustworthy websites and see what they say. If they recommend some bit of software, it;s worth investigating. If they don’t, leave it alone. You might also want to scan anything you download at VirusTotal.

And if you do decide to install the program, be sure to UNTICK every box that offers you free offers, extra toolbars, etc. You never want these. If you don’t trust yourself to read everything carefully (never just click through), consider installing unchecky, which will do it for you.

So where to start? Here’s three good technical websites that I find very reliable. Click the image …

computerhope

bleeping

howtogeek

This is mostly file downloads, with a few articles:

majorgeeks

And finally, two general advice websites with good tech sections:

lifehacker

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