Free often has its price…

This question is what lead me to write this article and I will try to ‘enact’ the average user… Let the show begin!

I will take on the role of a user who is not very internet and computer-savvy. The situation is as follows: I got my shiny new laptop as a birthday present and now am looking forward to using it to surf the internet!

But I know that in order to live free on the net, I need an antivirus solution. Obviously, the only one worth considering is Avira Free AntiVirus. So what will my first step be? I am going to use my already pre-installed Internet Explorer with its pre-defined search engine Bing in order to find the right landing page. To do so I will use the words “Avira kostenlos” because I first want to try the free version and then decide whether I want to buy it or not. Sounds legit, right?

Wohooo! So many results! I’m being flooded by search results …

browser2

I check the first few lines of the search results to find a suitable entry for what I want. “Anti-Virus kostenlos DE- Avira” looks good: it means I reached my aim for a good AntiVirus plus it’s free! Pure win!

I click on the link and land on the according web page. It doesn’t look dangerous or suspicious to me (properly because I have no idea what the original site of Avira looks like).

antivirendownload

The download will start automatically, which, as non-tech savy user, makes things a lot easier so it is very welcome. The website also reminds me not forget to run the application. So let’s do it. Once it opens I kind of notice that the setup looks different from all other setups I’ve executed so far, but who cares, it is free!

‘Avira Free AntiVirus’ only a few clicks away …

setup Myweb
I want it so much …

AVG  DNSBlock
It doesn’t matter how often I have to click on continue. It’s free after all …

Wajam

But why does this window never change its style? And why do I have to accept so many license agreements if there is only one program that I actually want? As our technically inclined readers already know, these many license agreements are not related to the installation of Avira Free AntiVirus. They are part of some additional offers in the installation bundle.

Take a closer look at the above images and read only the first  few words that are written in small letters after ‘Avira Free AntiVirus’. Have you found them? Yes, they are mystartsearch, DNSBlock, Wajam, AVG PC TuneUp: Software that’s definitely not related to Avira at all. In the VirusLab, we know all of them as unwanted applications or PUA. Let’s think about what we wanted: An AntiVirus solution, nothing more. Unfortunately my enthusiasm for the free application also got me additional software which I do not want!

To paint the picture even clearer take a look at the below video to see what exactly is happening:

What now?

When you are surfing the internet, you should be really careful when it comes to what to click. If you want to download something make sure you download it from the original website. In case of Avira that would be: http://www.avira.com/de/avira-free-antivirus. In the end, what is free can have its price. It will cost you time and will be rather stressfull since you need to uninstall all the PUA. Also we are protecting you around the clock, YOU are the last link of the chain who really can care of your computer.

But rest assured that we are protecting you! The above example is already being detected with our latest Avira solution as “PUA/DownloadGuide.Gen”.

Feel free and safe!

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Team Leader Virus Lab Disinfection Service