The bad guys are getting increasingly sneaky. Let me show you how easy it is to be fooled into downloaded a bunch of useless, annoying, or even destructive junkware onto your computer.
Take a look at the following window that popped up in front of me today. It is cleverly disguised as a prompt to update Adobe Flash, including a foreground window suggesting the update is a critical security patch, and a backdrop using the Flash logo.
So, how can you tell that this is bogus? Easy. Look at the URL (web address) shown at the top of the window. It is not from adobe.com, but rather premiumvideoupdates.com. I don’t know who premiumvideoupdates.com is, but I can guarantee you it is not something worthwhile.
Speaking of worthless, don’t make the mistake of downloading any tool that purports to improve your computer performance (including tools that will give you a tune up, fix your registry, speed your memory, or update your drivers). There are no magic bullet add-on tools that will make your computer perform better. The essential tasks required to make your computer perform better involve (1) removal of software and (2) repair or upgrade of hardware. Adding more software will never, ever make your computer work faster.
And, it should go without saying that very few things in life are free. There are some genuinely useful and genuinely free tools available for download, however one thing is for sure: if someone is paying to advertise a free tool, then there is a catch where they getting money from somewhere. Either it is not really free (e.g. a temporary trial), or they are trying to promote some other product or service, or (this is the bad one) junkware / malware / infections will piggyback along with the “free” tool. Follow the money. Nobody spends money to advertise something where they will make no money, and the bad guys don’t do what they do to be mean. There is always money somewhere in the equation, probably in multiple places.