Don't Believe Everything you Click.
My Co-Worker: "Excuse me! Can you help me with this thing?"
Me: (Thinking, "Again?!!?") "Sure! What is it?"
CW: "It's this software I bought." (Shows me a sales voucher) "I just installed it, but I can't get it to work right."
Me: (Leaning in for a closer look) "Ah. Registry editor and system optimizer. I've used those. What's the problem?"
CW: "Well, I don't know. Like I said, I installed it, but now it just flashes error messages at me and doesn't do anything."
Me: "Let me have a look." (He stands and I sit) "Well, part of the problem is that you have other programs trying to do stuff. The registry editor is saying to close all open applications. There's other stuff running. What's this 'cloud back-up service'?"
CW: "Yeah...I need to set that up, too."
Me: "It's asking you to create an account. You need to do that for it to work."
CW: "Okay, here..." (Leans over and puts in the required information)
Me: "Okay, that took care of that. Now it's....what the...? It's just a trial version! Only 40 files unless you pay? That's just..."
CW: "Oh, well. I don't really need it, anyway."
CW: "I don't even know where it came from. All these other programs, too." (Points at various icons) "They just appeared after I installed the one I bought."
Me: "Bundled, eh? You probably don't need them. I'll just shut them all for now. Still not working! But the only open apps are Spybot and your virus scanner, and I won't...well, I'll close Spybot for now. Okay, I guess that did it, but...ah! You need to register the program you bought. There's probably a key..." (Looks around) "Right, there it is. But they still want you to register. You need to put your info here."
CW: "Okay..." (Puts in the required information) "Did that do it?"
Me: "There it goes! Now it's cleaning up your registry! But what's with all these ads trying to get you to download or buy stuff? None of the system editors I've used had all this crap!"
CW: "I don't know. I really have no idea about any of this."
Me: (After a little while) "Okay, it's done. It's going to do a system reboot now. Okay, so far so good but...what the...? This program is really kind of obnoxious, isn't it...and these others...what in the world? They're ALL limited trial versions that give you just enough to make you want to buy the full version! What is this?"
CW: "No idea. Like I said, they just appeared."
Me: (Looking around) "I don't like it. This really stinks. Hey, I know I installed Malwarebytes and Spybot on your computer last spring, and Spybot is running! But where are the icons?"
Me: "Never mind." (Finds the executable file for Malwarebytes, starts it, and initiates a scan. Meanwhile, does a Google search.) "Hmm. Okay, there's the program you bought. The forums and reviewers are saying it is a legitimate program from a legitimate company, but..." (But the program is second rate and the company's reputation is spotty to say the least. Meanwhile, every time a new web page is accessed, Spybot blocks an unidentified "suspicious cookie") "It's probably best not to click on anything it puts up that says 'download' or 'buy'. The manufacturer is into hard sales."
Me: "Okay, here's...wow! 243 malware files!" (Including ALL the recently installed applications, even the one he bought.) (Tells Malwarebytes to remove everything except the purchased software, lets it reboot the system, and has Spybot do a follow-up scan. Spybot finds some hidden garbage from those evil apps that either Malwarebytes missed or something replaced. Once again, tells Spybot to remove everything except the purchased program) "Okay, that should be alright, but again, don't 'download' or 'purchase' anything from that system editor!"
CW: (A little crestfallen) "Got it."
Me: "By the way, I'm curious. Where did you buy this program?"
CW: "I got it direct from the computer."
Me: "You mean online?"
CW: "I guess so. Yes."
Me: "What do you mean? What led you to get it?"
CW: "Well, I was just doing some work here, and suddenly this window appears telling me that my computer isn't running right and telling me to do a scan. I did the scan, and it told me the system was messed up and I had to buy the program to fix it. So I did. I mean, it said Microsoft on it. You mean it wasn't part of Windows?"
Me: "Uh, no...it wasn't."
Oh, well. I guess there's one born every minute. Unfortunately.