Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Software awards scam

Andy Brice decided to test various download sites to see which ones would give awards (and expect a banner to be posted by the developer's website with a link back) to a piece of "software" that consisted only of a text file named "awardmestars" containing the words "this program does nothing at all" repeated several times. He submitted it to 1033 sites, of which 218 sites listed it and 421 rejected it. Of those that accepted it, 11% gave it an award (he's currently at 23 awards):
The truth is that many download sites are just electronic dung heaps, using fake awards, dubious SEO and content misappropriated from PAD files in a pathetic attempt to make a few dollars from Google Adwords. Hopefully these bottom-feeders will be put out of business by the continually improving search engines, leaving only the better sites.
He notes the following sites which wrote him to say to stop wasting their time, indicating that they actually check submissions:



www.download-tipp.de (German)

The author wonders whether download sites that certify software as "100% clean" actually scan submitted software for malware, but says to test it would be unethical. Actually, something very much like his test could be done, using the EICAR antivirus test file instead of his text file.

(Via Dave Palmer on the SKEPTIC list.)

No comments: