Refuse to buy, use, recommend or gaze upon any software delivered by scammy means. AVG is now on my "never trust this company" list.
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This installation software for an image collection was trying to install, of all things, a toolbar! I spotted the shenanigans at the last moment.

Watch for bogus installations

October 6, 2013

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, The Post-Standard

There are good guys and there are bad guys.

And then there are weasels who prey on your good nature. Sleazy software vendors who have no morals at all. Slime buckets.

I can't say enough bad things about the reprehensible morons who slip you a mickey when you're trying to install something on your computer. These guys don't hide what they're doing; they do something even worse. They show you something other than what you expected, right out in the open, in the hope that you've got a life, in a hurry, totally disinterested in fine print, or just a good person who wouldn't suspect anything -- and they know you'll click on an "OK" box and end up with spyware, viruses or maybe just stupidware.

As in a toolbar (as if your browser doesn't already have one). An additional "search" tool (as if you've never heard of Google). A cornucopia of uninvited junk.

I'm sick of this. You should be, too.

The worst offenders are the ones who seem trustworthy. You do everything possible to keep your PC out of trouble. You avoid the bad sites. You refuse to click on links sent by your "grandmother" saying "Please to play new game." You know how the bad guys work.

But you have better things to do than read every last comma and period of some stupid old window that pops up when you're installing software you got from a reputable site.

And so you get hammered.

In the screenshot with this column, you can see a typical scammy dialog box. I was trying to install some clip art. Like you -- like just about all of you, I'll guess -- I don't read all the fine print in front of me. Usually, it says something like "The party of the first part herein gesticulates all remunerative insufficiencies" -- followed by 50 more words that not even a lawyer would understand.

So, like you, like all of you, I'll guess, I just went ahead and poised my mouse finger over the thing that said "Accept" and was about to push down on the plastic. Then a funny thing happened. I saw the letters "AVG." So I stopped, wondering what AVG, one of the classiest antivirus makers worldwide, was up to. After all, I thought I was getting clip art.

My mouse finger never went any farther down. AVG had paid the clip art folks to get its junk "toolbar" software barnacled to the clip art. (Trust me. This only happens through the exchange of greenbacks, by people lacking moral sense.) They did it so they could slip this past you and stick their nose in your face and their junkware on your PC.

Another computer columnist, with perhaps less patience than I have, called this "the worst kind of foistware. AVG is a security company. This type of behavior is simply deplorable."

The moral of this story has two parts. First, read what's on your screen. (Do as I say, not as I do, that sort of thing.) Second, refuse to buy, use, recommend or gaze upon any software delivered by such means. AVG is now on my unrecommended list, my "never trust this company" list. Put it on yours, too.