Nowadays the problems of safety on the Internet and damage caused by malware go viral. Malware in software is getting smarter, deadlier, and better at avoiding detection. With today’s generation of users downloading lots and lots of various programs onto their devices from the web, the damage that malware can cause has escalated tremendously. Many users are scared to download from portals because of the probable damage. So, today we are going to find out all the pros and cons of one of the most common download portals: Softonic, an installer that offers safe downloading and has a pretty high rating.
Safety Search through the Web of Trust
We surfed the net for data and found a pool of recent feedback on Web or Trust (WOT). But before we turn to the opinions by users, let’s see what the portal services include as described on their own resources.
As the official page goes, the main mission of Softonic is to make software discovery and downloads reassuringly safe. In over 18 years of cataloging the world’s software, the installer has built a massive collection of over 160,000 software titles. The portal claims that software containing malware is permanently removed from the catalog.
With this huge work being taken and with the recent development of the Softonic software and app discovery portal some users, however, report malware/adware threats. We had to be certain so let’s look at some statistics and feedback.
As we looked at WOT data, 85% of the users rated the site as trustworthy, which is a rather high rate for an installations portal. What grabbed some attention, however, is that we could find more negative than positive feedback here. Users reported a number of issues with the product ranging from irritating ads to viruses.
We went a step further to check a number of online resources which contained reviews dating back to 3-4 years ago. Surprisingly, these reviews were more positive and claimed malware cases were very occasional. Velocity Reviews discussions and the thread on How to Geek seem positive about the product. We also spotted similar reviews for the same timespan in WOT. It seems like the change in quality hasn’t been there a couple of years ago, but is there for users who want to download stuff now. And independent user reviews, like such found on Quora seem to be on the same wave!
Softonic “Reported” Safety Issues
We’ve singled out the main troubles that the users come across while using the installation service:
- The installer claims to protect from malware BUT causes malware itself
Many users find Softonic a cause of malware/ adware and not a protection against it. Whenever users try to download something, it automatically downloads other unwanted programs and even viruses. When viruses are detected and deleted the downloaded program stops working. After downloading the program and finding the malware users have to go through the long process of cleaning their devices. If there’s antivirus on the user’s device, the downloaded programs can cause a lot of damage.
AVG threat lab detected 18 malware, and still shows Softonic as safe website.
- Softonic takes control over the device
Another part of the users is much concerned with the control that Softonic takes over the devices after it was downloaded and installed. After installation, some users can’t get back onto the Internet because the app space is completely taken up. In many cases the program makes itself the home page in the devices. Here is a comment over all the trouble that the service can cause; “I never saw this program until it took over my computer. It became my browser and homepage. It destroyed my antivirus program, blocked access to all antimalware sites including WOT. Is still in registry. How to get it out? “.
- Outdated versions of the programs
You can see complains about Softonic offering outdated versions of programs. Thus, while downloading the programs users were sure they were downloading the updated and fresh versions, but after installation they found out that they were spending their time on getting outdated versions.
- Too many Ads
A lot of users leave feedback with complains about numerous ads (very often popping up in a pretty aggressive way) that make the downloading process very irritating.
As a tech-savvy internet user, you may be aware of Adblockers. One simple way to get around is using AdBlock which is quite good for most browsers.
- Downgrading problems
Many users found their software downgraded after using Softonic. As it takes control over the device it downgrades a part of software. For instance, one user reported his Vista downgraded to XP.
So, these are the main troubles that users come across while using the service.
Along with negative feedback, other users who download with this installer are pretty pleased with all the products that it offers. Leaving some positive comments most of the users STILL WARN that some downloads include adware (such as spyware toolbar or hidden elements), advertising links to malicious websites, tracking cookies. Even the users that give high rates for the service and trust it claim that Softonic used to offer better service several years ago, but nowadays the productivity has decreased and using it can cause different troubles.
Users also claim that the issues with security that come forth are rather worrying and even though they haven’t come across Trojans or viruses, safety issues are still there.
So, is Softonic safe?
So, after our lengthy “Is Softonic Safe?” research we can see that there is more negative than positive feedback. The greatest problem that all users agree on is that when using this service you automatically can download some malware, cookies or unnecessary programs. The second point that many users speak about is that Softonic used to be pretty good several years ago, but nowadays the productivity of the safety guarding has decreased with alarming safety reports. Given its mission to make downloading safe it seems like the service has to put in some really hard work to regain trust after a major downfall.
Whether you decide to download from the site or not, make sure you’re cautious: don’t click on ads and don’t agree to install additional stuff- this may save you lots of time and worries!
The opinions in this article as those of the author and might not reflect any other authors or WindowsInstructed and our affiliations.