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Say no to DriveCleaner

Question : A pop-up ad told me to run a "DriveCleaner" program to remove spyware left on my PC by adult Web sites. I don't visit them, and I've never heard of this program, so I declined the offer. Was that the right call?

Answer : Absolutely. The way this company chooses to present itself to the world tells you everything you need to know about it.

First, it markets itself in ads written to evade the pop-up blocker built into every modern browser. That's just plain rude -- and if a company won't respect your obvious wish to not be interrupted by pop-up ads, it will probably be a pest in other ways.

Second, the DriveCleaner Web site says next to nothing about the company behind this program, not even listing its street address. (No, I'm not going to publish its Web address.) Real companies don't hide their identities like that.

Third, run a Google search on "drivecleaner": The first site listed is a page on Symantec's site, which warns that this program "gives exaggerated reports of security and privacy risks on a computer." It continues: "The program then prompts the user to purchase a registered version of the software in order to remove the reported risks."

Trust your suspicions when it comes to pushy ads for software or sites you've never heard of. You're much safer adopting a policy of "guilty until proven innocent."


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