How To Know Fake Software and Software Updates

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Software updates are very important. With every new update that is rolled out in software or even in your operating system, you get new features, better functionality, more optimized performance, and enhanced stability. Also, with most updates, developers address glitches, bugs, and patch vulnerabilities.

But, here’s the deal – You should be wary of where these updates are coming from. Are the updates or the software you are downloading legit or is it a malicious trap set forth by a threat actor?

In this post, we’ll have a look at some of the red flags you should look for when downloading a software or software update. And, also what you should do just in case you fall into one such trap where you unintentionally or intentionally downloaded a software or software update from a sketchy source.

What Is Fake Software and Fake Software Update?

Let’s discuss both these terms one by one. Fake software as the name suggests is not genuine software. It mimics genuine software but hardly ever does what it is meant to do. Also, in various cases, its intent is to proliferate a user’s device with malicious threats. It is often distributed via phishing emails, fake download links, or malicious websites.

A fake software update is a notification that prompts users to update the software on their device. Whether it be fake software or software updates, like the recent fake Windows 11 upgrade installer, both mostly infect devices with malware.

Tell-Tale Signs That A Software Or Software Update Is Fake

– Pop-Ups and Ads Start Warning You That Your PC Is Flooded With Viruses

A pop-up or ad prompting you to scan your PC for viruses or other malicious threats is a red flag that indicates that the software or software update is fake. We have already covered a post, where we have discussed in detail how you can spot, avoid, and remove fake Antivirus.

Not just an Antivirus or any other software, we urge you to not take any action that the pop-up or ad is asking you to do. Since, the moment you’ll do what the pop-up says, your PC might get infected with malware. For instance, many fake software install keyloggers on your computer with which threat actors can record your keystrokes including your crucial credentials such as login ids and passwords.

What Else Do These Pop-ups Ask You To Do?

  • Prompt you to update your browser when your browser is running the latest version.
  • Redirect you to a page where you are asked to fill your personal details.
  • To install .exe files and plugins.
  • The pop-up comes from software that you don’t own or haven’t installed.

– You Receive Emails Asking You To Install Software or Updates

First off, most legit software that you download has a dedicated section from where you can check for updates. No software developer or organization would ever send you an email compelling you to download the update or software per se.

Yes, if you have opted for notifications about the offers that the company rolls out, you’ll get such emails from the company itself provided you have opted-in for such offers. If that’s not the case, some threat actor might be roping you into an email attack.

– You Have Downloaded Software or Software Update From a Malicious Website

We are a strong advocate of installing software from legit websites – From the official developer’s website or digital distribution platforms like Microsoft Store. These platforms enforce stringent measures to ensure that the software is legit and free from any vulnerabilities.

How To Stay Away From Fake Software

– First and foremost, keep an Antivirus ready

An Antivirus like Systweak Antivirus offers real-time protection that instantly detects and neutralizes threats, adware, viruses, and apps that try to sneak past your device’s security. Here are some of the other security features that it offers –

  • Exploit protection against zero-day threats, PUP, Trojan, adware and more.
  • Web and firewall protection.
  • Multiple scan modes – Quick, Deep and Custom.
  • Schedule scans.
  • Functionality to quarantine suspected items.

– Only Download From Trusted Sources

As we said before, it is important that you install software only from trusted sources. Some users opt to use cracked version software, which are typically modified to bypass security and licensing measures. Such software bears the risk of carrying malicious threats. Not just that, many such software install unwanted programs that consume system resources.

Talking of updates – the problem with cracked software is that they can’t be updated via normal channels. This means such software exposes your PC to vulnerabilities and installing updates could be considered a violation of copyright laws.

– Check For Reviews

There are various platforms where you can find genuine reviews of users for any given software. In these comments, you even be able to find any red flags or issues with the software.

– Don’t Click On Links In Emails

Never ever click on any links in emails from unknown senders.

– Pay Heed To Permissions

If a software is asking you to grant permissions that are not related to its functionality or are excessive, it’s best to stay away from such software.

Bonus Tip

To fetch genuine malware-free updates, you can try out a software updater tool like Systweak Software Updater that helps replace outdated software with the latest version.

A Little Awareness and Prudence Goes A Long Way

Before you fall prey to malicious threats and regret later, it is important that you pay caution and install software and software updates from legit sources. We also urge you to keep informed about the latest cybersecurity threats for which you can always check out NaijaTechNews.

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