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What is Fake Download Bar and Why You Should Never Click on It


How to Spot and Avoid Fake Download Bars




Have you ever encountered a web page that offers you a free software download, but instead of a real download button, you see a fake download bar that tries to trick you into clicking on it? If so, you are not alone. Fake download bars are a common and annoying online scam that can expose you to various risks, such as unwanted software, malware, phishing, identity theft, and more. In this article, we will explain what fake download bars are, why they are dangerous, how to identify them, how to avoid them, and how to deal with them if you accidentally click on them.




fake download bar



What are fake download bars and why are they dangerous?




Fake download bars are deceptive ads that trick you into downloading unwanted software or malware




Fake download bars are advertisements that masquerade as real download buttons or links. They are designed to look like legitimate parts of the web page, but they actually lead to unrelated or malicious websites that offer you unwanted software or malware. For example, you may see a fake download bar that claims to offer you a free antivirus program, but when you click on it, you end up downloading a rogue program that infects your computer with viruses.


Fake download bars can harm your computer, compromise your privacy, and waste your time




Fake download bars can cause various problems for you and your computer. Depending on what kind of software or malware they deliver, they can:


  • Slow down your computer performance



  • Display annoying pop-ups and notifications



  • Change your browser settings and homepage



  • Redirect your searches to unwanted websites



  • Steal your personal information and passwords



  • Damage your files and system



  • Extort money from you by locking your computer or encrypting your data



Besides these risks, fake download bars can also waste your time and bandwidth by making you download unnecessary or harmful programs instead of the ones you wanted.


How to identify fake download bars on web pages?




Fake download bars often look like large, colorful buttons with text like "Free Download" or "Download Now"




One of the easiest ways to spot a fake download bar is to look at its appearance. Fake download bars often look like large, colorful buttons with text like "Free Download" or "Download Now". They may also have flashy animations or sounds to attract your attention. However, these features are meant to distract you from the real download button or link, which is usually smaller, less noticeable, or hidden somewhere else on the page.


Fake download bars usually lead to unrelated or suspicious websites when you hover over them or click on them




Another way to identify a fake download bar is to check where it leads you when you hover over it or click on it. You can do this by looking at the status bar of your browser, which shows the URL of the link you are about to visit. If the URL does not match the name or description of the software you want to download, or if it looks suspicious or unfamiliar, it is likely a fake download bar. For example, if you want to download a PDF reader, but the URL of the download bar is something like "free-antivirus-download.com", you should avoid clicking on it.


Fake download bars may have spelling or grammar errors, or use generic or irrelevant icons




A third way to spot a fake download bar is to look at its language and design. Fake download bars may have spelling or grammar errors, or use generic or irrelevant icons that do not match the software they claim to offer. For example, you may see a fake download bar that says "Downlaod Adobe Flash Player" with a Windows logo, even though you are using a Mac. These mistakes are signs that the download bar is not authentic and may be part of a scam.


How to avoid fake download bars when downloading free software?




Use reputable sources and official websites for downloading software




The best way to avoid fake download bars is to use reputable sources and official websites for downloading software. Reputable sources are websites that have a good reputation and credibility among users and experts, such as CNET, Softonic, FileHippo, etc. Official websites are websites that belong to the developers or publishers of the software, such as Adobe.com, Microsoft.com, Apple.com, etc. These websites usually provide safe and reliable downloads for their software, without any fake download bars or other deceptive ads.


Read the reviews and ratings of the software before downloading it




Another way to avoid fake download bars is to read the reviews and ratings of the software before downloading it. Reviews and ratings are feedback from other users who have tried the software and can give you an idea of its quality, functionality, and safety. You can find reviews and ratings on reputable sources, official websites, or other platforms such as blogs, forums, social media, etc. If the software has positive reviews and ratings from many users, it is likely trustworthy and free of fake download bars. However, if the software has negative reviews and ratings from many users, or no reviews and ratings at all, it is likely dubious and risky.


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Use a browser extension or a tool that blocks ads and pop-ups




A third way to avoid fake download bars is to use a browser extension or a tool that blocks ads and pop-ups. Ads and pop-ups are the main sources of fake download bars and other malicious ads on web pages. By blocking them, you can reduce the chances of encountering fake download bars and improve your browsing experience. There are many browser extensions and tools that can block ads and pop-ups, such as AdBlock, uBlock Origin, Ghostery, etc. You can install them on your browser and customize them according to your preferences.


How to deal with fake download bars if you accidentally click on them?




Close the browser tab or window immediately and do not follow any instructions or prompts




If you accidentally click on a fake download bar, the first thing you should do is close the browser tab or window immediately. Do not follow any instructions or prompts that appear on the screen, such as "Run", "Save", "Install", "Allow", etc. These are likely attempts to make you download unwanted software or malware on your computer. If possible, cancel any downloads that may have started automatically.


Scan your computer for malware and remove any suspicious programs or files




If you suspect that your computer may have been infected by malware after clicking on a fake download bar, you should scan your computer for malware and remove any suspicious programs or files. You can use a reputable antivirus program or a malware removal tool to perform a full scan of your computer and detect any potential threats. You should also check your list of installed programs and uninstall any unfamiliar or unwanted ones.


Change your browser settings and restore your home page and search engine if they were altered




If your browser settings and home page were changed by malware after clicking on a fake download bar, you should change them back to your preferred ones. You can do this by accessing your browser settings and options and modifying them according to your needs. You should also restore your default search engine if it was replaced by a malicious one. You can find


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