Is Freeware safe? why the makers of software offer it for free to use? What could be the possible hidden dangers of downloading free software’s. If you are downloading a freeware from a reputable source, you can generally consider it to be safe and trustworthy.
Heard the popular adage “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”. Many believe this holds true even when it comes to free software,. And let me tell you in most cases, this does make sense.
We may think that companies offer freeware to us to benefit from their products. However, sadly that is often far from the truth. These so called freeware are often used as baits to lure a user to either install a malicious spyware or even worse luring to give away the rights to use their personal information’s, like e-mail, phone numbers, log in IDs, Bank details etc.
And let me tell you, most of the time it is the user at fault. Remember the terms and conditions (TOC) also called as EULA. That you had to agree before signing up or downloading a freeware ? Many user’s don’t read that, and just click on “I Agree” button to start the download. I agree these so called TOC/license agreement are very lengthy and full of jargon. This is the reason why most of us just skip it. Some license agreements may run up to more than 3000 words and if you print, it will run in to seven pages or so.
So how exactly are we going to shift through these lengthy agreements without overlooking the most important details. Let me show you how to get all the benefits of what a freeware has to offer without having to put your personal information’s at danger. Don’t fret, freeware are here to stay and we will continue to use it but with a little bit of caution.
E.U.L.A ! what is it ?
EULA stands for “End-user License Agreement”. It may sound simple, but this is the menacing legal document that governs the use of the software application you just downloaded after signing up by clicking the “I Agree” button, remember that ?
This EULA is normally presented to you before you sign up for downloading a software, where you are required to insert a check mark on a box, declaring that you have read the terms and and conditions and you agree to it. Legally speaking its just like signing on a contract agreement paper.
DO YOU NEED TO READ THE EULA ?
Yes , you need to read it. The biggest advantage is that many of your questions regarding the software usage is answered here. For example some companies might say purchasing a software doesn’t mean you own the software. Its only the License for the software you paid. Which also mean that the company retains the copyrights to the software, which includes everything. EULA will also tell you whether you can install in more than one system or not.
The most important reason to read the EULA is to protect from giving away your personal information’s to the company and your right to privacy. You will also know here the company’s methods of checking your surfing habits. Whether it is restricted to their sites only or on all the sites you surf.
So reading the EULA will alert you whether or not you are being spied on. Some EULA’s are very cleverly written, may force you to install some third party software, which could well be a spyware or a Malware. So watch out for those in the EULA, and think before you insert the check mark on “I Agree”.
All these EULA staff should not make you paranoid about freeware. The best practice is to think before you fill in the form (If there is any). Don’t give away your personal information’s. Make it a point to have a separate E-mail id. for such purposes. Don’t give away your personal E-mail add to avoid spams. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should live a life like a secret agent, even though you may not have anything to hide.
Simply put, you shouldn’t post something or enter any information’s that you wouldn’t display in your public life. Just remember that a careless click of a mouse can get you in to a lot of trouble.
So just be cautious, and by all means read those EULAs! Freeware software are here to stay and a life saver for many us. Download all your freeware software from reputed sites only, make it a point to read the comments from other users, you will be surprised to see very informative and constructive comments, which will guide you to take decisions.