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Download.com malware policies

When it comes to fighting malware--a nasty group of software that includes adware, spyware, viruses, Trojans, and rootkits--CNET Download.com has always been in your corner. We have always manually evaluated every downloadable Windows product that we list on the site, and since 2005, we've had a zero-tolerance policy that prohibits all undisclosed bundled software and all software that serves browser pop-up ads. Our commitment and ability to exclude malware from our catalog has grown considerably in recent years.

You should feel safe knowing that a Download.com staffer has tested each software product included in our Windows software directory. Applications that serve ads via browser pop-up windows, record computer usage (when not requested), install secret additional software, or make other significant changes to users' computers without their consent will not be allowed in our catalog.

For trials and freeware downloads of anti-malware products, as well as editorial and user reviews of antivirus and other security software, please visit the Download.com Security Software section.

Trusted, safe, & secure

Every time you download software from Download.com, you can trust that we've tested it and found it to be free of malware. All product submissions are scanned via automated and manual scans to ensure compliance. Discoveries of malware components result in rejection or expulsion from our download library.

The Download.com processors employ a combination of the latest and most effective security applications, including, of course, some of the most popular products on Download.com. Because the set of products shifts regularly to encourage comprehensiveness and because we definitely don't want to imply any editorial favoritism in security software reviews, we do not publicly disclose the specific suite of security programs that we use. We also work with leading security-software publishers to regularly audit our catalog for any programs that may have been reclassified as malware.

'I found malware on Download.com!'

While our malware policies are clear and well communicated to all Download.com team members, we are not immune to mistakes. If you find a product you think could be considered malware listed on Download.com, please click the "Report a Problem" link underneath the "Quick Specs" section of every Windows product page. A communication window provides the selection "This program has malware" with a description field to include as much info as you can to help us determine the program's safety.

A quick note on false positives: the security-software market is extremely competitive, with many high-quality programs hoping to attract users. The downside of that competition is that some products can be overly aggressive in detecting malware, leading to "false positive" reports. We use a combination of security software to gauge the overall safety of the program. In short, if one security app flags something, that doesn't automatically make it malware to us.