Posted on 2011-04-28
Last Modified: 2013-12-09

I have just downloaded a free program and installed on my own PC.  A little bit nervous about security issue.

If I enter any data into this program, is there anything I need to concern about?  Like whehter the data can be accessed by the program provider, or anything else.

Thank you very much in advanace.

Question by:mk50
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    The basic answer is that there is no way to know.
    What is the program - and what is the link you used?

    In general, it is always a good idea to do some Google searching to find out what you can, before downloading.

    Author Comment


    Do you mean that the program provider has no way to access my data
    or you mean there is no answer to my question.

    The program I have downloaded seems working fine.  My question is for any program if I download from internet  

    How about cookie?
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    You should never download and install ANY program without thoroughly investigating it first.

    "Cookies" can absolutely track your activity - and send data back to various web sites/servers.

    In my first comment, I meant that there is no way for us to answer your question specifically - unless you give us some details about the program and the download site.

    We can research it for you - if we have more information.

    Author Comment

    Ok, understand!

    However, if I have downloaded, then is there any software to scan whether the program is safe enough to use? or can I delete all cookies to stop it sending data back to a unknown site?
    LVL 38

    Assisted Solution

    You can do some basic malware prevention and scanning: (MALWARE - "An Ounce of Prevention...") (Basic Malware Troubleshooting)

    Note the recommendation for using
    Some cookies will not be deleted with your basic "Delete" option with Internet Explorer, so you will need to use a third-party tool.

    Once again, if you will give more specific information on the actual program, I can give you more specific details about it.
    LVL 5

    Accepted Solution

    If you use a software/OS based firewall you can track whether an application is being called or making calls to the provider without your consent. Endpoint Protection, AVG, Zonealarm all have this feature.

    You can also use TCP VIEW or A-port to monitor traffic over ports but cannot see the data being transferred. You would need to use a traffic capture utility to explore the data being transferred. Ethereal, Wireshark are good utilities to use but are a bit advanced for traffic analysis.
    LVL 11

    Assisted Solution

    The answer to your question is YES you have to be concerned.

    Not only cookies are dangerous a program can do a lot of things harvesting and sending out your info w/o using any cookies.
    What can you do? it depends on your skills but fortunately there are basic rules.

    If you download free software:
    1) Do it from known websites,
    2) Read people reviews and comments; see if those comments seem to be real or fake
    i.e. see here suspicious positive comments on a free downloadable program as you can see they are the same length, from very recent dates and all positive, this is a hook!

    on the next level if you know communications you can trace network activity and see what kind of communication the program conducts. In general this is a long process only performed on specific cases as virus/spyware research etc...

    also you can see how intrusive the program is, it is going to install a kernel driver? why? is really required?

    another indication is program size; if you downloaded a desktop clock and the program weights 5 megs something is probably wrong there....

    summarizing your best bet is always see what people said before, if you cannot find comments do not install anything.


    Author Closing Comment

    Thank you very much for all answers

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