Softonic is a Catalonia based Spanish company which was founded in the year 1997 with the sole intention of providing content to the users free of cost. Initially it started as a file hosting service called Shareware Intercom. They developed Softonic for Windows and DOS-based Operating Systems. But as per the demands of the time, this is now available for Mac, iOS and Android as well. The website started in Spanish for obvious reasons, is currently available in a total of nine languages including English, French and Japanese.
Why the Question?
Initially, Softonic was regarded as a nice place to visit for getting the desired files in the simplest way possible. There were no registrations, no checks and no caps either. At first, it seemed to be a nice idea and Softonic, at a point reached to around one hundred million visitors per month with an equal number of downloads. But over the time, due to Repeated complaints about the websites on a variety of platforms attract some suspicion to the site.
The discussion regarding the safety of Softonic as a website makes sense because, Under the name of providing a free file, it might be invading the personal space of the users which is potentially very harmful in the modern era where there is already a risk of data theft.
3 Reasons Why Softonic is Safe
Over the time, as the reports regarding the content provided by Softonic being malicious have emerged, Softonic came out quick to inform its users that the platform they are using is safe from all attacks. One of the employees has even revealed the check the process that the company followed to prevent any malicious software from creeping in.
According to some of the employees at the company, the company conducts a three-phase test for the content hosted by the website before it is available for its users.
There are no exceptions to this rule and every single file that Softonic hosted is through the three-phase process. This process involves the following phases:
1. Manual Testing
The software company says that in this stage, the files that have uploaded to the website will manually screen according to their titles. If any files are suspected to be suspicious or are expected to contain any malware, they are removed straightaway. But, this is not the only screening the files have to go through. The sources from where the files have uploaded will also get scan and check for potentially harmful content. Thus, it becomes challenging for malware to creep in.
2. Scanning using Anti Virus Softwares
After the files have been screened for harmful content manually. They are put to scanning through some of the best antivirus programs that are available in the market. The number of times we scanned the files for malware and explicit content is at least 50. Thus, the chances of getting malware on the website reduces drastically since all the antivirus programs cannot fail at once. Most of the malware has removed at this stage of screening and only the harmless content gets to the website.
3. Using Google Safe Check
Once the antivirus programs have scanned the files, they checked it for security via Google. In this stage they check if the source of the files is somewhere which is notorious for sending malware. If such is the case, the files will not put on the website. After all, in the modern era, no one knows more than Google itself.
Why Softonic is Not Safe?
A lot of users have reported that the company has embedded various malware and adware. This is to increase its revenue without making proper checks. This has led to data theft, continuous ads and redirection to various harmful websites. A user went on the report that the files downloaded from the website contained so much of explicit content that he had to degrade his operating system to enable the smooth running of his system. If such are the instances of malware distribution, then how can someone trust the content on the website?
There have been reports stating that the files downloaded from Softonic contained some types of zombie viruses which had infected their computer. The antivirus checks were not at all useful. They had to end up changing their computer to get back to its normal functioning. Not only that, some files are also able to make changes to the registry of various programs and also to that of the Windows. When the registry gets corrupt, the program renderes useless. Thus, Softonic cannot regard safe as before.
One of the primary reasons that the content on Softonic is too vulnerable to tamper with is that the users do not need to register themselves. Any person can show up and upload content on the website and get away without getting book for his actions. This way, even if you know that the material is harmful, you cannot do much to prevent it.
Now that we know how Softonic distributes the content free of cost. We also know how it is open to approach if one wants to upload malicious files. At one point, it seems that Softonic is trying way too hard to prevent the malware from infecting its users. But these claims made by the ones who work for it. Who knows if the company is doing such things to prevent the malware. If they were trying to clean up their services, why have the complaints increased over the time and not declined? Thus, it is not safe to say that Softonic is safe. It might be improving the quality, but it still has a long way to go.