Softonic is a file hoster website similar to download.com. The company behind Softonic, Softonic International, was founded in Barcelona, Spain in 1997. On the website, the user can create an account and upload any of their software for public use, as well as download software without the need of owning an account beforehand.
In recent years the website has recieved negative attention due to the abundance of malware in various of the offered downloads, despite various of the products offered on the platform being non-malicious. The products offered once included the infamous Softonic Toolbar, a Potentially Unwanted Program/Browser hijacker.
Reputation as Malware
Softonic formerly bundled the Softonic Toolbar with every download, which changed the homepage/default search engine to of the user's browser of choice with search.softonic.com or en.softonic.com, as well as displaying sponsored notifications in the user's desktop. This toolbar often installed itself without the knowledge or consent of the user, which led to its labelling as a PUP. The toolbar itself was not harmful, however, the advertisements were not properly curated, and as such, some redirected to Malware-infested websites.
Following the announcement of Scott Arpajian as the new CEO in February 2015, Softonic announced that it would immediately cease utilizing the Softonic Downloader as part of its "Clean and Safe" software initiative, and downloads would no longer include the Softonic Toolbar. The Softonic Downloader was shut down on February 28th.