Tag Archives: piggyback

The Tool Designed To Fool – We Don’t Want No Stinkin’ Toolbar! (Revisited)

In today’s Tech Thoughts Daily Net News column, you’ll find a link to Ed Bott’sHow Oracle installs deceptive software with Java updates. So, what’s new here? Not as much as you might think – unfortunately.

I first posted on the issue of unwanted Toolbars – or, PUPS (potentially unwanted programs) – in March 2010. Based on the indignation shown by the majority of commenters – it just might be worth another read.

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MEMO TO: SNEAKY FREEWARE DEVELOPERS

imageYou give me your software for free as a marketing tool, with the hope of course, that I’ll upgrade to the commercial version of your application.

That’s cool, that’s smart, (it cost you nothing by the way) – nevertheless, I’m appreciative.

But you don’t stop with just the free use of your application, you piggyback a toolbar, or some other non-essential item, as part of the install package. Listen, I understand, you want to install a toolbar because you get paid by the toolbar developer. Even that’s OK – but you do it in such a sneaky way that it really pisses me off, and that’s not OK.

Worse, if I don’t like your application and uninstall it, you open your Internet site, following the uninstall, using my Internet Browser – even if I don’t give you permission by allowing the connection. In my view, that’s a form of hacking. You need to take a refresher course in ethics.

I’ve been around the Internet for a few decades, so it’s not often I get caught in your schemes to install unwanted software on my machines, but less experienced users are often caught in your carefully laid traps.

Here’s a sample of the outrage a typical user, who got trapped by unethical behavior, feels – a comment on my site left by an outraged reader, several days ago, following her installation of Miro.

I thought I’d give this a try, since I watch Hulu quite a bit, and I’m sooo angry I did. Miro installed Bing Search toolbar, which I didn’t want or agree to install (using firefox) and it wiped out all my default search engines for Firefox.

Now I’m trying to figure out how to get Firefox back to normal. Beware!!!!!!!! I don’t trust companies that install things without your consent or knowledge.

In this particular instance it’s true that the EULA covers this situation, but here’s the question. Why does an average user need to read a Eula in order to find an alternative installation solution?

An accusation of unethical behavior doesn’t begin to cover this case – sleazy; vulgar; dishonest; sordid; are much more appropriate.

You, the unethical developer, are not alone in attempting to profit by toolbar inclusion in freeware applications. More and more, high profile developers who offer a stripped down version of their commercial applications as freeware, are involving themselves in this highly questionable practice.

image

So here’s a question for the “ethical” freeware providers. How many toolbars do you think an average user needs? Ten? Twenty? Thirty………….. Just so you know, a Google search for “toolbar”, returns 167 Million results!

I can already hear your answer “ but the user can uncheck the appropriate box when installing the application”. Right! Unless you’re detached from the real world (and, you may well be), you’re more than aware that a typical user does not uncheck this box. Then, over time, the user is at a loss to explain why their machine has slowed to a crawl.

Could it be because your toolbar, along with twenty others, all installed in a furtive way, become active at startup – ya think!!

So, just stop with the crapware already. If you’re pissing me off, just consider what you’re doing to an average user.

17 Comments

Filed under Adware, Browser add-ons, Point of View

Norton Security Scan – Easy to Install But Just Try To Get Rid Of It!

As well as writing a great Blog (What’s On My PC),  popular guest writer Rick Robinette, often jumps in to help his readers with techno issues.

Here’s how Rick diagnosed, and solved, one reader’s problem with Norton Security Scan removal.

Hey Rick, there’s this Norton Security Scan thing that’s dug in like a tick and I can’t get rid of it… My computer is running dog slow!

Norton Security Scan

This was a recent subject in an email I received. Of course, my first thought and instinct as a techie, was malware…

The Good… I started researching Norton Security Scan and from what I found is that Norton Security Scan is a free legitimate app (by Symantec), that provides on-demand scanning and removal or repair of viruses, spyware and other malware. The virus definitions are updated when your computer is connected to the internet.  Ok, that did not sound too bad.

The bad… Further research indicates that Norton Security Scan has a tendency to piggyback onto your PC via other software installs (such as Adobe Shockwave Player).

From what I am reading you can opt out installing Norton Security Scan, via these other software installs, but through (in my opinion) trickery the check box to opt out is already checked. Most computer users will not know the difference; therefore, they continue the install of the app and Norton Security Scan comes along for the ride.  As a result, Norton Security Scan runs alongside your other installed security software and the end result is slow PC (and the potential for problems).

The bad… Once on your PC, this app really does dig in like a tick, is very difficult to remove through normal uninstall channels, will keep coming back; AND from what I am reading will use scare tactics to encourage you to buy other Symantec security products. Hmmmm… Sounds like the tactics used in a malware scareware attack…

A Possible Solution… Getting back to the problem at hand with removing Norton Security Scan… I emailed the person back and had them run the latest version of the Norton Removal Tool and the report I received back was that “I believe we got it…”.

This tool is engineered to remove various Norton products and hooks from your PC. During my research, I did find instances where registry edits and manual deletion of files/folders associated with Norton Security Scan may also be required.

Lessons Learned…

First Lesson: During any software install make sure you read everything closely during the installation steps to ensure you are installing only what you want to install. Being a seasoned software installer and tester, I have been finding more and more instances, during installation routines, where other second party apps are being installed and coming along for the ride. Sometimes the “opt out” for these apps are cleverly camouflaged.

Second Lesson: Any security apps that you have installed and you decide to uninstall them, make sure you visit the software products site to determine the removal process. Security apps, when installed (such as antivirus, antispyware, antimalware), are very complex and often require special tools to take them off of your PC. The normal uninstall process, built into Windows, typically will not do a thorough job.

This is a guest post by Rick Robinette, who brings a background as a security/police officer professional, and as an information technology specialist to the Blogging world.

Why not pay a visit to Rick’s site at What’s On My PC. Like me, you’re sure to become a frequent visitor.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

11 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Geek Software and Tools, Guest Writers, Slow Computer, Software, Symantec, Uninstall Tools, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

We Don’t Want No Stinkin’ Toolbar!

Memo to: Sneaky Freeware Developers

image You give me your software for free as a marketing tool, with the hope of course, that I’ll upgrade to the commercial version of your application. That’s cool, that’s smart, (it cost you nothing, by the way), nevertheless, I’m appreciative.

But you don’t stop with just the free use of your application, you piggyback a toolbar, or some other non-essential item, as part of the install package. Listen, I understand, you want to install a toolbar because you get paid by the toolbar developer. Even that’s OK – but you do it in such a sneaky way that it really pisses me off, and that’s not OK.

Worse, if I don’t like your application and uninstall it, you open your Internet site, following the uninstall, using my Internet Browser – even if I don’t give you permission by allowing the connection. In my view, that’s a form of hacking. You need to take a refresher course in ethics.

Now, I’m a big boy and I’ve been around the Internet horn for a few decades, so it’s not often I get caught up in your schemes to install unwanted software on my machines, but less experienced users are often caught in your carefully laid traps.

Here’s a sample of the outrage a typical user, who got trapped by unethical behavior, feels – a comment on my site left by an outraged reader, several days ago, following her installation of Miro.

I thought I’d give this a try, since I watch Hulu quite a bit, and I’m sooo angry I did. Miro installed Bing Search toolbar, which I didn’t want or agree to install (using firefox) and it wiped out all my default search engines for Firefox.

Now I’m trying to figure out how to get Firefox back to normal. Beware!!!!!!!! I don’t trust companies that install things without your consent or knowledge.

In this particular instance it’s true that the EULA covers this situation, but here’s the question. Why does an average user need to read a Eula in order to find an alternative installation solution?

An accusation of unethical behavior doesn’t begin to cover this case – sleazy; vulgar; dishonorable; sordid; are much more appropriate.

You, the unethical developer, are not alone in attempting to profit by toolbar inclusion in freeware applications. More and more, high profile developers who offer a stripped down version of their commercial applications as freeware, are involving themselves in this highly questionable practice.

image

So here’s a question for the “ethical” freeware providers. How many toolbars do you think an average user needs? Ten? Twenty? Thirty………….. Just so you know, a Google search for “toolbar”, returns 167 Million results!

I can already hear your answer “ but the user can uncheck the appropriate box when installing the application”. Right! Unless you’re detached from the real world, you’re more than aware that a typical user does not uncheck this box. Then, over time, the user is at a loss to explain why their machine has slowed to a crawl.

Could it be because your toolbar, along with twenty others, all installed in a furtive way, become active at startup – ya think!!

So, just stop with the crapware already. If you’re pissing me off, just consider what you’re doing to an average user. Like it or not, there’s a lesson here. In the long run, your behavior will cost you – big time.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

31 Comments

Filed under Adware, Bill's Rants, Browser add-ons, Don't Get Scammed, Freeware, Personal Perspective, Slow Computer, Software, Windows Tips and Tools