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Being careful when downloading any program


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#1 cmptrgy

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 08:11 AM

The other day one of my cousins asked me to see if the hard drive was ok on a laptop he was given as the previous owner thought it was running hot. I found a free hard drive test program on some Softonic web site and decided to try it. When starting to get it going there was a statement that reported that some programs will also be installed if they are allowed; that didn't surprise me but I figured I'll just uncheck them.

 

At first it notified me that it wanted to install Wajam and I didn't allow it (BTW I wonder if the uncheck option even worked anyway), but then the real problem kicked in next: all of a sudden Whitesmoke & a couple of other toolbars started to be installed without asking permission or given a choice to answer no. I immediately went into Task Manager and ended all Softonic processes, did a System Restore to the day before, and ran his anti-malware programs and everything worked out fine.

 

Anyway my message is that when downloads are done, make sure to watch exactly what's happening because sometimes additional downloads might not have an uncheck option and/or are not easily known unless you are on top of what's going on; that also made me wonder if sometime it's not even possible to know what else is coming into the computer on some of those websites 

 

I did find SpinRite afterward and I sense that's a very good program and I might try it for him but I don't plan on doing any work on his laptop because it has other problems, I just wanted to make the comments I did based on the subject title; naturally I'd be interested in any followup opinions



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#2 quietman7

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 06:29 PM

Yes, many toolbars and add-ons/plug-ins come bundled with other software as a common practice by legitimate vendors (and some folks actually like the features they offer).

When a vendor includes an add-on such as a toolbar, they do so as a way to "pay per install" and recoup associated business costs. This practice is now the most common revenue generator for free downloads and is typically the reason for the pre-checked option. If pre-checked by default, that means you need to uncheck that option during installation if you don't want it. If you install too fast, you most likely will miss the "opt out" option and end up with software you do not want or need. The best practice is to take your time during installation of any program and read everything before clicking that "Install" or "Next" button. Even then, in some cases, this opting out does not always seem to work as intended.
 


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#3 cmptrgy

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 12:58 PM

Thank you for that very good summary



#4 slgrieb

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:44 PM

Yes, many toolbars and add-ons/plug-ins come bundled with other software as a common practice by legitimate vendors (and some folks actually like the features they offer).

When a vendor includes an add-on such as a toolbar, they do so as a way to "pay per install" and recoup associated business costs. This practice is now the most common revenue generator for free downloads and is typically the reason for the pre-checked option. If pre-checked by default, that means you need to uncheck that option during installation if you don't want it. If you install too fast, you most likely will miss the "opt out" option and end up with software you do not want or need. The best practice is to take your time during installation of any program and read everything before clicking that "Install" or "Next" button. Even then, in some cases, this opting out does not always seem to work as intended.
 

Actually, when a software vendor such as Adobe pushes some crappy tool bar or add on they aren't really open about what the software does. They won't tell you that the software may reset your default search engine, and generate a bunch of popup ads. It's all about the bottom line. Software publishers should have an obligation to keep their product patched and secure, whether it's a for pay product, or freeware such as Acrobat Reader. But many software vendors are more than willing to shaft their customers with every update, rather than publish an update as a cost of doing business.

 

quietman7, some users may like the features from some of the toolbars, etc., but are you really saying that most of this stuff isn't malware?


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#5 quietman7

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:45 PM

You're welcome.
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#6 quietman7

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:52 PM

quietman7, some users may like the features from some of the toolbars, etc., but are you really saying that most of this stuff isn't malware?


Its a mixed bag. Many of these toolbars and add-ons are more accurately categorized as Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP), a very broad threat category which can encompass any number of different programs to include those which are benign as well as malicious. Thus, this type of detection does not always necessarily mean the file is malicious or a bad program. PUPs in and of themselves are not always bad...many are generally known, non-malicious but unwanted (bundled) software. PUPs are considered unwanted because they can cause undesirable system performance or other problems and are sometimes installed without the user's consent since they are often included when downloading legitimate programs. PUPs may also be defined somewhat differently by various security vendors and may or may not be detected/removed based on that definition.

With that said, even many Anti-virus and security vendors bundle toolbars and other software with their products as a cost recoup measure these days.

avast! Free Antivirus includes Google Chrome pre-checked by default during installation
Avira Free Antivirus includes Ask.com Toolbar pre-checked by default during installation
AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition includes AVG Security Toolbar - AVG Secure Search pre-checked by default during installation
SUPERAntiSpyware includes Google Chrome pre-checked by default during installation
Ad-Aware includes Google Chrome pre-checked by default during installation
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#7 slgrieb

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 06:57 PM

 

quietman7, some users may like the features from some of the toolbars, etc., but are you really saying that most of this stuff isn't malware?


Its a mixed bag. Many of these toolbars and add-ons are more accurately categorized as Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP), a very broad threat category which can encompass any number of different programs to include those which are benign as well as malicious. Thus, this type of detection does not always necessarily mean the file is malicious or a bad program. PUPs in and of themselves are not always bad...many are generally known, non-malicious but unwanted (bundled) software. PUPs are considered unwanted because they can cause undesirable system performance or other problems and are sometimes installed without the user's consent since they are often included when downloading legitimate programs. PUPs may also be defined somewhat differently by various security vendors and may or may not be detected/removed based on that definition.

With that said, even many Anti-virus and security vendors bundle toolbars and other software with their products as a cost recoup measure these days.

avast! Free Antivirus includes Google Chrome pre-checked by default during installation
Avira Free Antivirus includes Ask.com Toolbar pre-checked by default during installation
AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition includes AVG Security Toolbar - AVG Secure Search pre-checked by default during installation
SUPERAntiSpyware includes Google Chrome pre-checked by default during installation
Ad-Aware includes Google Chrome pre-checked by default during installation

 

PUPs seems to me to be essentially a legal disclaimer for antimalware publishers who don't want legal battles with adware vendors. My view is that any software that generates pop up ads is a serious security risk. I've frequently seen popup ads from any number of websites which carried a toxic payload.

 

Adobe is the second largest software publisher behind Microsoft. Does Adobe really need to sell the Ask.com toolbar to make a profit? Hell no. This is just another example of a company that places profit ahead of it's customer's interests. 


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WIFFLEBALL!

 


#8 quietman7

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 07:32 PM

You will get no argument from me in regards to that.
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