The Blog

Beware of those sneaky software installations

Lately, I’ve encountered lots of clients reporting the appearance of software on their computers which they can’t remember installing (or even wanting in the first place). Additionally, browser home pages get usurped and default search engines are replaced.

In most cases the problem can be traced to the updating of key software on your computer – e.g. AVG Anti-Virus, Adobe Flash and Oracle Java (and many more).

This morning I was prompted to update my version of Adobe Flash which I normally proceed with automatically because there’s still plenty of Flash used on the web. Just before I rushed to click the ‘Update’ button, I was lucky enough to notice that, by default, a box was ticked to also download and install McAfee Virus Scan. I already have anti-virus software and certainly don’t need two of them. In fact, the general recommendation is to avoid installing anti-virus software by different manufacturers on the same PC. A lucky escape!

Then, half an hour later, I’m prompted to update my ‘Java’ engine – another essential piece of software which ensures that lot’s of websites will function correctly. But again, there was the discreet tick box (already ticked) to sneakily install the Ask toolbar and to set it as my default search provider. Another lucky escape! But how many users out there are overlooking this and filling their PCs full of unnecessary software which they never wanted (and probably slowing down their PC)? I’ve highlighted the offending tick box in red below:

Look out for them every time you install software. They’re popping up everywhere.

It’s just a great shame that these bona fide companies have to resort to such measures to sell their wares. It shouldn’t be happening and they should all know better. Be on your guard and look out for those tick boxes…

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