Watch Out for Piggyback Software

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Dec 122011

The latest issue of Vipre Security News notes:

… There you are, casually downloading an update, when you suddenly find that you’ve also downloaded an unwanted toolbar… or worse. It’s called piggybacking and it’s an industry phenomenon that enables other software to “piggyback” on software your download.

Yes, you must opt-in to receive the “selected” software, but many opt-in checkboxes are preselected … Opt-ins should just not be preselected. Here are a few tips to avoid piggybacks:

Pay attention – … Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, and many other companies have toolbar piggyback programs that software distributors sneak onto users’ computers.

Manage updates – Piggybacks are often included in software updates, like the Sun Java Update (Carbonite or Microsoft Bing Bar), Adobe Flash Player/Reader (Google Toolbar or McAfee Security Scan), AVG Antivirus (Yahoo Toolbar), CCleaner (Yahoo! Toolbar), Foxit Reader (Ask Toolbar and eBay Desktop Shortcut), RealPlayer (Google Toolbar or Google Chrome), Skype (Google Toolbar), WinZip (UniBlue RegistryBooster), etc.

Uncheck the checked – You have the right to decide what is on your computer. If you see a pre-checked box opting you into unwanted piggyback software, uncheck it!

Remove piggybacks – Use the Windows Control Panel software removal feature to uninstall piggyback software from your computer.

Auto opt-in’s: Free software and unwanted add-on’s

 Computer  Comments Off on Auto opt-in’s: Free software and unwanted add-on’s
May 202011

May 2011: I was glad to see a major blog take on something which has riled me as well. Like when I update Adobe Flash on every PC. Ed Bott at ZDNet conjured up the new term “foistware” for the insidious practice, even by large reputable software companies. See: “Adobe and Skype top my Foistware Hall of Shame” for some notable examples.