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Case Study: How even the most experienced users can install third party crapware (like toolbars) and how to protect yourself from such offerings
Posted By Ashraf On August 16, 2011 @ 6:20 PM In Tips 'n Tricks | 29 Comments
While I may not have as many years under my belt as other people, I consider myself to be a moderately experienced and knowledgeable techie. Yes, some people can disagree about my level of knowledge/experience, but I think we can all agree I know enough to be able to dodge some of the crapware that come with software, like third party toolbars.
Recently, FormatFactory  – a name that is often appreciated on dotTech – started coming bundled with two third party toolbars, Ask.com and QuickScore toolbars. I know about these toolbars (many FormatFactory fans were quick to inform me about it) so one would think that I would easily dodge their install (i.e. Tell FormatFactory not to install them by unchecking their respective checkboxes). Well ladies and gents, the nature of how these third party software are bundled into installers make it very easy for people to be duped into installing the third party software – I am a perfect example. Yesterday I was (re)installing FormatFactory; I quickly clicked “Next” on all the installer screens totally forgetting the fact that FormatFactory will install Ask.com and QuickScore toolbars unless I tell it not to. Next thing I know, I have two new toolbars sitting in my browsers.
Of course as soon as I realized what I had done, I quickly uninstalled both toolbars (using RevoUninstaller to force uninstall Ask.com toolbar and using QuickScore’s built-in uninstaller to uninstall that one) and even restored my computer to a recent restore point to ensure the toolbars were totally gone. However, my point of this post is not to tell you about my recent experience so you can pity (or praise, depending on what you prefer) me. Rather, it is it highlight the fact that regardless of a person’s level of computer knowledge, these third party software are bundled into installers in a very clever manner; one has to be extremely careful and mindful of installers in order to avoid installing undesired third party software/allowing undesired changes to one’s computer. Of course there is a level of computer knowledge necessary to recognize a third party offer in an installer when they show up, but attentiveness is the key method to protection when it comes to crapware, not technical knowledge.
So, then, what are the takeaways from this (short) case study?
Good luck to everyone and hopefully we can all be vigilant and avoid such problems in the future.
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URL to article: http://dottech.org/15733/case-study-how-even-the-most-experienced-users-can-install-third-party-crapware-like-toolbars-and-how-to-protect-yourself-from-such-offerings-in-the-future/
URLs in this post:
 FormatFactory: http://dottech.org/freewaresr/3963
 Softpedia.com: http://softpedia.com
 WinPatrol: http://dottech.org/freeware-reviews/4809
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