Macs are no longer exempt from Java's deceptive adware installation practice

By Shawn Knight · 10 replies
Mar 6, 2015
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  1. java dumps adware macs software oracle mac adware ask toolbar toolbar

    Oracle’s Java software has long been a sore spot for Windows PC users. The default installation deceptively includes the option to install the toolbar, a piece of irritating adware that returns poor search results laden with ads. It also changes your default homepage without asking.

    Curiously enough, Oracle has chosen not to bundle the toolbar with Mac versions of the Java installer… that is, until now.

    In an obvious effort to double down on revenue, Oracle is now trying to pull its same tricks on Mac users. Java 8 Update 40 for the Mac, much like its Windows counterpart, ticks the option to install the Ask app by default. Users that typically fly through the software installation process or those that aren’t terribly tech savvy likely won’t realize they’ve agreed to install Ask until after the fact.

    java dumps adware macs software oracle mac adware ask toolbar toolbar

    Aside from tracking your browsing history and serving up crummy search results littered with ads, there isn’t yet any evidence to suggest the Ask app is malicious in nature. It’s just really annoying and completely useless.

    The good news is that it’s pretty easy to remove the toolbar through either the extensions menu or the toolbar’s own help menu depending on which browser you’re using. You’ll also want to revert your homepage back to the site of your choosing.

    The timing of Oracle’s decision is especially poor considering Lenovo’s recent Superfish fiasco. That incident served as an opportunity for the industry to break free of its bloatware tactics but thus far, that scenario has failed to materialize.

    If nothing else, this simply reminds us to pay attention during the installation process of new software, even if it’s from a seemingly trustworthy source.

    Permalink to story.

  2. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,737   +3,757

    Crap like this is agitating...and then I recall how the software is provided at no financial cost, making a modicum of diligence during installation a small price to pay.
  3. "even if it’s from a seemingly trustworthy source."

    There are sadly no trustworthy sources. I suppose it's just extra disappointing to see it happen with smaller applications - with limited features.

    For example - Unlocker used to be a quick and easy tool that gave you a shell extension to free files from the tyranny of use. These days, Google has to warn you about digital damages done by the plethora of "Value added installations"

    Hell, even uTorrent - a program once developed by a group with a distaste for bloated, malicious filesharing clients has fallen victim.

    I know that you've got to eat, developers, but if you can't cut it on your own, you might need a day job.
  4. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    Another annoying situation is if you intend on installing software like this with a script, or at the very least with a silent/quiet parameter. That forces a "typical" install which almost always includes all that crapware. At least Malwarebytes does not force accept the Premium trial when you run it with /silent.
  5. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,041   +678

    I've gone back to v1.7.7 to avoid all the crap they've done to utorrent. Good thing too, because they just stepped way over the line:
    Whltng likes this.
  6. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    I'm several updates behind on utorrent, in the mid 2s I think. I also have utorrent clamped down quite a bit and disabled ads. I agree however, that's pretty inexcusable. Remember when utorrent was the lightweight, go-to torrent client for everyone? Pepperidge Farm remembers.
  7. Proof that Larry Ellison is just a greedy dirtbag peddling malware.
  8. Boo-hoo. All the brainy mac users now have to prove their superiority by unchecking the Ask box.
  9. Stuff like this is everywhere but the way Java shows the screen about Ask toolbar is easy to spot. People need to be vigilant about reading the installation screens/notes of software.
  10. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,935   +762

    Exactly, but people are not, then complain because they blew through an installation and crapware was installed. I've got Java on one of my machines, but have had the presence to uncheck the "We'll be happy to install crapware for you" box.
    learninmypc likes this.
  11. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,873   +1,291

    I wonder if they make Unchecky for Macs?

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