The effort required to keep your computer safe from malware, viruses, rogue software and other threats is a daily battle.
Even the most conscientious computer users can fall victim to some of these threats because they are constantly changing their form and methods of delivery.
One of the seemingly innocuous issues I see on a regular basis on computers are toolbars but they are some of the tougher ones to remove at times because they dig their tentacles deep into your system and hold on tightly.
Unfortunately, many of these toolbars get into your system by piggy backing on other legitimate installations of helper software or even downloads you grab from legitimate download sites such as cNet’s Download.com.
For quite some time the Ask.com Toolbar has piggy backed on legitimate installations of Java on computers however, something has changed recently that makes it more likely to be installed on your system instead of you being able to opt-out. By default the Ask.com Toolbar install with the Java installation is already pre-selected for you.
The intent here of these piggyback installs is that a user will quickly click the Next button until they get the install process started. That is what they want because they are paid on the number of installs that occur.
In the past that screen which tells you the Ask.com Toolbar is going to be installed always had a block that was obvious about what was going to happen – Install the Ask.com Toolbar – and it was always checked for you.
That made it obvious exactly what needed to be done so the toolbar is not installed.
Well a recent change to the Java installer has changed things up in an attempt to throw users off and create some confusion.
As you can see in this screenshot there is no longer a block to check/uncheck for installing the Ask.com Toolbar. Some unfamiliar with the process might find this confusing and not be sure how to prevent the unwanted installation.
In the small print below the already selected check boxes for the installation is the key sentence:
De-selecting both of the checkboxes above declines the optional search offer and proceeds with the rest of the install process.
OK – so the answer is right there on the page but this is just another ploy to trick unknowing users into installing unwanted software on their system.
Why aren’t those boxes left unchecked so that users can opt in to the install? Why does Java need to be sneaky about this install anyway?
Well even inadvertent and unintentional installs pay money.
Tip to @irisclasson on Twitter.