3 Replies Latest reply on Apr 16, 2014 7:41 PM by Robert Morrisson

    Surreptitious installation of software

    Robert Morrisson

      Today Adobe installed a McAfee security scanner onto one of our computers under the guise of installing an Adobe Flash update. 


      We were asked if we wanted to update Flash.  There was no mention of additional software and there were no options for standard or custom installation.  When the installation began we saw that not only was Flash being updated, we were receiving a new piece of software.  We removed the McAfee software.  The troubling question is, what else was installed we did not discover?


      So, Adobe has installed unwanted software without our knowledge or permission. Please explain why this is a good idea and why I should not be upset.  Please explain also why I should trust Adobe for much of anything else. 


      There is no apparent means of writing to Adobe.  Attempts to use varoius methods of providing feedback were thwarted.  I am hoping someone at Adobe WAGAS* will reply. 


           * Who Actually Gives a S***


      Please note that if I visit the Adobe site and request installation of Flash or Acrobat I may be offered a toolbar or other software.  It is set to be installed by default but it can be easily disabled.  This installation came from a pop-up that advised there was a newer version of Flash available.  We made the mistake of trusting Adobe and clicking on the pop-up. 


      I cannot believe Adobe's user community appreciates drive-by software installations or that this does anything positive for Adobe's reputation.  What does Adobe plan to do to rectify the situation? 

        • 1. Re: Surreptitious installation of software

          Hi, I'm no Adobe expert, but I think I can help with this: anytime a Flash Player update is required, on my PC the first of the three screens (top RH corner, Step: 1 of 3) has an "optional offer" panel in the middle promoting McAfee with these words next to a check box: "Yes, install the free McAfee Security Scan Plus utility to check the status of my PC security. It will not modify existing antivirus program or PC settings."

          Now, IMO ideally this check box should be unticked (ie, opt-in status), but in this case it is already ticked (opt-out status). If you do not untick it, the McAfee scanner will install as well as the Flash Player update. Just untick (click on it) to say "no" to the McAfee scanner. Needing to opt out of ancillary downloads (which generally aim to make money for the host site or promote more of its products) is not an unusual event when downloading software and/or updates.

          Note that the McAfee download should not install the full McAfee AV suite, nor prevent the Flash Player update, but simply tell you what it finds on your computer.

          And good point, Mike M: I see these screens because I wouldn't dream of enabling auto updates!

          • 2. Re: Surreptitious installation of software
            Mike M Level 6

            I never (I mean NEVER) use automatic updaters for ANYTHING.

            Those links are the FULL offline installers. Bookmark them and use them whenever you see an update notification.

            • 3. Re: Surreptitious installation of software
              Robert Morrisson Level 1

              The problem is that there was no option to opt out of the McAfee installation.  The installer launched three processes.  Within the minute or so it took for me to get to that machine the dirty deed was done. 


              When I want an update I go to the Website and pick it from the download list but I was not the operator this time.  When you do go there Adobe always has something they want to foist upon you.  Right now it is apparent how not to accept it but that is not always the case.  For a while they had regular and custom modes with the regular mode loading several pieces of junk.  


              Adobe is certainly not a trustworthy company.  I have had to warn any number of people about their sneaky tricks.  Given how crappy some of their software is, and given how many times they have tried to pull this type of stunt on me, I have not updatef from CS-3.  They tried to earn a sneaky buck.  They have lost a few hundred of them. 


              BTW - There is a pop-up that comes from some sites that looks almost exactly like the Adobe updater asking if you want to update.  It is malware.