Beware of adware included in installers

Downloading an installer? Beware! You might getting more than you wanted. Before you install, check for additional installers. Especially Genieo. It’s Adware and will take over your browsing experience. OS X 10.9.3 added Genieo to list of incompatible software. Another good reason to upgrade to Mavericks.

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After a user reported the following comment on Apple Discussions, I wanted to see what CNET was doing to a perfectly good utility installer. [Just to be clear, Etrecheck is just one example of what CNET is adding to installers. You can download Etrecheck directly using this link: http://www.etresoft.com/etrecheck. It will not contain the adware. I advise downloading directly from the developer.]

Etrecheck is a no go on my system. Three days ago I downloaded it from CNET and ran it. It hijacked Safari and Firefox. Without asking It installed an Amazon shopping plugin, a Ebay plugin, a Searchme plugin, reset my home page and locked me to the new page. It took me a couple of hours to recover.

I downloaded Etrecheck from CNET. When I tried running the installer, Little Snitch brought up this request. There is no reason for Etrecheck be asking for a connection to www.mybrowserbar.com.

cnet-LS

I continued the install on a test drive and found the following.

The first window looks OK.

cnet installer

However, the second window showed the following was going to be installed unless I select under custom install to remove the extensions CNET was installing along with the utility Etrecheck.

cnet installer ads

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4 thoughts on “Beware of adware included in installers

  1. EtreCheck isn’t the problem, it’s CNET’s downloads.com. They and softonic.com have been wrapping any and all downloads you get from them with adware installers. They should both be avoided like the plagues they have become. Really, they should be boycotted by both Mac and Windows users.

    The place to get EtreCheck without the garbage is directly from the developer’s site:

    http://www.etresoft.com/etrecheck

    • I though I was clear when I said a ‘perfectly good utility installer” the the issue was with CNET adding their installs to the installer. I’ll edit the post to make sure that Etrecheck is not at fault.

  2. Hi Diane,

    Yes, I just wanted to clarify for readers that the adware installers having CNET’s name on it didn’t just mean the software came from their site, but were directly responsible for the adware in the first place.

    No intent to offend.

  3. You should only download software directly from its author. I checked out the CNet site hoping I could file a DMCA takedown notice or something, but EtreCheck isn’t even available from CNet. What you download is simply an ad-ware installer. After your ad-ware installed, maybe it might download and unzip EtreCheck too.

    If anyone has any suggestions of how to stop this activity, I would love to hear them.

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