Thank you Adobe, but no thanks

Update: Look before you click.  The McAfee component is optional and you are given the chance to not install it on the Abobe web page.

-Original posting below.-

So I downloaded the updated Firefox 3.5.3 and when it came up it said “Hey, your Flash player is outdated. Click here to get an upgrade”. You can read about this feature here.

I keep my software up to date so this was news to me. But what the heck, Mozilla’s rep is good and Adobe Flash and Acrobat are popular attack vectors. Why not upgrade? So I ran Adobe’s download manager extension in Firefox which promptly installed the updated Flash and McAfee System scanner.

I was not asked if I wanted the McAfee software, it installed it without my permission.

I have no problem with being provided the option, but seriously, installing third party software without getting explicit approval from the end user is just plain stupid.

Keeping up your software is a responsible thing to do especially if you want to keep the use of your PC to yourself. Why rent out your PC to a zombie army? But installing software without your permission is a tactic of the “bad guys”.

I don’t care if it’s an anti-virus company or not, don’t put software on my PC without my permission. I promptly went to my control panel and removed the McAfee software.  I already have an up to date anti-virus product on my PC and don’t need unwanted code.

11 thoughts on “Thank you Adobe, but no thanks

  1. I just went on my machine and found McAfee installed. As software usually doesn’t just install itself, I thought my machine must be infected, or that this was some kind of malware. It seriously confused me.

    The worst part is, all the McAfee software does is tell me that I need to go get McAfee, it is really just an advertisement.

    The adobe flash update should be classified as Malware/Spam

    1. I was surprised that Adobe would do that. This is like installing a browser toolbar without asking permission.

      At least most decent software asks if you want to install a toolbar.

    1. Weird! I missed that; I only saw the link which ran the Adobe Download Manager which then install Flash.

      I’ll give Adobe the benefit of the doubt, but the installer should have made it clear and let me refrain from installing it.

    2. Yep! Fully confirmed! I just updated a laptop to the current version and right before my eyes there was a “Optional component” check off.

      I’d prefer to have that optional portion unchecked by default but that’s just me.

    3. So I just fell for this too. I was absolutely furious because I always strenuously check for camouflaged crapware during the installation process and I was SURE I didn’t miss anything. And…. I was RIGHT. I didn’t miss anything during the installation process but cleverly they hid the opt out(should be opt in) in plain site on the webpage. In other words the option didn’t come up during installation like it has done for just about every other piece of unwanted crapware that they try to slip onto your computer (eg google toolbar) the option is BEFORE installation on the download page. Very artful and sneaky of you to find a novel way to trick people like that adobe. I hope you are proud of yourself, you have accomplished two great things here: you have forced people to uninstall the mcaffee crap and you have pissed off a lot of your users.

  2. The really BAD part of all this – as if installing additional software without direct permission isn’t bad enough – is that when you run the McAfee scanner it flags up an Alert! Major problem! You don’t have McAfee antivirus installed!

    Shock horror!! I already run a hardware and software firewall, and I have a three tier anti-malware defence. Why would anyone want their crummy product? As an IT pro the decision is easy, but how many less informed souls will have been duped into shelling out? The whole thing stinks.

  3. I agree – I just installed Adobe Flash Player on Mozilla, on a freshly-rebuilt laptop, only to find ‘Adobe Download Manager’ had installed itself in Mozilla without permission too. Adobe really is fast becoming a company to avoid like the plague, just like RealPlayer (once popular, now spammed themselves out of existence) did years ago, with their disgraceful spamware tactics. I already use an alternative to Adobe Acrobat Reader because of Adobe’s spamming me every 5 minutes to perform unnecessary minor updates. I only downloaded Flash Player because BBC iPlayer and YouTube use them. As soon as those guys wake up and switch to a platform that’s less spamware like Silverlight, I’ll be dropping Flash altogether as well.

  4. What seriously makes me angry is I had the same thing happen. Updated Adobe flash, and a month later I got a virus that destroyed my computer. All our family home video’s etc., GONE. My daughter is a computer tech for a major retailer, and she scanned what was left of the hard drive. Turns out McAfee was installed WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. This conflicted with the current anti-virus software I was already running, and left a gaping hole for every virus to infect my computer. Adobe says there is an option on the install page to not allow McAfee to be installed, but I cannot find it anywhere (just tried to automatically update Adobe Flash-NO OPTION to not accept McAfee. Isn’t McAfee the same guy who murdered someone and is now on the run? I have now disabled ALL automatic updates on my computer, and sent a bill for $1599 to Adobe to pay for the damages their unauthorized software caused me.

    1. Sorry you’re having a hard time of it! I really don’t have anything to offer you advice-wise. Good luck with dealing with Adobe or McAfee.

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