Adobe Flash Player 188.8.131.52 installs McAfee Security Scan Plus. If you are paying attention it’s not really a sneak install. It is clear what is being installed on your machine. There is no way to do a custom installation of the Flash software or to decline install of the unwanted McAfee software.
Sneaky software installs are nothing new unfortunately. Many legitimate companies have tried to sneak in extra software during installation of their product. Even security software providers who are supposed to protect you against this garbage have used this marketing tactic over the years. Basically using the same tactics as malware writers do to infect unsuspecting users.
Each time companies get “caught” doing what they know isn’t right in the first place – they do a ton of public relations damage control. They have some trusted source say all the proper things to media sources and wait for the problem to fade into distant memory. Then a year or so later they’ll try the same exact trick again – claim they are sorry, value you as a customer just like before – rinse repeat rinse repeat.
Of course the reason behind this is the same motive many malware writers have – profits = money. These companies are paid to include other software within their install process. This is why you see add-on software heavily promoted on many security software websites. In some cases just like the bad guys legitimate software vendors sneak in installs or add software to the checkout process. No matter how many times they are criticized for this – these methods continue to be used.
Most customers pay little to no attention at all when they install software. I’ve cleaned enough machines full of garbage and watched people install computer software. Even when they do pay some attention many have no idea what they are looking at. I’ve tried many times to guide these users in the right direction but most just act indifferent. Even though they know this may leave them with a machine full of unwanted software or malware / spyware installed.
The latest install behavior of Adobe Flash Player is not the first time they have added a little something extra. But it is the last time I will install their software. Even though this will definitely cause me some usability issues on websites I’m not going to use Flash anymore. With the development and promotion of HTML5 – Flash should at some point become an Internet relic.
Having to install extra software, codecs or whatever else to have usability on the Internet is a frustrating and aggravating experience for end users. Hopefully once HTML5 is fully adopted by websites – users will have a lot less of this to deal with. In theory this should shutdown one avenue for sneaky installs of unwanted software and malware. Hopefully this will also reduce users machines becoming compromised do to outdated software. Because no extra stuff is installed to keep track of to update.
Currently my Flash free Internet experience is providing me with usability issues. There are a very limited amount of sites running HTML5 capable video players. Google is testing HTML5 for YouTube – you have to opt-in to get this functionality. Radio Reference blast a warning about their content not working without Flash installed – which is mostly not true. You can listen to the audio streams using other methods available on their site. Granted their support of open source options is weak.
Here on my site I have an HTML5 video player installed. But using SeaMonkey ( which is HTML5 compliant ) I’m having trouble getting the video content to display and play. This is either a coding issue or from what I’ve read may be an issue with my hosting provider. My video content does play properly when using the Flash fallback option. No matter what the problem is I’m not going back to Flash.
I have no issues playing the video content on the VideoJS website. So I assume I must need to tweak something code wise or the hosting provider is hindering my HTML5 only serving progress. Which has been claimed in several support threads.
End users need to keep in mind that running multiple pieces of security software can cause usability problems and conflicts. Adobe isn’t doing users any favors with their “sneaky” install of McAfee Security Scan Plus within the Flash player. If anything they could easily be creating some serious frustration for these people when they spend time troubleshooting any conflicts that arise from this situation.