Unwanted Software Being Pushed Onto PCs
While you and I are working to get through the day, I can guarantee that the bad guys are doing their best to irritate us to death. Everyday is like a walk through the woods with Dorothy and Toto. It’s like the first time you watched Nightmare on Elm Street, or the surprise of walking through a closed glass slider. I know they are out gunning for me today, but what form will it take. What will be the REALLY factor today? Enter the latest rising pain in my butt, Foistware.
What is it
Foistware – Any unwanted software, installed without your knowledge with your target software. Usually comes in the form of toolbars, browser add/ons, and search bars. Often includes worthless registry cleaners
FOIST Transative Verb.
1. to introduce or insert surreptitiously or without warrant.
2. to force another to accept especially by stealth or deceit
I know you’re familiar with it. Most of the time it is served up as a small check box that is already checked. The purveyors of this crap are hoping you click so fast that you don’t notice their presumptuous . Sure it’s legal, but it’s irritating, it’s a pain, it’s annoying. It’s just one more example of someone trying to force things on us that we don’t want. Like ordering a cheeseburger and getting a fish sandwich.
What does it look like
For the most part it looks like the normal installer you are accustomed to seeing while installing software. It’s been a while now that clicking install on a wanted piece of software was a relatively benign thing. Choosing the “Default” installation can be easier and sometimes the best option. Click, click, click and your software is installed.
Not any more!There are many examples I could use, but some of the best known software is using this tactic of pushing for a buck. They are just like drug pushers, aren’t they? Standing on every corner, trying to blend in. Think of Adobe, Skype, even AVG, they have all caved to the pressure of pushing for a buck. The pic above is the perfect example of Foistware using well known software to push their wares. Obviously Ask is a successful pusher. You’ll find it smoozing with all the big names, like shown above. The pic below was actually from my search looking for the ASK Tool Bar.You would think that a search for a tool bar would bring up the correct junkware but NO, they are pushing tool bars with toolbars. I’m looking for an Ask Toolbar, I’m being shown another Custom tool bar, and offered 24/7 HELP with a toolbar added on If it weren’t such a pain it would be laughable. That wasn’t the end, it was just where I stopped. Just imagine walking down the street and being rushed by a virtual bevy of street corner pushers. That is what surfing the Internet has become.
What does it do
It wastes your time and wastes your money, by preventing you from using the computer resources you paid for. I can’t tell you how many computers I’ve seen with 2, 3, 4 and more toolbars installed. People are using their computers and suddenly everything takes forever and they can’t get were they want to go. The foistware definition relates to HOW the junk is installed, but what it does once it’s there can vary from being a somewhat useful but unwanted application to being a virus laden quagmire. Trying to ignore it is a bit like trying to ignore head crabs.It can be done but soon the problem grows out of proportion. One day you get up and you can’t even read the paper anymore. Opening your FaceBook account takes minutes rather than seconds.
Don’t get nervous when you see this stuff because clicking on the wrong thing can install real infections.
Be aware that someone is being paid to push this stuff on you. Foistware is the starter drug. The concept is to get you seeing and using it and then push the hard stuff, the paid versions. Don’t do it, just say NO.
How to avoid
Stop clicking without reading. Sounds easy but after years of click, click, click, I still get caught every now and then. If you get that sinking feeling that you’ve just clicked something you shouldn’t have, STOP. Close the program or the browser. If that doesn’t work, use the old Ctl/Alt/Del keystroke to bring up the TaskManager and end the browser or task. Much better to preform a simple reboot than to go through stopping the application later and then working to find and uninstall the program. Above all, realize that just because a company is well known or even in the business of protecting you, they aren’t above grabbing a quick buck now and then. Check out this Hall of Shame link for a list of known Foistware installers.
7 Dos and Don’ts
1. Don’t trust a download just because you’ve heard of it.
2. Don’t install ToolBars.
3. Don’t believe you are going to get Free 24/7 phone help.
4. Do read every bit of installation information for every FREE program you install.
5. DO know that paid versions also push foistware.
6. Do use CTL/ALT/DELETE as soon as you notice you’re on a dark road.
7. Don’t click, click, click.