Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2016 - 06:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, bloatware, security
After last week when several laptop OEMs, including Lenovo once again, were caught installing highly insecure bloatware on their laptop you might hope that this week would be different. Sadly you would be mistaken as once again software preinstalled on laptops is in the news. In this case it is ASUS Live Update which transmits requests for updates in plain text and does not check any software updates which come back for authenticity. This of course leaves you wide open for man in the middle attacks, where someone posing as those update servers could feed you whatever installation files they desired. As the pull quote from The Inquirer below states, removing it immediately would be a very good idea.
"My advice to anyone who purchased an Asus device: remove LiveUpdate. It's really that simple. If you're an IT administrator, find devices making periodic calls to Asus's domains and blackhole them, get the user to come and see you,"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Siemens Now Commands An Army Of Spider Robots @ Slashdot
- Quieting Scary Web Browser SSL Alerts @ Linux.com
- Microsoft thinks it's fixed Windows Server mess its last fix 'fixed' @ The Register
- AMD Technologies Revealed at Computex 2016 @ Tech ARP
- Computex 2016 Live Coverage Day 5 @ Tech ARP
- Computex 2016 Live Coverage Day 4 @ Tech ARP
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 1, 2015 - 12:30 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: superfish, Lenovo, bloatware, adware
Obviously, this does not forget the controversy that Lenovo got themselves into, but it is certainly the correct response (if they act how they imply). Adware and bloatware is common to find on consumer PCs, which makes the slowest of devices even more sluggish as demos and sometimes straight-up advertisements claim their share of your resources. This does not even begin to discuss the security issues that some of these hitchhikers drag in. Again, I refer you to the aforementioned controversy.
In response, albeit a delayed one, Lenovo has announced that, by the launch of Windows 10, they will only pre-install the OS and “related software”. Lenovo classifies this related software as drivers, security software, Lenovo applications, and applications for “unique hardware” (ex: software for an embedded 3D camera).
It looks to be a great step, but I need to call out “security software”. Windows 10 should ship with Microsoft's security applications in many regions, which really questions why a laptop provider would include an alternative. If the problem is that people expect McAfee or Symantec, then advertise pre-loaded Microsoft anti-malware and keep it clean. Otherwise, it feels like keeping a single finger in the adware take-a-penny dish.
At least it is not as bad as trying to install McAfee every time you update Flash Player. I consider Adobe's tactic the greater of two evils on that one. I mean, unless Adobe just thinks that Flash Player is so insecure that you would be crazy to install it without a metaphorical guard watching over your shoulder.
And then of course we reach the divide between “saying” and “doing”. We will need to see Lenovo's actual Windows 10 devices to find out if they kept their word, and followed its implications to a tee.
Microsoft prepares Skype to be preinstalled on Windows 7 PCs They also ignore the latest version of Skype
Subject: General Tech, Systems | May 31, 2012 - 07:33 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: skype, OEM, bloatware, crapware
Just after their $99 Signature service has been announced, Microsoft has provided OEMs with a version of Skype to be pre-installed on Windows 7 PCs. I wonder if they will take it off again if you pay them?
Just… give me a minute…
So Microsoft hates bloatware unless it is theirs. OEM partners have been paid by software vendors to provide demos of products integrated and pre-installed for the end-user. Commonly you will see a few game demos, the Kindle software, an antivirus trial, and Skype. Earlier in the month Microsoft created a service at their retail outlets to scrub computers clean of the bloat for $99.
And now that they own Skype they desire for OEMs to integrate it with Windows 7…
Here’s my dotted line for your Signature.
More humorous is that they will integrate Skype 5.8 rather than the newer Skype 5.9. Granted, it is unsurprising that a company would be slightly behind in versions particularly since the latest dot-release is less than two months old. Skype has been known to be slightly less desirable as you increase in version number and as such makes me crack a smirk either way. The latest release in particular has allegedly been the cause of minor glitches in recent podcasts with TWiT studios recommending rolling back to 5.8.
If anything this makes me slightly curious about Windows 8.
Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2011 - 03:28 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: freeware, bloatware, download
In a move similar to the one that made Adobe so popular, Download.com no longer lets you just download your desired file, instead you must first install their downloader software. Download.com and Cnet are no longer as popular as they once were, but were still a good repository for freeware and trialware. Now you need to install their software to get at the programs you want and it is even better than you might think, you will get the software you want as well as a brand new toolbar and changes to your home page and default search engine. Thankfully it is opt out, but for many people who are not paying attention, installing the next piece of software from Cnet will also involve uninstalling a toolbar and switching your browsers defaults back to what you chose for yourself. The only good news is that programs won't get the wrapper until the next time the version is updated. Catch the reaction at Slashdot.
"At Download.com, page designs have been repeatedly tweaked over the years to push its updater software (now called TechTracker), TrialPay offers, and the site's mailing list. Bothersome, perhaps, but certainly not inexcusable. They've got to make money off the site somehow, after all, and banner ads don't always do the job. Now, things have taken a turn for the worse: Cnet has begun wrapping downloads in its own proprietary installer. Not only will this cause the reputation of free, legitimate software to be tarred by Cnet's bloatware toolbars, homepage changes, and new default search engines — but Cnet is even claiming that their installer wrapping is 'for the users.'"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- PHP users are warned of a bug @ The Inquirer
- GA Tech: Internet's Mid-Layers Vulnerable To Attack @ Slashdot
- Motorola's Most Important 18 Patents @ Slashdot
- HP – a train wreck that has already happened @ SemiAccurate