Oracle is the latest troll vendor under fire for (ahem) "potentially unwanted" shovelware. Mac users installing or updating to the latest version Java are finding their shinies infected with the "much loved" Ask Toolbar. This thing returns poor, ad-infested results, and silently changes your browser settings.
At best, this thing is irritating adware. At worst, it's a Trojan that tracks all the sites you visit.
In IT Blogwatch, bloggers hurd catz. (Updated 12.46pm.)
Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.
Ed "the" Bott reports:
For years, Oracle has tormented Windows users by bundling adware...using deceptive methods to convince customers to install [it]. ... Oracle has begun bundling the Ask adware...for the Mac...as well, changing homepages.
As with its Windows counterpart, the Java installer selects the option to install the Ask app by default. [It] returns low-quality results...heavily loaded with ads, most of which are not clearly distinguished from organic [results].
[This] comes on the heels of Lenovo's disastrous scandal with the Superfish adware. ... IAC, the parent corporation that owns Ask.com...pays a commission to Oracle. MORE
And Peter Cohen cuts to the chase:
If you strive to keep your Mac free of adware...you may want to forgo installing Java.
Unless you absolutely need Java on your Mac, don't bother with it. And if you have to, get ready to de-adware your Mac. MORE
You may call it "adware," but Steve Dent calls it ****ware:
Megayachts aren't going to buy themselves, [so] Larry Ellison's Oracle [is] picking up extra cash...by slipping adware...on your OSX-equipped MacBook.
[The Java installer] will hijack your browser's search functions and deliver iffy, ad-laden results while being tricky for neophytes to remove. [It] seems particularly bad timing considering how fresh the Lenovo adware installation fiasco is in everybody's minds. MORE
Did you say "tricky" to uninstall? Neil Hughes et al beg to differ:
Fortunately, uninstalling the Ask extension is relatively simple. Safari users can...navigat[e] to the Extensions menu...while Chrome users can uninstall directly from the Ask toolbar's help menu. MORE
But cashxx urges you to make your voice Hurd: [You're fired -Ed.]
Start complaining!!! http://bugreport.java.com/bugreport/main.jsp At the bottom under “Report an Issue”...select “Comments and/or Suggestions.”
If thats not enough for you send the CEOs an email...firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com they seem to hold a joint CEO positions. MORE
Meanwhile, Andrew "Malarkey" Clarke waxes vindicated:
I haven’t installed Java on my Macs for years and I never will. This makes me glad about that. MORE
Update: Graham Cluley clues us in to the other dangerous software included in the package:
If you run Java...you are increasing your attack surface. [It] has a pitiful track record when it comes to exploitable vulnerabilities.
I think it's great that Oracle is showing its contempt for its users in this way. ... They don't care about whether folks might not wants ads [in] their search results, and their default home page changed. ... They care much more about making a few bucks.
It's good to know where we all stand. MORE
You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don't have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.