Regarding Malwarebytes -- FREE.

Started Mar 29, 2014 | Discussions thread
Jim Cockfield Forum Pro • Posts: 16,342
IObit installs toolbar w/browser hijacker, adware

Zone8 wrote:

Vernon D Rainwater wrote: Regarding Malwarebytes -- FREE.

IOBIT Malware Fighter. http://www.iobit.com/malware-fighter.html

I'd strongly suggest avoiding this product.

IObit is a chinese product that has been denounced by numerous security firms over their practices in the past, doing things like stealing definitions for malware detection from the malwarebytes databases, promoting rogue system tuneup utilities and more.

Take a look at their "partners" and you'll find that they're promoting some pretty nasty stuff. Here's one article regarding that kind of thing (basically using "scare ware" to increase revenue):

http://shanegowland.com/opinions/2012/iobit-is-distributing-malware-again/

Their behavior doesn't end with promoting those types of scare ware products either. For example, here's a thread about IObits stealing definitions from malwarebytes signature databses, where malwarebytes deliberately inserted false signatures to make sure they were actually stealing them. If you do some digging, you'll find lots of articles about that fiasco, with many security researchers condemning IObits for their tactics and ethics:

https://forums.malwarebytes.org/index.php?showtopic=29681

They eventually removed the stuff they lifted from Malwarebytes, but never admitted they'd stolen it, despite overwhelming evidence with condemnation by multiple security firms.

[sarcasm]Gotta love Chinese software manufacturers, as they sometimes thing it's OK to steal anything they need from other developers[/sarcasm]

Of course, their reputation speaks for itself, and it doesn't look like they're giving up on finding ways to dupe unsuspecting users in order to increase revenue using what many consider to be extremely unethical tactics.

For example, with their current installers for their free version, IObits is installing a browser search toolbar developed by Spigot that acts as a browser hijacker that intercepts your search queries in order to give you results with adverts from their partners in Yahoo search result pages, unless you're *very* careful to opt out.

It's far worse than many other similar toolbars/adware/browser hijackers, in that it's hard to remove manually, thanks to lots of hooks into the Operating System and Browsers, with programs running in the background to redirect any searches you make and feed you the results with adverts they want you to see.

You'll find numerous posts in Security related forums and AV product forums with frustrated users seeking help on trying to remove the Spigot related adware that IObits will install by default.

Fortunately, adwcleaner + malwarebytes can usually do a pretty good job at getting rid of the crap that IObits will install by default unless you make darn sure to "opt out" (by using a Custom Install for installation of it, then unchecking all of the boxes associated with the stuff that IOBits will try to install by default)

You'll find *MANY* threads in security forums started by frustrated users trying to get rid Spigot to get their browser back again without their search queries being hijacked with targeted adverts being fed to them via yahoo search results, etc.

You can go to the forums at malwarebytes.org or bleepingcomputer.com to get assistance in removing the crapware that IObits will try to install by default unless you're very careful to opt out of it.

But, in most cases (unless you happen to be infected by a newer strain that definitions in products like adwcleaner and malwarebytes haven't been updated to detect yet), just running adwcleaner followed by malwarebytes will usually get rid of it for you.

Here's a page with good removal instructions that I'd follow first (as chances are, it will rid your PC of the adware that IOBits installs by default unless you're very careful to "opt out" of the Spigot related products).

http://malwaretips.com/blogs/pup-optional-spigot-a-virus-removal/

Basically, if you use the download link from this IOBits page, you're going to get that kind of thing by default:

http://www.iobit.com/malware-fighter.php

The download button will take you to a download page at cnet's download.com (and they have a horrible reputation anyway, but it's not even using a problem installer from cnet, as IObits is the culprit as far as trying to install that kind of adware crap by default).

If you really want to use it anyway (and I'd avoid IObits products "like the plague" given their reputation), when you start the installer, you'll want to make *VERY* sure to opt out of all extras by using a custom install and unchecking *all* of the boxes for extra tools.

Of course, the "fine print" is very tiny when you use their installers. So, be careful (make very sure to use the "Custom" installation choice, and very sure to uncheck the boxes for all of the extras (as they will still be checked by default, even if you use the choice for "Custom install (advanced users)"

Of course, if you "squint" enough to actually read the fine print, it's pretty obvious that they're installing a browser hijacker with adware that's redirecting all of your search queries so they can feed you adverts from their sponsors).

For example, you'll see a page that starts out like this in the EULA included in the IOBits installer.  Read it and it pretty much describes what that kind of software is doing, but using nicer terms.  They should be more blunt about it instead.

For example, they should say something like "we install a browser hijacker that intercepts your search queries and feeds you results with advertisements from our partners so that we can make more money, and we also make it difficult to remove our software thanks to hooks into the operating system, browsers, with background programs we leave running that prevent you from bypassing our redirects and search results; and ask that you agree not to interfere with it's functions or try to disable it"

Yea, it's unlikely they'd ever be that obvious about it.  But, at least the "fine print" does describe what it's doing in more detailed (but, not as blunt) terminology.  This is what you'll see if you run their installers and pay attention to the Terms and Conditions:

"The Spigot Toolbar Terms of Use applies to the IObit Apps Toolbar ("Toolbar"), which is built and maintained by Spigot, Inc. ("We"). The Toolbar allows you a convenient way to help find search results online by collecting your requests for information and processing them through our search engine partners. Our partners may compensate us for making this information available to you. Use of the Toolbar is free of charge to you. Use of the Toolbar and its features as described below requires that you agree to the following Terms of Use. You agree to be legally bound by these Terms of Use by clicking the "Next", "Run", "Install" or "Yes" button provided.
1.1 Rights You Grant to Spigot.
By installing the Toolbar on your computer, you expressly authorize and request Spigot to:
a) act as your search agent to conduct inquiries on your behalf using Spigot's search engine and technologies and partners' sites, and collect relevant information and display it to you;
b) take actions Spigot deems appropriate to provide the Toolbar to you and to act on your behalf in obtaining information from partners and displaying that to you;
c) read and interpret your search requests and results on certain sites and use this information to conduct searches on your behalf, offer alternative results and to personalize The Toolbar for you;

[SNIP] etc., etc., etc. (It goes on and on about you agreeing not to interfere with it's functions, etc.)

Personally, I'm going to avoid products like that from a Chinese company with a bad (or should I say horrible) reputation in the ethics department, that tries to install that kind of crap by default.

But, again, if you really want to try their products, put on your reading glasses and pay attention to the fine print in their installer, making very sure to "opt out" of the kind of crap their installer will put on your PC by default.

IOW, if you really want to install software from a chinese software maker like IObits (despite their well documented reputation), click on the "Custom install (for advanced users)" box when you get to this page in the install wizard, then on the following screen, make sure to uncheck the boxes for the crap they'll still try to install by default before continuing (unless you just want that kind of crap on your PC (browser hijacker redirecting all of your search results so that they can feed you adverts they make money on).

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JimC
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