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Oracle Installs Deceptive Software With Java Updates - TechAmok

Oracle Installs Deceptive Software With Java Updates - [security]
12:55 PM EST - Jan,24 2013 - post a comment

Here's a tip, just treat Java and Flash updates the same as you would a suspicious file that can potentially harm your system.
In coordination with Ben Edelman, an expert on deceptive advertising, spyware and adware, I've been looking at how Oracle delivers Java to its customers and who it has chosen to partner with. The evidence against Oracle is overwhelming.  Specifically:

  -  When you use Java's automatic updater to install crucial security updates for Windows , third-party software is always included. The two additional packages delivered to users are the Ask Toolbar and McAfee Security Scanner.
  -  With every Java update, you must specifically opt out of the additional software installations. If you are busy or distracted or nave enough to trust Java's "recommendation," you end up with unwanted software on your PC.
  -  IAC, which partners with Oracle to deliver the Ask toolbar, uses deceptive techniques to install its software. These techniques include social engineering that appears to be aimed at both novices and experienced computer users, behavior that may well be illegal in some jurisdictions.
  -  The Ask.com search page delivers inferior search results and uses misleading and possibly illegal techniques to deceive visitors into clicking paid ads instead of organic search results.

In a new post, Edelman thoroughly analyzes the Ask toolbar and breaks down the deceptive behavior that the toolbar itself is associated with:

 -  The Ask toolbar "takes over default search, address bar search, and error handling." As Edelman notes, "That's an intrusive set of changes, and particularly undesirable in light of the poor quality of IAC's search results."
 -   If you use the toolbar's search box, you're sent to "an IAC Mywebsearch results page with advertisements and search results syndicated from Google [with] listings that are intentionally less useful -- focused primarily on IAC's business interest in encouraging the user to click extra advertisements."
 -   Unlike a Google search page, ads at IAC Mywebsearch lack "distinctive background color to help users distinguish ads from algorithmic results. Furthermore, IAC's voluminous ads fill the entirety of the first screen of results for many searches. A user familiar with Google would expect ads to have a distinctive background color and would know that ads typically stop after at most one screen ... the user might well conclude that these are algorithmic listings rather than paid advertisements."
  -  The ads on the Mywebsearch pages ignore standard industry practice and Google rules and make the entire ad clickable, "including domain name, ad text, and large whitespace ... IAC's search result pages expand the clickable area of each advertisement to fill the entire page width, sharply increasing the fraction


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