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Beware Stowaways On Updates

Monday, April 27th, 2015 by | Filed Under: Quick Tips, Security Help

We’ve talked before about how programs sneak on to your computer by stowing away on needed updates. These programs aren’t necessarily bad or malicious, but you didn’t want them and you don’t need them.  I came across a prime example of how this happens while I was updating Java on my computer.

This Java update was necessary, but notice how they tacked on an Ask toolbar. If I hadn’t noticed this fine print and this checked box, I’d be asking myself why there’s a new toolbar on my browser and why I have a new start page.


Remember, don’t just click yes or next on the pop-up menus that open while you’re installing an update. Read them first. Make sure to uncheck any boxes that give you a new toolbar or additional program. (Unless you actually want that toolbar or program.)


~ Cynthia

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9 Responses to “Beware Stowaways On Updates”

  1. Terry Shirley says:

    Great article, Cynthia! I’ve been “burned a’plenty”, so I always try to read everything.

    One quick question: Why does Java (for example) do this? What’s in it for them?

    • cynthia says:

      In some cases, the extra download will be for a partner of the software that requires the update or for another product owned by the company themselves. In some cases, it’s just a third party company who puts the download on their side and adds their own product. It has nothing whatever to do with the product needing the update.

  2. Ben Scungio says:

    Great tip. I was almost trapped by this same outfit a few weeks ago Good thing I was wide awake at the time. Thanks for your efforts.

  3. lyn buerger says:

    thanks for all you work. I’ve been caught in this rat trap a few times and just caught an update on Java trying to do it again. but I stopped it.

  4. Jim Sanderson says:

    “RATS” Read All the screen….if you don’t read every thing, the rats sneak in

  5. Shanker says:

    At least those toolbars are somewhat tolerable. What is realy nasty about these sneaky addons is that some include the so called ‘search engine’ that insist on being default search engine in all your browsers. Some even refuse to go away probably by geting embedded in the Registry.

    These search engines are useless and troublesome, by their total incompetency. Even the reputed sites are not found (404 Pge not found is returned)! AVG has one such nasty add on.

  6. […] are the programs that came pre-installed with the computer and sometimes even programs that came as stowaways on updates and/or the programs you do […]

  7. Donna says:

    I also have been caught in the stowaways as I am sure many who are not that computer competent have put programs on their computer that they do not want or need.

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