Does Trillian have a crapware problem?

Does Trillian have a crapware problem?

Summary: StopBadware.org researcher Liana Leahy has taken Cerulean Studios to task for bundling two third-party applications into the popular free Trillian IM client, arguing that users who are not careful during the Trillian installation process could end up with a crapware problem.

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StopBadware.org researcher Liana Leahy has taken Cerulean Studios to task for bundling two third-party applications into the popular free Trillian IM client, arguing that users who are not careful during the Trillian installation process could end up with a crapware problem. During the installation process, the default setting is for Trillian to bundle the Weather Channel Desktop and the Ask Toolbar, two products that could introduce security risks to PC users. Trillian weather bundle

As a security researcher, Leahy concedes she should have known better than simply clicking "next" through the installation process (giving the company permission to install the bundles) but her experience is probably the same as the average end-user who pays little attention to EULAs and default checkboxes.

As far back as April 2007, the guys behind Trillian explained the bundling deals as an economic issue and insisted the installation will be "absolutely transparent and absolutely optional." But, as Leahy and others have discovered, crapware can sneak onto a PC if users aren't vigilant. The bigger issue for start-ups struggling to monetize free software offerings is what spyware research guru Ben Edelman calls "deceptive door openers." Ask.com, especially, has a checkered history with the way its search toolbar is marketed to end users. The company has been known to target kids online with promises of free smileys and advertising through other vendors' spyware, according to Edelman's research. StopBadware's Leahy stopped short of condemning the free Trillian as "badware" because the disclosure process is in keeping with established guidelines but it sure looks like the image of Cerulean Studios will take a hit. Oh, by the way, Trillian just shipped a fix for an "highly critical" code execution vulnerability. [ ALSO SEE: How to degunk a PC full of crapware ]

Topics: PCs, Hardware, Security, Start-Ups

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8 comments
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  • If People Are Too Stupid

    To uncheck a check mark during an installation, they shouldn't be using a computer
    bmore_bro69@...
    • Stupidity or busy?

      I know for a fact that if I am extremely busy, I'll speed through install without carefully checking things. This doesn't make me stupid, but does point out that someone who is in a hurry (because of deadlines or what-have-you) will make mistakes more often than someone who has set aside time to install something.
      Raymond Danner
      • I'm with you, Raymond

        Posters who begin, "If people are too stupid..." forget about the times when they've fallen victim to misleading wording or a poorly designed interface (the notorious Florida "butterfly ballot"). Such posters have clearly not studied human factors or don't respect the discipline. Who of us has mistakenly never pushed a "pull" door whose handle was shaped like that of a push door?
        paul613
        • paul 613

          Who of us has mistakenly never pushed a "pull" door

          good point paul . I have an MIL so dumb, she once got stuck in a revolving door for three days cause she couldn't find the door knob.
          peiper-21523909194466022997006295380332
  • Google,Google Google

    Let me tell you, as a parent every month I try to remove the crpware installed on my kids machine...It comes from doenloads and game intalls that they do themselves.

    Every month I have to remove the google toolbar, and I mean every month....I have yet to see Ask.com.

    The only crapware king I see is Google crap.
    mames1701
    • Have you tried

      talking to your child?

      You might be amazed at what you find out.
      fuzzy2k
  • Completely Agree

    But I'd also add Yahoo to that list. Google and Yahoo BOTH put there toolbars in TONS of software. Anyone who just clicks "Next" will get one (or both) of those toolbars VERY quickly.
    JustMe2007
    • oops

      I meant to reply to "Google, Google, Google" not the article.
      JustMe2007