There seems to be a sudden rise in computers being ‘infected’ with unwanted software when they have updated their Adobe Flash or Adobe Reader software. Usually, with 3rd party software it is an opt out option where you simply uncheck the boxes and just the core files of the software you initially wanted are installed. Now, thanks to a somewhat shady deal with Intel, they are now palming off Mcaffe Security Scanner Plus and Intel True Key.
Now, offering additional software isn’t a crime, and sometimes, these added extras can be quite useful, if they are actually related to the job at hand. AVG and Kaspersky occasionally offer free, one use deep security scans with their Antivirus software, with the thought being, if you are going to be doing one, you may as well do the other to ensure everything is squeaky clean.
Adobe physically forced us to install McCafe and True Key without our knowledge. It wasn’t in the T’s and C’s and has wreaked havoc on our stand alone system (it takes up so much RAM Aero won’t even run) Actually, it seems to take so much RAM up that Sibelius 7 with all the sound packs running looks like Microsoft Paint in comparison.
McCaffe isn’t exactly known for its squeaky clean reputation either, lets bare in mind the mastermind behind the original company is currently in exile.
So what is True Key? It’s meant to be a password manager that uses either your fingerprint or your face to log you into things. That’s all well and good, if you have a web cam and a touch screen. However, there are huge security flaws in the program and it provides a back door entry for McCafe to literally wreak havoc.
After the install, we also noticed unusual things popping up in the processes tab of the task manager. Services Windows does actually do, but duplicates with identical process names but different memory usages. Namely Consent.exe.
This was initially used to allow non admin users to run tasks. For example, if someone wants to run a program, or do basic maintenance, they didn’t have to log out and log back in as admin to access the file, they could simply put an admin password in and hey presto! It would run.
Also, we found immediately after installing and rebooting, the system was running at full capacity without having anything running, and that the usual Windows 7 menu had reverted back to the old Windows 95/98/2000 grey style with no option of turning Aero on, meaning SOMETHING in that little bundle of goodies from Intel/Mcaffe, is taking up all of the RAM. And before you say it, YES, we did download from Adobe directly, not some shady third party that throws popups at you every other click.
We’ll keep you updated on this, but be warned, Adobe is forcing you to download stuff you don’t want, and that they could well be spying on you, or worse, opening you up to some very dubious ‘companies’. Not cool Adobe/Intel/McCaffe. Not cool at all!