Sneaky adware caught accessing users’ Mac Keychain without permission

Genieo installer finds it easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission.

Source: Sneaky adware caught accessing users’ Mac Keychain without permission | Ars Technica

This Genieo company needs to be banned from Apple for making a choice that only the user should be making. No program should access a security choice for any reason. There are no ways to protect from programs that make choices on behalf of a user.

What is even more surprising is that Apple allows this to happen. For a company that tightly controls things, for a developer to bypass their security seems very strange. I would not be surprised that once Apple learns of this that this program will be pulled.

More importantly, any program that thinks it knows what the user want deserves to fail. It is up to individual choice to determine how much we interact with companies. We can’t start down this road of allowing the fox to guard the chickens as they say.

Even better, any program that access personal data on the mac should have a red flag come up and the user should be immediately made aware. This has been a problem in the past with contacts being accessed without user permission by other developers. I thought Apple learned from that experience. They promise that their users data is safe, but how can it be when developers are allowed to bypass security restrictions? And what is security unless it can authenticate who the person is who made the choice? This is a failure of all parties involved.

The danger of installing “free” programs from the Internet

BrowseSmart is an adware program, that displays pop-up ads and advertisements on web pages that you visit. The “Ads by BrowseSmart” advertisements will be shown as boxes containing various coupons that are available, as underlined keywords, pop-up ads or advertising banners. What is BrowseSmart? BrowseSmart is advertised as a program that displays coupons for sites …

Source: Remove “Ads By BrowseSmart” virus (Easy Removal Guide)

Many websites like CNET or so on offer “free” programs. These programs come bundled with software that are designed to make money for the company that added them to the site. I had a customer download one of those files and when they installed it, they also had installed this BrowseSmart program. This program like many unwanted programs is designed to download other unwanted applications and also change how your browser works. It randomly changes links and has pop up windows with advertising. Not software you want on your computer.

This was cleaned by Sophos easily. It required a reboot of the computer but then it was gone. Sophos has been fantastic. I have everyone I know using it and only once have I had to use a competing product to clean something it found. It found a malware rootkit that it said would have to be deleted manually. The instructions for it were complicated and time-consuming so I used Malwarebytes and it removed it.

I shared earlier an article that the reason that email spam is decreasing is because criminals are focusing more on malware. Programs that infect your computer and attempt to make money in various ways. This malware can generally be easily cleaned and protect you using a good Endpoint protection program. Since the threats now are more than just viruses, endpoint protects more than used to be protected. It is great that as the threat is increasing, security is also increasing. Since I mostly help people with Windows computers I personally use a Mac at home with Sophos. I only encounter a virus when I go to a webpage that has one. If there was some way to filter viruses and malware on an ISP level that would take out much of the danger. Its strange isn’t it? President Obama said Internet access is a right and a utility like electricity. However would we allow bad electricity that could damage our equipment and data? It’s strange that ISPs say that they have no responsibility for filtering yet inject ads in the data-stream thereby showing that they can filter at the data level.

It’s clear that ISP’s are doing what is beneficial to them. Short sighted behavior increases complexity and costs for everyone.