Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Installer Adware Infestations: MPlayerX...


An old plague on the Windows platform is now infesting the Mac platform: Nefarious ADWARE.

I want to bring attention to Thomas Reed's 'The Safe Mac' new article about an adware infection in the MPlayerX installer:

MPlayerX adware behaving like malware!

Marketing moron crooks are making it tougher to stop them from shoving adware onto victim's Macs or to identify when the infecting installers are dangerous. This is the same bad attitude as the spamrats. Therefore, my new term for these vermin is adwarerats.

As I've covered previously, it's important to avoid software download websites that deliberately infect installers with malware. At this point, these are the three safe download sources I use every day:

MajorGeeks Mac
Apple's Mac App Store

Evil Download Mirror Sites

Recently, I've seen mirror sites for innocuous application downloading infesting those downloads with 'installers' that hide the actual application you wanted to install behind an adware installer. I personally experienced this when attempting to download the FrostWire application from it's source website. For the download, my browser was passed along to a mirror site that then dumped on me a fraudulent installer. (FrostWire does not actually have an installer! It's installation is simply a drag and drop into your Applications folder). Knowing something was wrong, I dug into the 'Installer' and found it was simply a script that triggered the further downloading of:

A) ZipCloud adware.
B) FrostWire AFTER the adware had been installed.

Installing the ZipCloud garbage was required before I could actually get at the FrostWire installation.

IOW: We're now in a state of Man-In-The-Middle meddling with the installation of Mac software.

If you've been the victim of CNET's AWFUL Downloads.com (formerly dear old VersionTracker), you know this story already. This intervention between you and what you want to download and install is now standard at that horror of a website.


If you download an application from any website (as opposed to Apple's Mac App Store), and you're confronted with an 'Installer', BE WARY. 

If that 'installer' attempts to download and dump on you ANYTHING other than what you intended to install, STOP THE INSTALLATION and complain to the source download website.

Adware is NEVER acceptable, unless you specifically ASK for it to be installed. Never let an installer shove that crap on you, with or without asking you.

Yes, marketing morons ARE out to get us. It's called Customer Abuse. Please join in the effort to wipe this crap out of the Mac community.

One concept: If you run into one of these evil mirror sites for download, post their URL here as a comment. I'll happily test them out, share my results, and raise a loud noise to have that site firebombed, metaphorically speaking.

And as usual, the best way to find and remove adware from your Mac is to use Thomas Reed's Adware Medic. It's donationware. It's excellent.



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