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Chrome sync and browser hijacks.
Old 02-03-2015, 09:49 AM   #1
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Chrome sync and browser hijacks.

Here is an interesting article from a tech writer who found his home computers hijacked. It seems that the Google sync option on the Chrome browser, can spread the hijack from one computer to another as it syncs the various browser option.

Warning: Chrome sync can share browser hijacks between Windows, OS X - TechBlog

What I find interesting is the number of 'big name' dowload sites that try to sneak this junk onto our computers. If you don't opt out, you get it. Not so good.
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Old 02-03-2015, 09:57 AM   #2
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Wife is pretty computer savvy but caught with a browser hijack from CNet of all places. We had thought it was a reputable site but now we'll never use it again.

I know people have complained about the walled garden of the mac app store, but now I'm pretty happy it is an option.
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:00 AM   #3
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Interesting. So this is not a Google/Chrome issue but only that it replicates the software as part of the sync.

But...isn't the Chrome browser something that is not installed on your computer but is only in the cloud?
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:03 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by marko View Post
...

But...isn't the Chrome browser something that is not installed on your computer but is only in the cloud?
Chrome browser is an app on any computer OS that can run it.

You may be thinking of the Chrome OS, like on Chrome-books. The naming convention is stupidly confusing.

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Old 02-03-2015, 10:10 AM   #5
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Chrome browser is an app on any computer OS that can run it.

You may be thinking of the Chrome OS, like on Chrome-books. The naming convention is stupidly confusing.

-ERD50
Ohhhh. I have Chrome browser on one of my laptops (Windows) but I've been religious about not downloading anything to my hard drive...only to Google Chrome.
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:15 AM   #6
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That is exactly what syncing does. If what you are syncing from is infected, then what you sync to will be infected.

The JAVA installer is annoying because it defaults to installing ASK toolbars which in turns installs other crapware. You really have to pay attention to what the installer is telling you it is going to do. Many adobe products default to installing chrome and google toolbar.
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:19 AM   #7
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Ohhhh. I have Chrome browser on one of my laptops (Windows) but I've been religious about not downloading anything to my hard drive...only to Google Chrome.
What are you downloading to a browser, just curious?

(Hypothetically) So if you download and install a program using the Google Chrome browser (which you have installed, correct?), where do you save the executable file and when you install the program, where does it run from?
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:37 AM   #8
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The Chrome browser is just following the instructions that the owner has given it - make all my Chrome browsers on my different computers work the same.

The problem is that some software makes changes we don't want (often we have to opt out of the changes). Then the Chrome browser copies those changes to other computers when they are synced.
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:47 AM   #9
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Wife is pretty computer savvy but caught with a browser hijack from CNet of all places. We had thought it was a reputable site but now we'll never use it again.

I know people have complained about the walled garden of the mac app store, but now I'm pretty happy it is an option.
CNET is now my #1 blacklist site.

Somebody sold their soul. It used to be the greatest, now it is a terrible adware spreader.

I had to reinstall one of my machines last year because of what I thought was a safe download. Very frustrating.
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:57 AM   #10
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CNET is now my #1 blacklist site.

Somebody sold their soul. It used to be the greatest, now it is a terrible adware spreader.
Yep.

This thread on the CNET forum shows the problem has been around for a couple of years and many others reached the same conclusion you did:

Abandon CNET - installers repeatedly full of malware - CNET Download.com site feedback Forums
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:58 AM   #11
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I have middle school boys. They are constantly downloading crap to their computers when they download games of minecraft mods. The browser extension stuff tends not to be caught by the anti-virus, but can be just as annoying. I now run a weekly computer check - checking the installed extensions, removing them (sometimes you have to be in developer mode to do that), and making sure the home page and search page aren't hijacked... also getting rid of any toolbars. I'd say I need to clean one or both of their computers at least once a month.

This sync thing worries me - I'll have to check their phones as well.
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:04 AM   #12
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CNET is now my #1 blacklist site.

Somebody sold their soul. It used to be the greatest, now it is a terrible adware spreader.

I had to reinstall one of my machines last year because of what I thought was a safe download. Very frustrating.
Agree. I now call it crapaware net. A month ago or so I spent a few hours cleaning up DW's laptop as a result of her visiting cnet.
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:35 AM   #13
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Wow, that sounds really awful. I haven't ever had a browser hijack that I can recall, and I even use CNET (cautiously). I feel like I have to study each download page at CNET before pressing any buttons, because many of the big "DOWNLOAD" buttons are ads and the real download button is often hard to find. I do have Norton on this computer and run various other programs including CCLeaner and Malwarebytes frequently. That probably helps, and luck surely helps to a tremendous extent.
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Old 02-03-2015, 12:31 PM   #14
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On every Windows 7 and later install, make sure Windows Defender is active and set to launch at startup. This will keep the worst stuff from getting it's fangs into your computer. Stuff like keyloggers, botnet engines, credit card and password scanners...

On every PC, install the free version of MalwareBytes.

Malwarebytes | Free Anti-Malware & Internet Security Software

The default settings are good. It will warn about the less nasty but really obnoxious stuff, like unwanted browser toolbars, adware that injects popup ads into web pages, junk that changes your default search site, and so on. Just running a Windows Defender scan and a MalwareBytes scan and removal pass will clean things up amazingly well.

When installing, turn off the optional installs of Google Chrome unless you really want it.

Finally, install CCleaner from Piriform. The free version is just fine.

CCleaner - PC Optimization and Cleaning - Free Download

This is really good at cleaning up the rubbish left behind after a malware infestation. It gets the huge ad caches, snooped data, and huge registry entries that slow startup and app launches.
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Old 02-03-2015, 12:40 PM   #15
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Have Chrome on a 8.1 laptop.

Thinking of installing it on my Macs as well because I want Chrome Remote Desktop. They just came out with an iOS app, so I would be able to access my Macs and PC with my iPad.
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Old 02-03-2015, 12:50 PM   #16
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What are you downloading to a browser, just curious?

(Hypothetically) So if you download and install a program using the Google Chrome browser (which you have installed, correct?), where do you save the executable file and when you install the program, where does it run from?
I don't download to the browser; I would be downloading to my hard drive (download file) if I had told it to do so.

I'm assuming that the executable for Chrome browser is in my hard drive. Then again, (here I'm showing my ignorance--again!) it may just be an app that resides on my desktop that then calls up the Chrome browser when I click on it. Dunno, actually how that all works.

But I have instructed Chrome browser to download to my Google Drive instead of going to the hard drive which means that I don't download anything to my laptop itself. Google Drive is in the cloud.

Actually I've been on ChromeBOOK for a few years now and only use my Windows laptop once in a while.
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Old 02-03-2015, 01:04 PM   #17
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Yep.

This thread on the CNET forum shows the problem has been around for a couple of years and many others reached the same conclusion you did:

Abandon CNET - installers repeatedly full of malware - CNET Download.com site feedback Forums

I am not sure it is technically malware since somewhere in the installation process one has the option on not installing the stuff and there is usually a way of uninstalling unwanted software, thought it may not be easy.

I like to call it 'Sneakware' since it often is not obvious that one is installing the extra stuff, and/or one needs to opt-out of the installation, abd/or the permission to do so is buried in pages of small print in the user agreement.

Regardless, I am with those who simply do not frequent those sites. Better safe than sorry.
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