Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Beware Foxit Reader Includes AskToolbar!

Many people have switched to the Foxit Reader as a substitute to Adobe Reader. With the publicity over the current Adobe Reader vulnerability, I expect even more people are looking for a substitute.

Unfortunately, I learned from a comment posted by "The Dean" at Bits from Bill that the recent update to the popular substitute, Foxit (no connection to the Mozilla Firefox browser), now includes the Ask Toolbar, disguised as the "Foxit Toolbar".

Update 25Feb09:

In a discussion at WinVistaClub Forum, my friend Seti shared his recent experience with Foxit and gave me permission to reproduce his comments here:
"There was the tool bar, and when you unchecked the tick box you get the following message: by not installing the this toolbar the following items will not be available for free use:typewriter tools and text converter. So a condition of installing the tool bar you get these things, otherwise you don't. So it is not complete! So I went ahead and then I looked at my desk top and there was a short cut to ebay! This was not mentioned at any stage that it would be placed there! I quickly removed the whole thing and then checked in my registry and it was still showing there so I deleted that as well. Conclusion: It does have the toolbar included and there is an unexpected short cut as well. As far as I am concerned it can foxit off, because I wont be using it"
Friends and regular Security Garden readers know how I feel about pre-checked, opt-out add-ons. In this case, I understand that even unchecking the toolbar addition does not prevent the installation. Apparently the $1/install has resulted in enticing the Foxit software developers to resort to this measure.

WinPatrol to the rescue again.

IAC/Ask References:

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...


Anonymous said...


Let me expand on what is going on with the Foxit install, and clear up any misconceptions that some might have, if they read one of my early posts on the Sunbelt blog.

First of all, Foxit is attempting to install the Ask Toolbar (pre-checked) on all new installs. They also have a pre-checked option to make Ask your default search engine.

I was mistaken, in a previous post, when I asserted that the Ask Toolbar install continues, even when a user un-checks the option. Here's where I was confused:

Foxit calls the Ask Toolbar the "Foxit Toolbar". There is no mention of Ask in the toolbar acceptance. I was leaving that checked (while un-checking the option to make Ask the default toolbar). Of course, the toolbar continued to install.

Having installed Foxit a number of times, I really didn't question the first Foxit acceptance (assuming I was allowing the Foxit Reader). After further review, one should un-check BOTH the Foxit Toolbar and the Ask default.

That's a pretty sleazy install, IMO, but not as bad as I initially thought (an install continuing despite the user declining it). It's still bad, though, IMO.

Also, be aware that the Foxit install will drop an ebay icon on your desktop and (I noticed yesterday) in your quick start toolbar.

Brian said...

I agree. I installed the latest Foxit , even though I declined as many options as possible and also prevented the install from accessing the internet during the install , eBay and the Ask tool bar was added .

I removed Ask from the FireFox Add-ons ... no change.

Then removed Ask via the Windows 2000 Add/Remove software ( under Control Panel).

... Ask still present.

Then deleted the folder Ask under program files.

... Ask Still present.

At this point Windows 2000 Add/Remove programs would continually hang.

... ran RegSeeker (Clean registry) ... this removed whatever crap Foxit / Ask had added to the registry !!!!!

... Ask still present !!!

Finally found an article at the site listed below explaining how to modify Firefox , however there were also a few places in Firefox "about.config" where the browser was listed as ASK ... changed them to Google.



To the geniuses at Foxit ... bugger off !!!!!

Corrine said...

The reason people will still find the Ask toolbar installed even if they uncheck the option is that it is installed prior to being presented with the choice.

See Paperghost's report in Why I Flushed Foxit.

paperghost said...

hi Corrine, just to clarify - at no point did I say the Ask toolbar installed without permission. What *was* installing was the foxit reader, as soon as the ASK toolbar prompt appeared.

A more regular installer would allow you to cancel out at any stage of installation right up until the "you have completed installation" message appears.

As soon as I saw there was an ASK association, I no longer wanted the Foxit product. However, at the point where you physically SEE the ASK prompt, its too late - Foxit has actually finished the Foxit reader installation.

That is my primary issue with this install.

mike1144 said...

hey very nice post. great post
thanks for sharing

Dr. Who said...

Thank you for your advice. We have to be careful in selecting the options when we install Foxit Reader.