Pushers Foisting on Every Corner

Unwanted Software Being Pushed Onto PCs

While you and I are working to get through the day, I can guarantee that the bad guys are doing their best to irritate us to death. Everyday is like a walk through the woods with Dorothy and Toto. It’s like the first time you watched Nightmare on Elm Street, or the surprise of walking through a closed glass slider. I know they are out gunning for me today, but what form will it take. What will be the REALLY factor today? Enter the latest rising pain in my butt, Foistware.

What is it

Foistware – Any unwanted software, installed without your knowledge with your target software. Usually comes in the form of toolbars, browser add/ons, and search bars. Often includes worthless registry cleaners

FOIST Transative Verb.
1. to introduce or insert surreptitiously or without warrant.
2. to force another to accept especially by stealth or deceit

I know you’re familiar with it. Most of the time it is served up as a small check box that is already checked. The purveyors of this crap are hoping you click so fast that you don’t notice their presumptuous . Sure it’s legal, but it’s irritating, it’s a pain, it’s annoying. It’s just one more example of someone trying to force things on us that we don’t want. Like ordering a cheeseburger and getting a fish sandwich.

What does it look like

For the most part it looks like the normal installer you are accustomed to seeing while installing software. It’s been a while now that clicking install on a wanted piece of software was a relatively benign thing. Choosing the “Default” installation can be easier and sometimes the best option. Click, click, click and your software is installed.

Not any more!There are many examples I could use, but some of the best known software is using this tactic of pushing for a buck. They are just like drug pushers, aren’t they? Standing on every corner, trying to blend in. Think of Adobe, Skype, even AVG, they have all caved to the pressure of pushing for a buck. The pic above is the perfect example of Foistware using well known software to push their wares. Obviously Ask is a successful pusher. You’ll find it smoozing with all the big names, like shown above. The pic below was actually from my search looking for the ASK Tool Bar.

You would think that a search for a tool bar would bring up the correct junkware but NO, they are pushing tool bars with toolbars. I’m looking for an Ask Toolbar, I’m being shown another Custom tool bar, and offered 24/7 HELP with a toolbar added on If it weren’t such a pain it would be laughable. That wasn’t the end, it was just where I stopped.

Just imagine walking down the street and being rushed by a virtual bevy of street corner pushers. That is what surfing the Internet has become.

What does it do

It wastes your time and wastes your money, by preventing you from using the computer resources you paid for. I can’t tell you how many computers I’ve seen with 2, 3, 4 and more toolbars installed. People are using their computers and suddenly everything takes forever and they can’t get were they want to go. The foistware definition relates to HOW the junk is installed, but what it does once it’s there can vary from being a somewhat useful but unwanted application to being a virus laden quagmire. Trying to ignore it is a bit like trying to ignore head crabs.It can be done but soon the problem grows out of proportion. One day you get up and you can’t even read the paper anymore. Opening your FaceBook account takes minutes rather than seconds.

Don’t get nervous when you see this stuff because clicking on the wrong thing can install real infections.

Be aware that someone is being paid to push this stuff on you. Foistware is the starter drug. The concept is to get you seeing and using it and then push the hard stuff, the paid versions. Don’t do it, just say NO.

How to avoid

Stop clicking without reading. Sounds easy but after years of click, click, click, I still get caught every now and then. If you get that sinking feeling that you’ve just clicked something you shouldn’t have, STOP. Close the program or the browser. If that doesn’t work, use the old Ctl/Alt/Del keystroke to bring up the TaskManager and end the browser or task. Much better to preform a simple reboot than to go through stopping the application later and then working to find and uninstall the program. Above all, realize that just because a company is well known or even in the business of protecting you, they aren’t above grabbing a quick buck now and then. Check out this Hall of Shame link for a list of known Foistware installers.

7 Dos and Don’ts

1. Don’t trust a download just because you’ve heard of it.
2. Don’t install ToolBars.
3. Don’t believe you are going to get Free 24/7 phone help.
4. Do read every bit of installation information for every FREE program you install.
5. DO know that paid versions also push foistware.
6. Do use CTL/ALT/DELETE as soon as you notice you’re on a dark road.
7. Don’t click, click, click.

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44 thoughts on “Pushers Foisting on Every Corner”

  1. went to use Photoscape today, which I, previously, thought was a great program. BUT it had an update which [gives] a New Toolbar, uninstaller included. AND it will change my home page, but tells me I can change it back. LOL Photoscape is now being UNinstalled, instead upgraded.

  2. any good software out there to block “foistware” on a mac running Lion?
    my son (can’t wait for school to start) has downloaded several search “enhancements”. yeah, right, mac’s are really safe from malware and system issues

  3. And why, may I ask is this popping up on of all things your article on foistware
    It covers part of the article on the left center of the page, and the box that encloses it doesn’t have a method of closing it. What a disappointment, from Pittstop and Windows Secrets, two of what I’ve always considered the most reputatable companys



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    ings, your article on foistware

    1. @Nancy:

      What you are seeing is a recommendation tool we are testing through Facebook. The tool simply provides recommendations regarding other content on techtalk.pcpitstop.com that might be of interest to you.

      The box can be minimized by clicking on the square in the upper right hand corner.

  4. Paul Van den Bossche

    Isn't there a way to block those Foisties forever? Like in Zone Alarm or another firewall?
    The one I encounter most is the Ask toolbar. I would LOVE to have something that blocks ANYTHING that has to do with "Ask"…

  5. Hi I have been totally blind all my life and have to depend on a screenreader called jaws, and there’s nothing worse when something is enaccessible, or non blind user friendly. This foistware is usually no exception. Offen times, jaws, the screenreader I use is not able to announce whither the checkbox for these things is either checked, or unchecked, further more, it doesn’t even igknolige that they are even check boxes, so I have to practally assume that the checkboxes for these things are already checked, and seems like 9 times out of ten, they are, hope that doing a vertuil mouse click on these checkboxes unchecks them. What you wer describing about toolbars and search barstaking over a computer was exactly what happened with me when I was trying to use firefox, it was that blasted AVG security search, well first of all it wasn’t even compatible with the latest version of ff and it was keeping me from reaching google.com and even keeping me from going to a website. Infact, when I did ctrl l to open a location , typed it in and pressed enter, the stupid thing brought me to a page of search results, like that’s where I wanted to go. I think this crap should be totally illegal, especially if you pay for the damn program, now I can understand and would expect that this would be more commonif you wanted to use a freeware programs, one of those might do something like this, and actually it would make more since, even though it would be just as annoying, but for a program that you pay for, in my oppinion the developer is just stuping really low. It’s almost like saying, well we know you paid us but we’re still not satisfied. The reason I’m am saying all this, is because I want to make every one else aware of the challenges and frustrations that blind people have in dealing with these things. At leaste sighted people have the advantage of being able to see these checkboxes, and yes, if you’d just take a little time and not rush through the installation process, you will avoid a headache later. I’ll tell ya what enspires these developers to do this, is I think these companies like ask, yahoo, and google are waging millions of dollars at these software developers and it’s so easy money that they just can’t say no.

  6. I think it slightly ironic that while reading this article a facebook loo-a-like window pops-up asking me to like a couple of Techlicious articles.

    1. and then I notice (too late) a check-box already ticked asking me if I want to post this to facebook. Pot meet kettle maybe?

  7. This is great information but a little late in coming. While I had already slowed down my clicking, I’m finding that often if you unclick the foistware install box, the unwanted software installs anyway. I just reinstalled Windows XP and got a myriad of these things as I reinstalled other software, among them, the “Ask Toobar” which installed despite unclicking the box. I immediately uninstalled the ask program but the Ask search window remains. I know if I use it, the ask toolbar will be reinstalled. I’d like to get rid of the Ask search function but don’t know how.

    Sure would have been nice if the article had contained some removal instructions as well. Great article anyway!

  8. As a computer technician, I’m elated to see an article like this! I’m constantly telling customers why their machine slowed down and became infected with malware, which is usually due to Foistware! This junk is the scourge of the internet and needs to be removed.

  9. Try the new “driverupdate” by AVG.com.24/7 support,installs automatically,I’ve got it and it’s great.Don’t forget the toolbar.It’ll be coming your way soon.

  10. The only question I have about this is, how can you write this knocking this practice when in the last 6 months, the only software that has been pushed to any of my computers is PC Tune Up from PC Pit Stop?

  11. A major part of my job involves cleaning up peoples' computers. My co-workers and I have taken to calling this type of software "dick in mouth" software. If you don't want someone's dick in your mouth, you'd better be careful to read what you are agreeing to before you click that "I agree" button.

  12. Between 3 computers belonging to relatives I removed 35 toolbars. My aunt said the window for the webpage is so small. Well that was because of all the toolbars on it. It doesn’t do much good to tell them not to, they still do it. I’ve gone so far as to tell them: if you want a program to be installed ‘I’ll do it’. It is easier to prevent it then remove something nasty later. :~P

  13. A great article with which I agree completely. Another trend that pisses me off is that towards auto video; you hit a landing page and a video begins telling you how wonderful someone’s product or service is. At least one should have an option to choose a video or perhaps a written sales blurb.

  14. Jeffrey W. Sosebee

    This is the kind of crap I dealt with OpenCandy-powered software… Until Windows Defender spotted the problem and cleaned it.

  15. Why is your last statement under “HOW TO AVOID” [Check out this Hall of Shame link for a list of known Foistware installers. ]

    Comming up with a { Whoa!

    Are you sure you want to go there?

    http://www.calendarofupdates.com/updates/index.php… may be risky to visit.

    Why were you redirected to this page?
    When we visited this site, we found it exhibited one or more risky behaviors. }

    Warning from McAfee Site Advisor ??????

  16. This article is just as bad !! I went to the “Hall of Shame” link and clicked on “How to remove toolbars” and was sent to a “speed up my PC” type page to download their software and it didn tell me anything about how to remove unwanted toolbars !

  17. I am also usually careful but got caught with the AVG foistware, probably thinking that a “reputable” company wouldn’t go down that path – and a right pig it was to get rid of! I’ve forgotten the culprit but I had one program install the unwanted dreaded Babylon toolbar, even though I unchecked the box on the install. Another swine to completely dispose of!

  18. Speaking as someone who did tech support for many years, this article is right on the money! 99% of computer users blindly click on buttons like "Next", "Continue" or "Accept" without giving their actions a second thought. And then they wonder why their computers get all "gummed up".

    Look, I do not consider myself to be a super-smart guy. But I do know (especially when it comes to using a computer), every action has a consequence. (Good, bad or indifferent.) That's not to suggest people should be afraid of using their computers. It just means read what's on your screen and don't just "blindly" click the mouse button.

    1. I, too, did tech support for many years, Adam, and guess what? … there were times with my own system, that I got lazy and 'clicked'. I paid the price…had to go back and do an uninstall.

    1. How did you get rid of it? I've uninstalled it twice, and it still over-rides my google search page, which is also my home page! Still don't know how I got it, I un-check everything?

    2. Try googling "uninstall babylon toolbar firefox" or which ever browser you use,there should be plenty info on it as i helped a friend get rid of it from chrome by disabling it in settings,you also then need to search the registry for entries of babylon using the find function and delete them too

  19. I don’t begrudge individual developers of freeware trying to make some money from their efforts. But when commercial companies do the same thing it seems almost immoral. For me it’s more an irritant than anything because I’ve always used the custom install option when available. The Ask toolbar seems to be everywhere.

  20. Society has moved too far away from the concept of private property and private property rights. My PC is MY property and no one should have the right to use it without my explicit consent. A check box should not be enough, especially when it is misleading.

  21. Somewhere, even tryhing to be careful, I got 7search installed on my computer. When I tried to get it off it just got worse and finally my computer would not reboot. Had to reformat and start all over again. Even with a backup, this is a painful process and not everything comes back.

    1. 7earch or was it 5earch I had: one of the worst I have ever had as a toolbar… why companies would associate themselves by paying such companies when people go through these… they are proliferating bad an immoral practices!!!

      This particular toolbar, even seemed to have web home page with community, which I believe was just a sham. The email contact, just returned as mailordemons & telephone contact… believe it or not – yes do not believe it! The phone rings for the site, and you get a very aggressive female voice asking you to leave a message – I thought at one point she was going to launch out of the handset and bop me one!!!

      In any event the email and the phone number are just a shame.

      Can I also make HUGE complaint against the Peeplo links and everything related to this, in just the last couple of years when this has sprung up… it is a misnomer at best – and increases the difficulty of doing reasonable research!!! The number of times, and I avoid these links like the proverbial plague now – but when I have in the past linked through these, and they often have nothing to do whatsoever with your desired search results!

      Sites like this, and the Foistware, and Malware… should not be allowed to continue at the level they do. There just seems to be so little sensible regulation on the net.

      1. @Sebastian White:
        It was 7search. I looked it up on google and got an array of ways to get rid of it, all way too complicated. Norton could not find it as malware. Every time I did a gogle search on that particular computer it went to 7search and told me it was pay to click – what a scam. I am now super extra careful about what I download and make sure I don’t install any more toolbars that I later have to get rid of.

  22. Haven’t optimized an OS yet that wasn’t loaded with every toolbar known to man and other crapware that the owner had no idea about the danger of click, click, click.

    Although I’ve been warning people about this backdoor stuff I’m sharing this article with everyone in my contact list. Great article!

    1. Yeah, I been noticing this alot lately and it annoys the piss out of me. It's bad enough when there's "bloatware" out the wahzoo on your computer you uninstall and software companies just want to pile more crap on top of that.

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