Browser-hijacking Ask Toolbar gets the banhammer on Windows

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Staff member
Jan 24, 2011

You know it, I know it, Wikipedia knows it, and now Windows knows it: the Ask Toolbar is a bad thing that nobody wants on their PC. The next time the Ask Toolbar tries to sneak onto your computer it will be marked as “unwanted software” (that’s a nice way of saying malware) by Microsoft’s security tools. Microsoft previously warned it would take action against software that tries to prevent users from changing their browser’s default search engine.

Although the age of the browser toolbar is pretty much over, Ask’s Toolbar has managed to live on as software bundled with Oracle’s Java for Windows. In March, Oracle alsoextended the Ask Toolbar download to Macs.

Bundleware is bad enough since even veteran PC users can be tricked into installing unwanted software—especially when you’re multitasking. But the Ask Toolbar has its own special annoyances. When installed it switches your browser’s default search provider to, and when you try to switch away it attempts to prevent you from doing so with a pop-up warning. If you’re not careful the toolbar can also reappear the next time you update Java.

But the power of the Ask Toolbar is no more, as first noted on Slashdot. Microsoft warned that as of June 1 any program containing search protection functionality—code that tries to stop you from changing your browser or default search settings—would be treated as malware.

It appears Microsoft made good on its promise. Microsoft’s Malware Center now lists the Win32/Ask Toolbar as posing a “high threat to your PC.” The Ask Toolbar entry was first published in February, but was updated on Tuesday.

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Level 85
Mar 15, 2011
As always Ask Toolbar are pretty considered to be Adware, however when there's an agreement to join partners then removing from threat from database become never complicated. Example of fate for Avira which anger of users just brought it.
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