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Why is Adobe recommending a McAfee security scan during the installation of flash player?

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Strange. Never got that prompt while installing Flash. –  kinokijuf Jun 21 at 19:52

5 Answers 5

up vote 11 down vote accepted

It's an affiliate thing. Adobe get paid to promote McAfee's anti-malware software. You have nothing to worry about in terms of security, it's just a marketing trick to get you to buy an AV.

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oh, but I do worry when it gets down to this, when an AV scans your system, it also creates reports that will be uploaded to their servers, that information can contain sensitive information related to me and/or my client(s). –  ComputerSaysNo Dec 21 '12 at 7:27
Computer - that is a totally separate issue, and while it may be true, the vast majority of the time it isn't –  Rory Alsop Dec 21 '12 at 8:45
Moichendizing! Moichendizing! McAfee the Antivirus. McAfee the breakfast cereal. –  Scott Pack Dec 23 '12 at 3:38
Only an issue if you're running one of the competitor's AV packages and it turns out to be one that's incompatible with McAfee's particular iteration. It's been known to get in a knife fight with Kaspersky, leaving bystanders variously traumatized. –  Fiasco Labs May 1 '13 at 6:04

Adobe is installing a highly limited version of McAfee antivirus on your system and then doing a limited scan to possibly find malware (as expected with limited software). Adobe also pushes the Bing toolbar, the Google toolbar and the Google Chrome Browser at you among other offerings they've included. Funny thing is their installer routine is not intelligent enough to check for prior installations before recommending any of this software.

While there are good intentions in recommending this software, (McAfee for people with no antivirus at all might be a good thing, the Chrome Browser might be more secure than Internet Explorer) it's mostly done as an affiliate kickback program to provide a revenue stream for Adobe's "free" Flash plugins and Acrobat Reader.

It's not totally harmless as the McAfee scanner has been incompatible with already installed competitor's antivirus packages, sometimes knocking them out of action or preventing their virus signature updates from working. Also, reinstalling Chrome on a system that already has it installed can mess the Chrome Browser install up to the point I've had to reinstall Chrome.

When you manually trigger Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader and Oracle Java updates, you can tell the upgrade to not include these affiliate packages. They also can be removed through Windows add/remove programs routines if you have problems with them. As they are legitimate software annoyingly installed, they follow the rules for uninstall.

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As Polynomial says, there is that affiliation - many companies promote other installs when you update or install a package. It is pretty common business.

That said, it is always a good idea to scan any new software that you install. If you already have a good A/V or antimalware solution, stick with that, otherwise I would recommend getting one.

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I just updated Adobe's Flash Player and it didn't even offer me the option NOT to install the McAfee junk. Luckily I have a program called "WinPatrol" installed, which alerts me to anything attempting to install itself in my Start-Ups and gives me the option to say NO. Then I can simply uninstall the junk.

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This has changed as of the last update. there was NO way to opt out, which by itself if a shady practice, at least you still have some form of an option. this last update forced it on me, fortunately I detected it early enough and cancelled the download, then I went back and look to see if there was a way to NOT install this crap. there was not. as such I am now using various different freeware programs to do the work.

  • foxit for reader,
  • webm for the flash,
  • not sure what I needed air for but since I don't seem to have a need for it, I won't replace it.

this finally pushed me to become adobe free for the first time on my windows computers. I am now very happy. Good luck and hope the above helps further suffers of adobe shenanigans.

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This information is false. All you need to do is download the standalone offline installer. It does not prompt you for any additional software. –  Ramhound Apr 30 '13 at 16:54
@Ramhound Only half true. True, there is a way to install without getting the bundled Mcafee, but they did push an update that bundled Mcafee, with no warning and no way to opt out. Worse, as this post shows, the installers that don't include bundled crapware can be hard to find if you don't know where to look. Because of that, I'd say this post is about 30% true and 10% false. (And 60% rant) –  Patrick M Dec 4 '13 at 10:09
@PatrickM No, they did not. Flash since version 12 updates automatically. –  kinokijuf Jun 21 at 19:53

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