Oracle's Ask Toolbar gets the malware treatment from Microsoft

Microsoft security tools will now be treating the Ask Toolbar that comes alongside Oracle's Java installations as "unwanted software" (a category that also includes malware). For a while now, when Windows users install Java, they have to opt out of getting the Ask Toolbar installed in their browser. Opting out is a small task, but it's enough to give Java users a bad impression of Oracle.

Microsoft's new security rule went into effect at the beginning of the month, and protects users from any software with "search protection functionality", which is basically a fancy way of categorizing anything that hijacks your browser. Any program that tries to change your default search and browser settings is getting the same treatment as standard malware–"You shall not pass."

Ask is more than just a lame search engine. It's adware masquerading as a search engine that gives you well disguised advertisements alongside a meager selection of actual search results.

Microsoft's ban on the Ask Toolbar probably has little impact on anyone who is the slightest bit tech savvy (or anyone that reads the fine print before installing a program). Although Ask isn't necessarily malicious in nature, it takes advantage of older Internet users who grew up searching card catalogs instead of Google. Hopefully this means tech savvy readers will have one less cause to troubleshoot on their older relatives' computers. There is a caveat; because this is only a ban from Microsoft, the Ask Toolbar is still fair game for uninformed Mac users who install Java. So, the best advice would be to tell Mom and Dad to always read the fine print before installing any programs.

Source: PC World