If You Value Your Privacy, Stop Using CCleaner NOW!

Many people on the PC side of the fence and quite a few Mac users as well have been known to use CCleaner to clean up junk off their computers. I am included in that list. But I’ve stopped using and recommending it recently. The company behind CCleaner was bought by Avast last year. Since that happened I’ve seen advertising and what I consider malware creeping into the product.

It now seems that the product has completely jumped the shark as Avast has decided that it is perfectly fine to bundle in spyware as the software now has the ability to phone home. BetaNews first spotted this change with this text:

CCleaner now sends a heartbeat every 12 hours which reports up-to-date usage statistics to allow for faster delivery of bug fixes and product improvements

So the way I read this, it phones home every 12 hours and tells Avast how I am using the product.

#Fail.

It also seems to be turned on by default, which is a problem in the EU because the GDPR says that should be an opt in sort of thing. But even if you wanted to turn it off, it will just turn itself back on.

#EpicFail

Now this forum post from the company indicates that the blowback from this has been epic and that the company will address this “in the coming weeks” with a new version that they hope will pacify you. But I think that Avast has jumped the shark on the trust front a very long time ago. Remember, these were the guys who were doing a man in the middle attack with their Mac antivirus app in the interests of protecting you. Thus they have a bit of a track record in terms of not being trusted. My advice is to avoid CCleaner and delete it from your system. But if you need a utility like CCleaner, there are some options. On the Mac side of the fence, a great option is Onyx. On the PC side of the fence there’s KCleaner or WiseCleaner. Those are worth a look and they’re all free.

 

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