A matter of trust

To make this clear in advance, I do believe, that CIS is a good product, with some outstanding features.

But the recent actions, Comodo has taken, have, let’s say, damaged my trust, and far worse, damaged the trust my customers had in this product, and in me, since I had recommended it to them.

Misery has started with the invention of PrivDog, and the other sneaky installation options like Yahoo, GeekBuddy and so on, that ordinary users rarely really understand. Most every-day-users just start an installation, and click on “recommended installation” or whatever, almost never changing any default settings, because they fear to do something wrong.

And so it happened, that at around 50 customer PCs, where I had decided to recommend this product, and convinced the users to switch from almost any other security solution, changes were made to the system when CIS did its updates, that the user didn’t want.

Even worse, PrivDog suddenly displayed ads on internet sites, that did not have any ads before. All of a sudden, when printing out forms on formerly ad-free pages like account balance sheets at online banking sites, ads from Youtube, facebook, and so on, appeared on the right hand side of the page, rendering the printed version unusable, because the ads did overwrite the balances or numbers.

Even on my own site I found these ads, and I really know that I do not have any ads on my site, not one. So PrivDog obviously displays ads from various sources while browsing the web, and what is the worst here, it does not only allow or block items on the pages, it ADDS more ads to pages that didn’t have them before.

And, Melih, despite what you are saying, I DO NOT TRUST COMPANIES LIKE FACEBOOK, AND I DO NOT WANT THEIR ADS BEING DISPLAYED. Period. If I agree to see ads, I remove or switch off my adblocker. If I don’t want to see the ads, I turn it on. If I want to support certain companies, I disable the adblocker for them. Easy as that. I do not want someone to silently, sneaky, decide that for me.

And I do not trust ADTRUSTMEDIA. Trust is not being earned this way.

Removing PrivDog instantly solved all the issues.

Now… I know that PrivDog might be customized, and whatever, but I clearly have to state, that when I do install a security solution, and even one that raises such a high claim on itself like CIS is doing, it is an absolute NO-GO for me to find ads where there weren’t any before, especially from companies that I deeply mistrust, like facebook. Talking about security, or data protection, AND allowing facebook ads, is a contradiction already.

Ordinary users do not want to customize PrivDog, or any other addition, that a security software silently installed. They do, and I think, they have the right to, believe, that, what comes from their security application, is to be trusted, even with its default settings. Many users simply do not know, btw, how to customize an adblocker at all. They are just users, who browse the net, write some mails, and that’s it. Not everyone claims to be an expert, and not everyone even WANTS to be an expert.

They got an increased awareness of security issues meanwhile though, and therefore they install (or ask me to install) a security software, to take care of that, as carefree as possible, so that they can concentrate on what they want to do with their PC.

I already chose customers who have some basic understanding of PCs, because newbies are (still) hopelessly overcharged with CIS.

But even most of these advanced users that I had recommended using CIS, are not happy with this PrivDog ad issue, and all the other installation defaults. Most of them are self employed, and are focusing on their work, and do not want to constantly tame their security solution, and they also do not want to constantly pay me for correcting things that did run fine before a CIS update.

We have now switched to a different solution. Many problems are gone now (like blocking too many harmless files), some unwanted applications were found and removed by the new scanners, and speed of the PC has increased as well.

To make this clear again, they all had been pretty happy with CIS, despite the flaws, and believed that the superior protection was worth it, so the reason for the change clearly was the damaged trust of them, when things they did not want, had been silently installed on their machines, and had been activated.

I will also (for now) cancel my planned activities in selling CIS in my region. I have a quite good reputation here, in being someone who can be trusted. I have many years of experience with security software, and my recommendations are usually followed by my customers, or even new customers, almost 100%, and none has regretted my choices so far… the first real complaints I got were caused by CIS unwanted additions. This clearly showed me, I have to stop recommending CIS, to not damage my own reputation.

Long post, I know, sorry for that, but I really had to clearly state and let you know, how me, and, more important, my customers, are thinking about current CIS policy. After all, CIS raises the claim to want to protect as many users as possible. If you do not want to give it away for free anymore, charge for it. If the application is superior, people will gladly pay. They are already paying other companies for far inferior products. But I really advise you to stop this policy, and return to the core of security and trust.

You are definitely not “creating trust online” with this.


Hi Verilee,
PrivDog is not designed to add advertising, it can replace existing advertising if the existing advertising has security or privacy concerns involved.
If you are seeing advertising from AdtrustMedia on sites that previously had no ads, I suspect you found a bug.
Creating a bug report would be appreciated.
Bug Reports - PrivDog

As far as the installation options nothing is hiding, PrivDog is default opt-in because Comodo see it as an added benefit to the end user in regards to security and privacy (Nothing sneaky about adding beneficial opt-in selections).

Note: Opt-out options are available during install and all users of varying abilities should never travel blindly when installing any products.
Driving blind will always add an element of the possibly unexpected.

Thanks from Captainsticks. :slight_smile:

I have some sympathy with the OP on the issue of PrivDog and GeekBuddy installation. You are absolutely right that all users need to take care not to install PUPs when installing any new software, but I think Comodo are being more than a little sneaky by burying the opt-outs for these under the barely visible Advance Settings (or something similar) menu item that appears in light grey on a grey background in the very bottom left-hand corner. I missed it the first time I installed v6 and had to consciously look for it when installing v7. I understand the logic of making these features opt-in but I think Comodo do themselves no favours by acting like those shady characters who try to fool us into installing PUPs with their confusing install screens and options. I would be happier if the installation opt-in/opt-out screen came up automatically during the early stages of the CIS install so that it was impossible to miss.

Comodo installer has been added to Unchecky. :smiley:

I cannot recommend highly enough using a compression utility such as 7-zip to open the CIS installer and extract only the internet security program installer. There’s no need to worry about unchecking and configuring. It installs CIS and nothing else.

Privdog is similar to the lauded Adblock Plus; it blocks ads and places trusted ads. Both tools have the option to not show the trusted ads.

As a user of many free applications I am used to always check for sponsor or otherwise added programs. It’s an inconvenience not a breach of trust. It’s what comes with the territory of free. That being said there are wonderful free programs that make it worth the inconvenience.

We can right click the PrivDog to configure our option. There are four options we can select.

  1. Tracker Block or Allow?
  2. 3rd party widget Block or Allow?
  3. Delivery TrustAds from AdTrustMedia Block or Allow?
  4. Statistics Block or Allow?

This is exactly what I meant. Captainsticks, I too think, that users often are too trustworthy or simply do not care enough. And we all know, that we have to take care. But we are talking about ordinary users, and out there, many just do not care, despite all recommendations.

But - and I discussed this yesterday with some customers - if it comes down to installing something from the security Suite, which purpose is to prevent pups and other malware to even get on the pc, you should be fine if you just install the recommended settings, and that should leave you protected, with just the core functions being installed. And everything additional should be opt in, on a clearly arranged screen. And changing the home screen has nothing to do with security, so it should be opted out by default, as everything else.

The way it is done in CIS, is just, as ubuysa stated, sneaky. In this point, CIS is not better than all the other PUPs on the net, and in my opinion, a security software should clearly set itself apart from the rest in this.

Personally my problem with this is that right under the Comodo logo it says “Creating Trust Online” and then they use these somewhat hidden opt-outs to get users to install their software… This is just the opposite of creating trust online, sure you can argue this is what comes with free products but the problem here is that Comodo obviously took on the role of being the one to bring trust to these places and so far they haven’t done that but rather adapted the things that cause mistrust themselves.

So yeah I think this would be fine if Comodo didn’t claim their goal is to create trust online, because then the free argument would be somewhat valid in my opinion, but as it stands now Comodo does claim to create trust online or at least claim their goal is to, and these things like hidden opt-out applications are simply not acceptable then and is essentially contradicting Comodo’s goal.

But hey that’s just my opinion, of course Comodo doesn’t seem to agree with me.

I allways would recommend comodo.
But i allways feel bad when i recommend comodo.

So i dont recommend it.
I dont want people to have a shiny geek buddy or a dog or whatever, or that they send their files into a cloud, without consent.

You need to know what you do, then its a good program. Without ads and unwanted installations.
You can not recommend it default.

I understand, although users do see an option to send running files to the cloud for investigation, which they can disable. Actually, I don’t see the cloud as a problem at all.

However, as for the added programs. I do understand why they are included. CIS is provided for free, and these software help compensate for some of the money put into its development and maintenance. My issue is with the way they are bundled.

I would feel much better about this if the optional software was presented on the main screen during installation, as is done for most other free software. A wish for this has been created here.

I think the biggest issue is that these software are somewhat hidden during installation. It’s not even that the user may move too fast, and miss a box to uncheck, I believe that is part of what comes with using free software. However, with the installer for CIS, they are hidden under a small area called Customize Installer, which doesn’t even mention that if you don’t go there extra software will be installed. At least for me, that is the biggest problem.