I have been on numerous computers over the years and the Ask Toolbar always seems to find a way (usually through trickery) to install itself on people’s computers. Well, there is some good news and it is from Microsoft…
Microsoft recently flagged the older versions of the Ask Toolbar and is officially considering it malware. As a matter of fact, to validate this point, Windows Defender for Windows 8.1, or Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows 7 and Windows Vista have been engineered to detect the older versions of the Ask Toolbar and remove it.
I don’t know if a lesson has been learned here or not, by the makers of the Ask Toolbar; but, Microsoft’s Malware Protection Center states, “The latest version of this application is not detected by our objective criteria, and is not considered unwanted software”… So, what I get from this is that the new version is ok and the old version is not.
The older version, that I have personally seen on many computers, will hijack your browser and restrict or limit your control over your search provider. I have to wonder if Microsoft became aggressive with this due to the Ask Toolbar, in essence, messing with Microsoft’s own search engine (called Bing).
Either way, I recommend that you avoid installing it (or any toolbar) and be careful when installing any software that allows other third party software to piggy back its’ way onto your computer (see example below of how the Ask Toolbar is along for the ride when Java is updated and installed — unless you uncheck it).
Also, I am not a real advocate of Microsoft Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials. Both, at present, are not rated very well. You may want to consider Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium … I prefer the premium version (which has full time scanning) over the free version (which does not have full-time scanning).
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