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Security Upgrades Apple

Apple Pushes Unwanted Software To PCs, Again 267

Posted by kdawson
from the just-updates-please dept.
itwbennett writes "Blogger Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols wags his finger at Apple for indiscriminately pushing the iPhone Configuration Utility 2.1 update out to Windows users, since it is a tool for business system administrators to set up and administer corporate iPhones — the blogger himself (and practically every other iPhone user) not being of the corporate iPhone user persuasion. But more than just unnecessary, the update actually puts him and millions of other iPhone owners/Windows PC users at increased risk by installing 'not just a configuration program, but the Apache Web server as well,' says Vaughan-Nichols. 'A Web server like the one Apple [is] adding to your PC... [is] a gateway just asking to be hammered on by an attacker. Managed properly Apache is as safe a Web server as you'll ever find, but ordinary PC users shouldn't try to manage it, and even an expert can't do anything with it if they don't know it's there.'" Reader CWMike notes that Apple pulled the iPhone Configuration Utility from the update list after a few hours.
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Apple Pushes Unwanted Software To PCs, Again

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  • by PaKL (1236442) on Monday September 28, 2009 @08:21PM (#29574469)
    Personally I hope they spend more time on the main iTunes program itself. Mine always freezes if I allow the program to sync as soon as the iPhone is connected! Disabling that function is the only way I have found allows me to connect the iPhone without having iTunes stall.
    Is this the second update to version 9 of iTunes already? It seems just last week the 9.01 (?) was released!
  • Likely Accidental (Score:2, Interesting)

    by iMouse (963104) on Monday September 28, 2009 @08:34PM (#29574573)

    Apple only pushes the iPhone Configuration Utility updates to those who have the utility installed already. This is the case with my home and my work computers where only my work computer contained a previous installation of the iPhone Configuration Utility.

    It appears to be more of a screw-up by Apple rather than the intent of pushing unwanted software.

  • by danaris (525051) <danaris@ma[ ]om ['c.c' in gap]> on Monday September 28, 2009 @08:35PM (#29574583) Homepage

    The previous ones were probably Apple deliberately (and stupidly) trying to push its software to Windows machines that didn't have it already.

    Given that almost no one needs the iPhone Configuration Utility among regular consumer-type users, I can see no benefit to Apple in deliberately pushing it out, and thus conclude that it was just a mistake.

    Dan Aris

  • by zn0k (1082797) on Monday September 28, 2009 @08:36PM (#29574601)

    Should have checked more carefully before posting - the first link from the summary in turn links to http://www.itexpertmag.com/telecoms/supporting-mobile-email-on-multiple-handsets [itexpertmag.com], which mentions a Ruby web service on port 3000 for iPhone configuration. Again, there's nothing listening on port 3000. I have no idea why the first summary link uses to support the idea that Apache gets installed.

  • Re:Likely Accidental (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 28, 2009 @08:42PM (#29574681)

    Incorrect. Apple Updater has been popping up every time my wife opens iTunes (and sometimes even when she doesn't) asking her to install Bonjour, Safari, MobileMe, QuickTime and the iPhone Configuration Utility. The config utility is a new addition from a few weeks ago. We certainly don't have that tool already and it is most certainly part of Apple's continued ploy to get her to just click Okay and "accidentally" install all of that crap on her PC. There's no way to tell the updater to only offer relevant iTunes/iPod updates -- it's a complete pain in the ass.

    The bit about Apache is a mistake, but the point of this article is 100% dead-on. It's like the Java VM update trying to install the Yahoo Toolbar every damn time it runs (with the boxes pre-checked for my wife's convenience... thanks).

  • Re:Not really... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Miszou72 (927439) on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:05PM (#29574893) Homepage

    Quicktime is the exact reason why I run iTunes in its own Virtual Machine.

  • Re:Not really... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kalriath (849904) * on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:25PM (#29575061)

    I love how it changes the registry to force the browser to load QuickTime for every PNG file on a page. Fuck does that take forever to fix! (Or load a page, for that matter).

  • Re:Not really... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NibbleG (987871) on Monday September 28, 2009 @10:10PM (#29575493)
    In complete honesty, most people are in the same boat as aforementioned sister. My father has a PhD, my twin brother is an architect and my sister is, well she is a photographer, but still these are smart people. One uses a Mac exclusively, one uses MS exclusively, the third uses both, but I am constantly being called to take care of things because they aren't computer people. Just like most people here probably don't even change their own oil, which is actually easier than installing Windows once you get the hang of it. The fact that any software company defaults extra software to be installed betting that the user won't know/think that they don't want or need it isn't right, but unfortunately there isn't anything stopping them. I know for a fact that have never, with one exception, read the entire "Terms of Agreement" of anything I installed. Seriously, who does?
  • by Jim Efaw (3484) on Monday September 28, 2009 @10:14PM (#29575529) Homepage

    I had the Apple Software Update thing pop up on me the other day, I unchecked the items I didn't want (the iPhone Config Util being one of them), and I went ahead and updated the software that I did want. So how exactly are they "forcing" this one me?

    Wait until the Apple Software Update pops up again and you discover that all the items that have even a minor version number change are back — even though you selected "ignore this software" — and not only back, but checked by default again, because, even though you refused to install an enormous new program when it was on version 4.3.2, surely you'll want to install it now that it's 4.3.2.1.

    I have several business clients that feel a need for QuickTime. A couple of them even paid for QuickTime Pro. They certainly do not need iTunes. Yet, even though they paid money for the product, it won't stop trying (at least as of the last time I checked this summer) to trick them into installing 120MB of extra software as an "update" over and over. I've already had to uninstall iTunes twice for clients because Apple makes it look like it's a QuickTime-related "update" so important that it starts popping up again after a couple weeks (new version!) even after being ignored. There is no excuse for ASU's resetting the "ignore" flag on uninstalled software except to trojan machines with iTunes and Safari behind the computer tech's back and hope a large portion of users think that's just how their computers work now.

    When IE and Windows Media Player were doing these kinds of things in Windows 9x, everyone howled, yet at least Windows Media Player doesn't embed itself in the startup registry where everyday users can't remove it. iTunes does.

  • Re:Not really... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stuboogie (900470) on Monday September 28, 2009 @10:28PM (#29575653)
    I have also seen this offered multiple times on more than one windows box at work. We use Filemaker which installs Bonjour as a component. I enabled the Apple software update to keep Bonjour updated not to install Safari, Quicktime, iTunes or the iPhone Configuration BS.

    I declined the install on the PCs I noticed them on, but I'm not sure about how many other users at work just clicked update without knowing any better. The Apple update should only offer updates relevant to the programs already installed, not use it as a platform to install additional unrelated software.

    You can complain about MS all you want, but aside from the malware tool they occasionally send, they do not push NEW software over their updates. They offer them through the Windows Update website as optional / recommended updates that are NOT preselected.

    If I want Apple's software, I will go to their website and download it. If they really want people to use Safari, Quicktime, etc., why don't they spend some of that iPhone marketing money on pushing their software instead of sneaking it in on the back of other products.
  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Monday September 28, 2009 @10:53PM (#29575833)

    I can see no benefit to Apple in deliberately pushing it out

    You are all set to replace your cell phone with one of these new hip phones, like the Blackberry, the Pre, or the iPhone.

    You know that you already have iPhone interop support because, after all, Apple Maljector keeps telling you that you have access to an "iPhone Configuration Utility" - Surely that means the iPhone works great with your computer! - Hell, you may even have installed it already!

    Now, you were saying something about no benefit?

  • Re:Not really... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by moon3 (1530265) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:33PM (#29576101)
    ORLY? Apple installs lots of interesting 'additional' software on Windows, there are at least 3 system level programs running in the background that 99% users are not even aware of. These are running hidden (no tray bar indication icon or similar hint).

    mDNSResponder.exe
    AppleMobileDeviceService.exe
    iPodService.exe

    These programs are running 24/7 in the background eating process time and resources. The question is why does Apple need these kernel services (read rootkit like services) running in the system space ? To pool the iPod you surely do not need to run at this level or stay hidden to the users. I mean normal users that know shit about 'services'.
  • by Uberbah (647458) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @12:02AM (#29576255)

    My favorite was the story of how "iCon" was banned from Apple stores. The haters were doing their usual "now if this were Microsoft, you'd all be up in arms" even as many of the +5 posts called Jobs a consummate asshole.

  • Re:Not really... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kalriath (849904) * on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @04:40PM (#29585247)

    Quicktime does not appreciate tactics like that, and will change it back. Also, unfortunately, the addon manager does not allow you to remove said hooks at all. You can disable Quicktime, but then any PNGs just get "red x'd" on you.

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