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Author Topic: Et Tu, CCleaner!  (Read 2327 times)

xtabber

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Et Tu, CCleaner!
« on: August 06, 2018, 06:38 AM »
CCleaner 5.45 has been pulled from distribution after a firestorm of criticism last week when users reported that the new version was collecting usage data and sending it back to Piriform.

Martin Brinkmann has a detailed report on the new "features" on ghacks and bluntly advises against installing this version.

This is the second major security SNAFU since Piriform was acquired by Avast.

As a long time user of CCleaner, I now feel it's time to look for a replacement.

Suggestions?

4wd

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner!
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2018, 07:10 AM »
Considering it has continued to try and access the net since v5.35, (Sept 2017), despite being told not to, why is this a surprise?

mouser

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner!
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2018, 09:51 AM »
Yeah, I have been a user of CCleaner for a long time now, but it's been getting to the point where I'm very cautious when I download and install it to make sure it's not installing adware, etc.

rsteward

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner!
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2018, 01:01 PM »
Looks like they've rolled back to 5.44.6577.  :-[

Shades

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner!
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2018, 02:07 PM »
System Ninja is an alternative. But keep in mind that it is more aggressive in cleaning up. While I myself have not experienced any troubles with it, others have. Or, at least they claim to have.

Then again, I must add that 90% of all the tools that I use are "portable". Most of the tools that do not have such a mode as an option, can either be gotten from sites such as portableapps.com or winpenpack. and if you strike out there, you can use a tool like 'Cameo' to create a (semi-)portable version of the tool.

CCleaner won't be able to affect the workings of such applications and the same is true for System Ninja. All of the above is mentioned just to clarify that results may vary on your system.

On topic:
At least it is still nice to read that companies still listen to the reactions of their users.

rjbull

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner!
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2018, 04:30 PM »
As a long time user of CCleaner, I now feel it's time to look for a replacement.

Suggestions?

BleachBit?
When your computer is getting full, BleachBit quickly frees disk space. When your information is only your business, BleachBit guards your privacy. With BleachBit you can free cache, delete cookies, clear Internet history, shred temporary files, delete logs, and discard junk you didn't know was there. Designed for Linux and Windows systems, it wipes clean thousands of applications including Firefox, Internet Explorer, Adobe Flash, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari,and more. Beyond simply deleting files, BleachBit includes advanced features such as shredding files to prevent recovery, wiping free disk space to hide traces of files deleted by other applications, and vacuuming Firefox to make it faster. Better than free, BleachBit is open source.
Endorsed, I believe, by the team of a certain famous Democrat  ;)

4wd

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner!
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2018, 07:58 PM »
Hasn't been mentioned but CCleaner 5.46 goes a little way towards ameliorating the indiscretions of v5.45.

Privacy Settings
  • The Monitoring feature and reporting of anonymous usage data can now be controlled separately (previously both were controlled by the ‘Active Monitoring’ checkbox)
  • Added a separate control for the reporting of anonymous usage data
  • Added a link to a Data Factsheet, which explains the data reported from CCleaner, why it’s reported, and what it’s used for (in summary, CCleaner only reports anonymous, statistical data for the purposes of maintaining and improving the app, and it does not report any personal information)

Smart Cleaning
  • Renamed the ‘Monitoring’ feature to ‘Smart Cleaning’, to better describe its purpose (intelligent cleaning alerts) and underline the fact that it does not report usage data
  • Reworded the ‘System Monitoring’ checkbox to ‘Tell me when there are junk files to clean’
  • Reworded the ‘Browser Monitoring’ checkbox to ‘Enable automatic browser cleaning’
  • Reworded the ‘Active Monitoring’ checkbox to ‘Enable Smart Cleaning’
  • If Smart Cleaning is disabled, CCleaner’s background process will close and the feature will not run on startup (same behavior as in v5.44)

The above is just the relevant part of the change log, there's also various fixes, etc.

They tell you exactly what is reported in their Data Factsheet.

IainB

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner! - Sod off, CCleaner.
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2018, 02:06 AM »
Having shelled out for a CCleaner Pro licence some time back, after using the $FREE version for years, I was singularly unimpressed when Avast-Piriform (the developers) started to implement the persistent snooping functionality. Sure, the user could disable it, after a fashion, but next update (or sooner) it was mysteriously "re-enabled" at StartUp, ha-ha.
They had simply gone too far to deserve the user's trust anymore and they will regret it. It seems to have backfired on them already, so they are now belatedly apparently overtly walking back the spyware aspects that they had earlier deliberately introduced so covertly.

Anyway, on the principle of "once bitten, twice shy" and "can't trust 'em", I promptly added the unreliable CCleaner software process(es)to my ProcessTamer "Force Kill" list, so that the only time CCleaner can run now is if/when I have disabled ProcessTamer first.
ProcessTamer is running all the time otherwise, and is very reliable, successfully annihilating inefficient, or persistenly nosy annoyware processes from Microsoft, Avast-Piriform and others.
ProcessTamer really does help the user to run a tight ship.    :Thmbsup:
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 05:14 PM by IainB, Reason: Correction: Piriform ---> Avast-Piriform. »

Tuxman

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner!
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2018, 06:39 AM »
BleachBit has become pretty mature by this point.

IainB

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner! - the BleachBit alternative.
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2018, 05:03 PM »
@Tuxman:
BleachBit has become pretty mature by this point.
Ah, thanks for that pointer. I didn't know much about BleachBit except for reading somewhere that an early version of it it had apparently been used by the Guardian (UK) reporter(s) who had worked on the Snowdengate exposé, to cover their tracks, or something. I didn't realise that it had become "a mature product" now. So, I decided to read up on it. My first stop was on Wikipedia - BleachBit - where it gives quite a thorough run-down on the software (e.g., it's written in Python with cleaner modules written in CleanerML) and devotes a whole section to "Controversies":
Controversies
In August 2016, Republican U.S. Congressman Trey Gowdy announced that he had seen notes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), taken during an investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails, that stated that Clinton's staff had used BleachBit to delete emails from her private server.[13][14] After the announcement, BleachBit's company website reportedly received increased traffic.[15][16]

In October 2016, the FBI released edited documents from their Clinton email investigation.[17] In part 3 of this release, on page 24, the FBI reports that Clinton aide Cheryl Mills ordered Platte River Networks employee Paul Combetta[18] to delete the emails and approved the use of BleachBit. When questioned by the House Oversight Committee, Combetta invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and refused to testify.[18]

On Sep 12, 2017, the courts in Maryland ordered a proper investigation into three of Hillary Clinton's attorneys accused of deleting emails using BleachBit who are accused of deleting thousands of her emails.[19][20][21]
Copied from: BleachBit - Wikipedia - <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BleachBit>
I hadn't realised that BleachBit was so controversial and so popular and recommended for use within the US government state department(s) and for sterilising government officials' and politicians' personal email servers!    :o
That's some recommendation - right there. It must be good - no?   :tellme:

From Wikipedia I followed the link to the BleachBit.org website, where the first thing one sees is rather droll:
10_1118x382_BC0BA879.pngEt Tu, CCleaner!

Enuff said, I'm gonna trial that software now, though I hasten to add that I'm not so much interested in "covering my tracks" as I am in simply clearing the cruft out of my laptop's system and keeping it efficient.
Again thanks for the pointer. BleachBit could make the difference, as it seems to be categorically focused on user privacy, which seems to be something that Avast-Piriform/CCleaner is categorically focused on breaching, now (QED).
As I said,  "Once bitten, twice shy".
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 05:30 PM by IainB »

Curt

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner!
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2018, 04:48 PM »
August 2015 Hillary Clinton was asked, "Did you wipe your email server?" and she evasively replied, "Like with a cloth or something?" A year later we found out that "cloth" was BleachBit, a software application that deletes information "so even God can't read it," as Congressman Trey Gowdy announced August 2016.

https://www.bleachbi...g/cloth-or-something
-BleachBit
cloth_or_something3.jpg
Donate
Donations encourage future development and support of BleachBit.
https://www.bleachbit.org/contribute
-BleachBit

IainB

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner!
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2018, 08:11 PM »
@Curt: OIC now - thanks for putting that into context. Wow. What an unfortunate and extraordinarily derisive retort to make!    :o
Still, I suppose it speaks volumes about the speaker, in that context. Not being terribly interested in the US political scene, I hadn't read that report, so didn't know the background. I thought the image on the BleachBit webpage had merely been a silly dig at Straight-As-A-Die Hillary, rather than a quote about something she had actually said under questioning by Sen. Gowdy, or whoever it was.

Anyway, I have tried out BleachBit and found that it seems to do what it sets out to do but seems to overlap the functionality of CCleaner, rather than replace it.
Therefore, I shall continue to use CCleaner - but without any residual trust in it, as mentioned above. So, I shall continue to use ProcessTamer to control the CCleaner process(es). I have also blocked CCleaner at the Firewall - I use WFC, the Malwarebytes-Binisoft Windows Firewall Control $FREE software for that, though now that MWB have bought it, I am unsure whether it will remain $FREE without embedded "gotchas".
Just as the Avast takeover of Piriform would seem to have corrupted the straightforward CCleaner ethics (probably for increased revenue), I would not be surprised to see similar monkey business with Malwarebytes-Binisoft WFC, MWB seeming to have already demonstrated an unfortunate tendency of late towards incrementally changing their licencing terms for the MWB product, presumably to increase revenues.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2018, 09:43 PM by IainB »

Shades

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner!
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2018, 06:18 AM »
System Ninja is a replacement for CCleaner. Last  time I tried it, the interface was much more spartan than CCleaner's, but feature-wise it is very similar.

By default it is also more thorough than CCleaner (in default setting). Be advised though, that thoroughness can sometimes be a double-edged sword. And if you pony up the cash, it also comes in portable format, the free version only comes as an installer.

4wd

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner!
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2018, 05:57 AM »
And if you pony up the cash, it also comes in portable format, the free version only comes as an installer.

Install, copy folder elsewhere, uninstall = portable

It keeps its config file in its folder and appears to create nothing in %APPDATA% or the registry, (other than MS creating entries about it being run, compatibility, etc).

Carol Haynes

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner!
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2018, 06:18 AM »
System Ninja is a replacement for CCleaner. Last  time I tried it, the interface was much more spartan than CCleaner's, but feature-wise it is very similar.

By default it is also more thorough than CCleaner (in default setting). Be advised though, that thoroughness can sometimes be a double-edged sword. And if you pony up the cash, it also comes in portable format, the free version only comes as an installer.

The nice thing for tech support people is that if you buy the pro version you can brand it and distribute it freely to your customers - not sure how that model will pan out into the future!

IainB

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner!
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2018, 06:29 AM »
@Shades: Quite a while back, I did consider using System Ninja from <https://singularlabs.com/>, but it's not really the same thing. I opted instead for their CCEnhancer software, as it really did enhance CCleaner's rigour.
I never run CCleaner now, excepting it is through CCEnhancer, and I have been very satisfied with the results. I often use cleanmgr.exe as a check to sweep up any bits that CCEnhancer+CCleaner might have missed, but there's usually not much left to do.
I could be wrong, of course, but I reckoned that the combination of the two things (CCEnhancer+CCleaner) was probably superior to what System Ninja does.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 07:56 AM by IainB »

IainB

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner! - and also CCupdate.
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2018, 07:52 AM »
As well as Avast-Piriform rather sneakily effectively turning CCleaner into an apparently untrustworthy "telemetry" (Microsoft-style) personal/PC data-gathering device, it seems that they may have also effectively turned CCUpdate (which is part of the CCleaner installation) into a persistent PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program). It automatically loads via Windows Startup and runs continuously, doing goodness knows what - since you can't trust 'em (QED) - and which process oddly declares itself as "CCleaner emergency updater (32 bit)" (my laptop is a 64-bit system and I run the 64-bit version of CCleaner).

My approach to this so far has been to continue to use CCleaner, but ring-fence it using ProcessTamer and WFC (WindowsFirewallControl), whilst it is in use. However, I have to say that I am wondering whether I shouldn't ask Avast-Piriform for a refund of the licence fee, since the product (CCleaner+CCUpdate) was turned into a PUP in an underhand way without my knowledge and I thought that I was buying a licence for a pukka system cleaning software and wouldn't have wanted to buy a licence for a PUP.

12_576x720_FD2537F1.png

IainB

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner! - bleepingcomputer.com article.
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2018, 07:05 AM »
Interesting post + suggestions at bleepingcomputer.com:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
CCleaner Disregarding Settings and Forcing Update to Latest 5.46 Version
CCleaner Disregarding Settings and Forcing Update to Latest 5.46 Version
By Lawrence Abrams 
September 17, 2018 01:36 PM
10 Comments
Image: CCleaner melting

Reports are coming in that Piriform is forcing CCleaner to update to the latest 5.46 version even when users had configured the program to not perform automatic updates. To make matters worse, once the users were upgraded to the latest version, their privacy settings were reverted to default, which is to allow anonymous usage data to be sent to Avast/Piriform.

This was first reported on September 6th at Piriform's forum, where users stated that their installed versions of CCleaner were being updated to 5.4.6 even after disabling automatic updates. This was later confirmed in a post to our forums.

Post at BleepingComputer.com
In that same Piriform topic, an employee replied and stated that "Since the release of v5.46 we have updated some users to this version to meet legal requirements and give users more autonomy and transparency over their privacy settings."

Post to Piriform Forum from employee
As a test, I downloaded and installed the Slim version of CCleaner 5.37 that we host at BleepingComputer.com.

During the setup procedure, I configured the program to not automatically check for new updates. Even with that setting disabled, CCupdate.exe was automatically executed by the installer and CCleaner was updated to version 5.46 before I could even start the program. This is illustrated in the video below.


... This is obviously a concern that CCleaner is ignoring user's preferences and forcing the update of a new version. BleepingComputer has contacted Piriform/Avast for comment, but have not received answers to our questions at the time of this publication.

How to disable CCleaner automatic updates
As CCleaner is ignoring a users preferences and forcing updates to be installed, if you want to disable updates you need to delete an executable called CCUpdate.exe that is installed along with CCleaner.

When CCleaner is installed, it will install a file at C:\Program Files\CCleaner\CCupdate.exe that is used to install updates to CCleaner. This program is then configured to automatically run every day by a Scheduled Task called CCleaner Update.

CCleaner Update Scheduled Task
To prevent this program from running you should delete the scheduled task. To be even safer, you can delete the actual C:\Program Files\CCleaner\CCupdate.exe executable.

Once the task and executable have been deleted, CCleaner will no longer update without you actually installing a new version.

Thx to Ivan for sharing the news tip.

ital2

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner!
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2018, 10:38 AM »
I've been using Avast free version; lately, it got more and more invasive, so I've been thinking of switching to Avira free version.

I use WiseCare 365 Pro; regularly, they have special offers on their site, so that even a 3-pc "lifetime" version is quite cheap. (I had been using the free version for some time and had been very pleased with it, so I checked for their offers, then took one of these.)

Thus, I certainly don't need CCleaner for general maintenance, but with new FF, there are no "Click and Clean" or other add-ins left which would regularly delete all those horrible cookies and the like, so I've been using CCleaner for that very same task since, manually, and it's several hundreds of cookies (among other things) that it deletes for me. (With the new EU regulations in effect, almost everybody tells me they "value" my "privacy", want my "ok", often with panes so big, and the main (text) pane not scrollable while the "ok" pane is there, that I HAVE to give my consent, in order to read, even proactively allowing for them spying on me - they probably do it anyway, anyway...

Now CCleaner's price model is ridiculous, 25 bucks plus VAT p.a. if you want it to delete the cookies automatically, after your closing the browser; Click and Clean did that for free. Thus, I have to start CCleaner manually, than run the delete command manually; since its window is non-standard, or "newer standard", AHK is not able to send the necessary key combinations; sending mouse clicks would probably succeed, don't remember if I tried - unfortunately, AHK development is all about "objects", so they aren't interested in day-to-day usefulness of their tool anymore, and more and more applications appear with those "newer" windows AHK cannot interact with anymore - if you ask for help with these things (EDIT 2: well, ask them to look after these things, after all, "help" being a gross euphemism), you are ignored.

Also, for some months now, I can't simply open CCleaner anymore as before, but I first get a UAC window to overcome, so I've been doing the cookies cleaning 2 times a week only, lately, which makes near 1,000 cookies to be deleted every time.

So I read this thread with interest, and had a look a System Ninja which seems to do it similar to CCleaner: You'll (soon?) need the "Pro" version, in order for it deleting your cookies, etc. automatically? But I've been particularly appalled not by its pricing, but by their way of making you pay: Become a member of the "Pro Club", then get the Pro for free - or even not? "is only available for Club member" not necessarily meaning it's included, so they possibly even hide the additional price, available only after joining their "Club" ("Pro Club Special Offer - Sorry, you need to be logged in to see the special offer.") - all this is so much targeted at 12-years-olds that my faith in their software couldn't possibly grow up to normal size anymore either.

So at the end of the day, I suppose that a simple SCRIPT would do, and which upon the closing of your browser, would simply delete all that left-over crap from all those sites which "value your privacy" while blatantly spying on you.

I suppose a simple file-and-registry compare "before browsing - after browsing" would sufficiently indicate which crap folders such a script should empty, and then, using a very acceptable "maintainer" like the above-mentioned Wise 365, something similar or even nothing of that kind, you certainly would not need any more spying and / or clubbing tools, in order to at least prevent the most obvious spying on you, from anybody who invites themselves into your system since you dared visit their (often even totally worthless) homepage (often invited by evil google: first google page often enough equals ten times crap nowadays; not speaking of them stealing your time, at the very least)?

EDIT: Btw, google itself often follows me over weeks (they sometimes know what possible purchases I'd been looking for), my "individually standardized" window sizes giving me away (as said, 2 screens, FF at the left 2/3 of the right one, web sites getting your resolution and the size (if not position) of the browser window - among other things of course).

EDIT 2: Most amusing, wordings like "You can change our tracking settings for you anytime." - well, I've got better things to do, so I let them track me for some hours, and then, when their pseudo-AI starts to decide which type of their paying friends' crap I could possibly be interested in, it all comes to an end - except google, sometimes, as said. People who do not regularly stop (most) tracking must be considered lunatics, afai'm concerned. Very amusing, too: When I look up some mechanical tools, then buy one - which google should "get" indeed -, and then I get google ads for that very same tool: do they really think that today's (missing) "quality" (not only "Bosch Blue" made in Russia, but also higher-priced tools you'd think have some stamina) triggers replacement purchases EVERY DAY? At least, their AI should have read the Bosch, or Metabo, or whatever maker's guarantee certificates (pdf by google: they read (scan) whole books now, no?), so that they knew that before 3 years (even for the Russian shit: they hope you will use it intermittently only) you'll probably not buy another one: So what they (try to) do must be called stalking.

EDIT 3: Well, this ("so I let them track me for some hours", well, some days now, lately, as explained above...) brings me to the additional question why on earth all those cookie, etc. deleters insist on your closing down your browser first. Wouldn't it be possible to do at least some partial cleaning while the browser is open? Would FF or other browsers really crash if in the middle of the road you'd (i.e. your script) already deleted all that tracking trash at least partially? And if yes, why would browsers be programmed so badly?

EDIT 4: Yes, and that famous "experience", e.g. "By using the site you agree to our privacy settings - We'll give you the best experience - We'll show you relevant advertising" - relevant to whom? (Copyright dailytrash, pardon me, dailymail. EDIT 5: Example: https://www.dailymai...egnant-just-fat.html - well, many of them are probably both, in order to complicate things over the top) - Btw, just like the "Have a nice day", this "experience" thing came to Europe from the U.S., both expressions had been totally unknown on the old continent, and while it's become absolutely impossible now do some shopping in town without being said goodbye "Have a nice day" (and even, but then just in another intonation, after having been informed, "We don't serve you!"), their openly musing about your "experience" with them spreads more and more, and every time, I then must proactively stop my killer instinct overwhelming me. (And those numb politicians ask where all that hate comes from: Well, there's a degree of insincerity which becomes blatantly offensive - so much for my global "browsing experience" and similar. Oh, and lately, they've begun to call your purchase wish "your project" - would they just scream if you strangled them, or would they, looking into the eyes of death, begin to understand that raping your language is a crime, too, and which asks for emergency relief (I mean defense in support of a third party) whilst not outright retaliation?)
« Last Edit: September 29, 2018, 11:53 AM by ital2 »

IainB

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner!
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2018, 11:55 AM »
@ital2: Thanks for the rant and info. It was interesting - especially the bit about System Ninja - and mostly/all made sense to me.
Regarding having to close a browser before CCleaner can delete its cookies, etc.: I would guess that the reason for having to close a browser before CCleaner can delete cookies or other files (e.g., cache) would be simply because those files will tend to have been locked by the browser whilst it is running and only get unlocked when the browser is shut down.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2018, 09:21 PM by IainB »

4wd

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner!
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2018, 02:07 AM »
Now CCleaner's price model is ridiculous, 25 bucks plus VAT p.a. if you want it to delete the cookies automatically, after your closing the browser;

Wouldn't it be a lot less complicated, (and cheaper), to have the browser delete cookies when it's closed, (ie. they all become session cookies) ?

KodeZwerg

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Re: Et Tu, CCleaner!
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2018, 02:25 AM »
thats how i do it @4wd

For Opera there exist a "Policy Control" Plug wich let me choose some defaults, my google results page never looked that clear before, and no more "you have to agree to google policy" windows that are just raised because of cookie.
"FlagCookies" Plugin to have control on cookies that i allow. (i admid i could live without this)
"EditThisCookie" Plugin waits to let me edit cookies for whatever page i am on. (i admid i could live without this)

Maby those plugins are avail for your Browsers aswell.

Policy Control in action.jpgEt Tu, CCleaner!
sorry bad english and Delphi are my hobby ;)
politeness is not one of my strengths in writing, just because it sounds rough doesn't mean that I mean it rough.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 02:30 AM by KodeZwerg »