Got Rid of Some Nasty Java “Adware”

Recently had a technical issue with Java. Mac OS no longer supports Java because Apple considers the Java-sphere too unruly, rife with malware and viruses. However, to run old Adobe software, I need it. So I installed Java Legacy, which is Java 6, because that is the version of Java my old Adobe software needs in order to run. When I did, an “adware” browser hijacker came to life.

A browser hijacker opens pages in your browser FOR you – and you don’t say “thank you, that was exactly the web site I was looking for just now” when it does. If you click on anything on the automatically opened page, adware that is even worse – outright viruses – will download, all automated using Java. I was able to find lots of advice in the forums for getting rid of this particular adware. But none of the advice worked. I ran Adware Removal Tool, a freeware recommended in the forum, but the program failed to find the offending file. I reset my browsers – deleting all my caches, history and website data (cookies). Still there. I wanted to uninstall Java, but Java come with no uninstaller (for Mac anyway). So I deleted and reinstalled Java files following advice on how to uninstall Java according to Oracle, the current owner of Java technology, and re-ran the Java installer. Still there.

I resigned myself to never being able to run my old Adobe software again and uninstalled it. And I wanted all that Java crap off my system. So I searched my system for everything named “Java” and deleted it by mouse. Turns out everything Java is housed in a couple of folders. Easier than I thought it was going to be. Thank you, Mac OS, for not having anything resembling the Windows Registry!

So now my system was cleaned of some legacy software from the previous decade – much remains since I have yet the brave the process of a “clean install” of the Mac OS. Unless you do a clean install, your system will be full of old sub-directories and files installed long ago that have never been called upon in years by any running application. I would now have to pony up for the latest Adobe Creative Cloud to have Adobe back on my Mac, without need for any old Java.

Unfortunately, an Adobe-free world was not feasible. So I decided I would put up with the the presence of malicious adware just to have my Adobe CS back. With dread and resignation I reinstalled Java and the Adobe CS programs. But this time, the adware was gone! The adware was apparently hiding out in one of the Java directories I deleted by hand just before.

Because Java is so easy to hack, Apple is right to dump it. An individual user can install Java for Mac, but Apple no longer approves. Removing adware is never easy – the manufacturer never plays nice. The adware components can be scattered all over the place, with unsearchable names, even their properties set to “invisible.”

Adware gets on your computer in the first place with your unintended “permission.”

Freeware developers get a cut from the makers of adware every time a user opens a web site containing a particular ad. This pays for the freeware, but the end user gets screwed when rogue software takes over the web browser. MOST freeware developers will provide for a “custom install,” allowing a user to opt out of installing adware. Some bad freeware installs adware without letting the user know in a clear manner – no “custom install” option. So, either you didn’t custom install or were tricked and that’s how adware gets onto a computer.

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