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SANS ISC: InfoSec Handlers Diary Blog - Internet Storm Center Diary 2015-05-14 InfoSec Handlers Diary Blog


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Oh Bloat!

Published: 2015-05-14
Last Updated: 2015-05-14 00:08:39 UTC
by Daniel Wesemann (Version: 1)
8 comment(s)

I recently installed a new printer. Windows didn't seem to know its driver, so I "had" to supply the CD-ROM that came with the printer. Of course, being a device driver, it asked for admin privileges to install. I went for custom install instead of full, but that option failed and crashed in EMET with a buffer overflow. Not a good omen. But since I wanted to print, I de-selected "custom" and went for "recommended". Yes, I'm naive at times. Apparently, all it takes to "p0wn" me is to ship me a printer together with a CD. [blush].

20 minutes later, I was the proud owner of FOUR pieces of software that have NOTHING to do with printing. What the [beep]! And to add insult to injury, TWO of the four pieces didn't show up in Add-Remove-Programs, and hence could not be "easily" evicted again. The most annoying piece was "isuspm", Acresso Software Manager. Completely getting rid of the four pieces of bloatware required use of Sysinternals "Autoruns", plus generous "del /s /q /f *" at the prompt, plus six! reboots. Yes, I probably could have reverted to a snapshot, but I kinda wanted to keep the printer driver itself.

Hello, dear printer vendors: Charge me 15$ more for the printer, if you must, but stop wasting my time un-installing all that [beeping] [beep]!

If you are in a similar situation, ignore whatever comes with the printer (especially the CD!), go to the web site of the printer manufacturer, and search for the device driver for the model at hand. Somewhat to my surprise, they offered an "expert" install that came without all the crud, and just included the driver. Now .. why can't this minimal installation also be on the CD? Why screw all the poor home users [and naive ISC handlers :)] for no good reason except to make five measly dollars on the side??

 

Keywords: bloatware printers
8 comment(s)
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