PC Buyer Beware!

Free version of CCleaner monitors your computer

The free version of CCleaner monitors your computer unless you disable the two options

UPDATE – September 2017: Hackers Hid Backdoor In CCleaner Security App With 2 Billion Downloads — 2.3 Million Infected – https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2017/09/18/…

October 2014. – I have just installed the latest free version of CCleaner, the system-cleaning tool that also provides a useful Windows Registry cleaner. Unfortunately, I discovered new settings – now CCleaner monitors your computer.

Enable Intelligent Cookie Scan

During the installation the usual options of what the user wants the cleaner to do appeared. I always disable the option called “Enable Intelligent Cookie Scan” because this leaves in place the cookies of Google, Yahoo! and other tracking sites and there is no option to disable the setting other than by re-installing CCleaner.

To me, that is very suspicious indeed. It looks as if the tool expects you not to go through the settings during installation and allow this default setting while making sure that you don’t see it again in the Settings after installation.

For some reason, with this installation, there was no annoying default option to install Google Chrome as my default web browser or to install McAfee security software.

CCleaner monitoring icon in the Notification Area

When the tool was installed, I noticed that a CCleaner icon was in the Notification Area. The tool was actively monitoring the system like a malware scanner. Since CCleaner is sponsored by Google, I don’t want it to monitor my system in any way, I just want it to remove the usual web debris when I want it to, not even during system startup. I certainly don’t want a system cleaner, which is not a malware scanner, to scan for stuff to clean.

I discovered the settings, applied by default, under Monitoring, under the Options heading. The top one is called “Enable system monitoring” and the bottom one is called “Enable Active Monitoring”. Who knows what the difference between them is? I don’t care, because I am never going to enable either if them. The middle option called “Enable browser monitoring” is only available in the paid-for Pro version of the tool.

It’s up to you if you use the tool if you want it to monitor your system, but I would advise against it, because, yet again, this monitoring has been sneaked it, and is therefore very suspicious. Its options, shown in the image below, did not appear during the installation.

Free CCleaner monitors your computer with these default settings. Click the image to see its full size