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Comodo Software Removed from Softpedia


We don't normally feature news items in this column but this one is of unusual importance for freeware lovers:

From the Softpedia website:

"... if you had searched Softpedia for Comodo in the past week, you would have surely noticed that the company’s [i.e. Comodo's]  flagship programs were no longer listed on Softpedia. This was not our decision, of course, but let’s start with the beginning.

On April, 15th, Softpedia received an official cease and desist letter from the Comodo legal team requesting us to "discontinue all references on Softpedia identifying CIS as adware" within seven days, because Comodo Internet Security is not adware.

The first thing we did was, of course, to double-check the license, but, as we’ve tried explaining to the Comodo team, CIS is indeed adware. Why? Well, for starters, because the installer attempts to change both the browser’s homepage and search engine. As if that wasn’t a good enough reason, the setup also offers to install SafeSurf. Here’s what the official Comodo letter states: "SafeSurf is optional and does not display unsolicited advertisements on a user’s computer, nor does it hijack browser settings or perform search overriding or home page changing without the user’s consent."

Aside from the fact that SafeSurf is a component that the program (CIS) does not require to fully function, therefore it alone would be a good reason to mark CIS as adware, this utility also installs Ask Toolbar without asking for the user’s permission. This type of behavior is clearly not the one described in the Comodo email and could be easily classified as spyware (since adware would imply prior user consent)."

What's my opinion on this? Both Softpedia and Comodo have a case. Yes Comodo does include additional components with their security software installs but as far as I can see they are up front about it in much the same way that CCleaner is up front about installing the Yahoo search bar. On the other hand the Comodo practice does seem to challenge Softpedia's "100% clean" policy.

In summary - caveat emptor.



Please note that Comodo products are now back on Softpedia as of October 2009.  The designation of Comodo Internet Security has now been changed to 'freeware' or 'trial' as before. 


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by veekay on 18. January 2011 - 5:11  (64755)

You know why I lost faith in Comodo?

It is not because of inadequate protection: Defense+ is very good, and Comodo AV detection is excellent (though I am sure other AV can perform better in cleaning pesky malware).

It is not because of price: Comodo Internet Security is completely free with no nags or surreptitious third-party ads. Who can argue with that ?

It is not because of customizability: CIS has good range of settings to please even the power users, but though the UI is clean and looks simple, it is not - maintaining the product is difficult when you have to remember where a certain setting is to be changed, as some of the menus are counter-intuitive. And if you have a dynamic IP (ADSL Broadband) or even wireless connectivity, then god help you, as CIS will detect it as a new LAN network everytime (because it recognizes it by single IP) and force you to configure it. The average home user doesn't know about setting up IP ranges on a firewall, so they are more likely to be pissed off at this popup every time they switch on their PC or router. The CIS GUI needs an urgent overhaul (and yeah, XP-themed skins are cool, but we are focusing on usability here, guys). Even McAfee has opted to go for the ultra-simplistic look-and-feel approach (finally, to shed their bloated-resource-hog tag).

I lost faith in Comodo because their updates process is dumb. Each CIS update is huge (frequently around ~5mb), and worst of all, the updates get broken with mind-numbing frequency, which means you need to uninstall and reinstall the product (it cannot repair itself). Don't believe me? Take a look at the Comodo forums. The updates issues have been there from past few generations of the product line.

Avast is the best free AV and have the leanest updates. Likewise, Norton have the "pulse updates". Avast's newer generation 5.x is awesome in look and feel, and inspires confidence. It is robust with decent protection (though if you have the dough, Norton is better, IMHO). Avast is #4 on the 1st page in Google's ranking for the search phrase: "download", whereas Comodo shows up only on page 9. Outpost recently performed better than Norton in an independent test and they are also giving away their Internet Security suite free. Avira still has better detection rates than Comodo. The competition to Comodo has become smarter and better.

If Comodo doesn't whip itself into shape soon (the Softpedia issue and challenge to Norton are just symptoms, not the real problem) and doesn't change its devil-may-care attitude and underhand adware behavior, it will lose the confidence of its fans (I was one), and it is gonna lose the battle in a highly competitive marketplace.

by sbruce (not verified) on 4. March 2011 - 0:34  (67402)

do I need to add that CTM is a clone of Rollback Rx 8 and they are not capable of fixing major bugs?

by Joeblow from Cocamo (not verified) on 31. August 2010 - 10:19  (57033)

I just tried to install comodo firewall, most recent version as of August, 31st 2010. The uncheck box was briefly displayed and seen, but checking it was / is nearly impossible!

The installation process I experienced was so quick, I could not check that box!

That says a lot about comodo's motives about combating user awareness (to not install bloated apps)...they offer a way to not install the adds, with an option to check a box, but nearly impossible to do so.

I could be wrong, as I did not continue with the installation. There may be options (boxes) to check to not install adware, toolbars, but it didn't look good to me, this quick installation menu. I only went a few steps into that install, (choosing next, only a few times) before I "felt" there was a point of no return...then I exited.

I tried 5 times to check that box, but could not as it was way to quick and vanished, onto the next step. is nice, but we should not need to worry about browser changes or any other significant or not, changes to our PC's, other than what the antivirus or firewall or whatever app it is, is supposed to do for us.

Most users leech these free programs and whine about adds..but its FREE! They godda get paid somehow, but not at my expense, respective to deliberate deception of installation of such "extras" (deliberate with this sonic speed install).

I'd rather pay 50.00 for a clean product that works well, then possibly have to re install my OS if such bloated apps corrupt it, (OS's which has a limit of amount of installations / activations...thanks Windows XP, and 7!!!!).

by TOMxEU (not verified) on 8. August 2010 - 10:37  (55624)

Since only way to get rid of Comodo products from Windows is a clean setup, I would not recommend it anyway. Included adware seems to be the smallest problem. :)

by Anonymous on 10. August 2009 - 9:24  (26739)

The Comodo installation operates on an "Opt-out" basis. In otherwords you need to untick the boxes that authorise the toolbar and homepage switch, to prevent them being installed.

These options are easily overlooked which is of course why they use them.

We delude ourselves in thinking stuff can be 'free', somewhere, somehow everything has to be paid for.

I dont have an issue with companies using 'free'software as a basis for promoting a paid for version, nor seeing adverts during the download process.

However in their desire to make money sometimes they will rely on people being uninformed or unobservant.

I imagine most people who would be sufficiently knowledgeable to install a firewall will be aware of the use of such techniques and take the appropriate steps to prevent these unneccessary addins.

by Anonymous on 16. June 2009 - 12:22  (23983)

Comodo produces very unstable programs :)

by DesElms on 8. May 2009 - 3:21  (21226)

Oy. This is ridiculous.

Comodo's installer doesn't try to change anything of which the user isn't made fully aware... exactly like CCleaner does it.

And the SafeSurf product makes changes to the browser because... well... it's a browser helper object. Being upset about that would be a little like being upset about how a CD player utility, once installed, interacts with one's CD drive.

Now, all that said, I must confess (and as I think about it, I believe I've even said this in Comodo's forums) that whenever an installer offers additional stuff, it should always be defaulted to the little checkboxes being unchecked... so that if one moves through the screens of the installer so fast that one doesn't actually read them (which is so stupid on its face that one could argue that one gets what one deserves... but that's a rant for another time), then one will not get extra stuff installed.

In other words, Comodo's installer operates from the "we'll opt you in by default, and make it so that you must intentionaly opt-out to avoid the extra stuff being installed."

And that's not right. That, it seems to me, is what makes the whole thing feel feel adware-ish. Offering extra stuff is fine as long as one must take action to opt-in. But if one must take action to opt-out, that's adware-like behavior.

So Softpedia could take that unassailable position, regardless. But to go so far as to categorize Comodo's products as adware, just generally... I dunno. I mean, I get that by Softpedia's definition, it is. And it's Softpedia's site, and so it gets to make whatever rules -- and categorizations -- it wants. However, the notion of common usage should apply, too. I mean, a web site could define blue as red and green as purple on its own site if it wanted to, but who would respect it.

Adware, by common definition -- regardless what Softpedia thinks -- is generally thought of by the rest of the world as being somewhat more egregious, just generally, than Comodo's being.

Softpedia's position is technically defensible because, after all, it's Softpedia's site and so it gets to do whatever the heck it wants.

But that doesn't make it inherently reasonable, given the rest of the world's general understanding of things.

by Rizar on 8. May 2009 - 3:33  (21227)

Well put. That was my reaction exactly.

by Anonymous on 6. May 2009 - 11:22  (21131)

I disagree with softpedia. yes if you are not careful or paying attention you will end up with the ask tool bar or home page changes. This is your own fault for mindless clicking the next button. I have been using comodo's firewall for 3 years now and I can assure you its the best free firewall I have found that actually isnt a pain in the ass. Yes some of the more advanced features can be daunting but they can be turned off as well. I love it and its not adware in truth but if compared to the "definition of adware than yes techinically it would be but I can assure its not. I dont know how you cant trust COMODO they make SSL Locks for Christ Sakes SSL you know those secure privacy locks yah comodo makes those. Why would a company who makes SSL locks create a program thats adware? Think about that before you criticize.

by chris.p on 2. May 2009 - 5:37  (20920)

Tell you what this does for me though -- it makes it 100% certain that Softpedia will be my first stop for software downloads.

Looks like they have their principles and stick to them even though it will cost them. Customer safety seems to be more important than commercial pressures. Good for them.


by veekay on 18. January 2011 - 5:23  (64756)

Totally agree with you Chris. The Softpedia stringent policies against adware and malware makes it a safer place, especially when they prove they cannot be browbeaten.

Softpedia is now ranked higher in my opinion than any other download site (except Gizmo's :-). They should encourage their user community a bit more, so that we get more user reviews, as that is one thing I find useful on

There's a footnote about the Softpedia responses to Comodo's rants here:

by Anonymous on 2. May 2009 - 2:02  (20914)

Realistically software should only install that software and that's it! To many legitimate programs have options to install all kinds of extra "Bloat" (or call it whatever). I.E. Adobe comes bundle with the Yahoo toolbar. How many other programs bundle toolbar's with there programs, I can't even count the number of times i have had to go into a person's house to remove the numerous toolbar's so they can check the email again, because popups are being blocked.

Install your program that it, installing should be mindless and not have to read every dialog box, so you don't accidentally install "bloat" you do not need because you didn't read closely.

by Anonymous on 16. October 2009 - 7:48  (34771)

not that i disagree,but this is a lot of complaining about a excellent freeware program.if you are willing to pony up some cash i'm sure you can avoid this hassle.
listen up i dont care who it is or how noble the cause,once people have made a name for themselves they will sell us out to some,lavasoft,ccleaner,spyware terminator which has also been labeled as adware by some etc..

by Rizar on 30. April 2009 - 17:09  (20849)

I think we should start a list of all the "adware" products listed by Softpedia. This will help us be more objective and help us see if "adware" as defined by Softpedia really is dangerous in a significant way or merely dangerous like a kitty cat. Obviously, I won't include Comodo Internet Security because it isn't listed anymore at all. So the following list is completely accurate as to the software on Softpedia that are currently listed as "adware." I don't agree with all of them and I think they should add some additional software, but here is the list as it appears on the site. I will add to it as I find more.

Advanced SystemCare (formerly Advanced WindowsCare) 3.3 [*Gizmo Top Pick]
Alcohol 120% 1.9
AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) 5.9
Auslogics Registry Cleaner 1.3
Auslogics Registry Defrag 5.2
AVG Free Edition 8.5 [#1 download on CNET]
AVG LinkScanner 8.5 [*Gizmo Pick]
Avira AntiVir Personal - Free Antivirus 9 [*Gizmo Top Pick, #1 download on Softpedia & #2 on CNET]
DAEMON Tools Lite
DeepBurner Free 1.9
DFX Audio Enhancer/Enhancement
digsby Build 20700 [*Gizmo Pick]
Download Accelerator Plus 9.1
FlashGet Beta
Foxit PDF Reader 3.0 [*Gizmo Pick]
FreeCommander 2009.02
Game Booster 1.0 [#1 download on MajorGeeks]
GetGo Download Manager 4.1
Google Desktop 5.8
Google Earth 5.0.11337.1968 Beta
Google's Picasa Photo Organizer 3.1 [*Gizmo Top Pick]
Google Toolbar 6.1
GOM Player 2.1 [*Gizmo Pick]
IrfanView 4.23 [*Top 4 Gizmo Image Viewers]
jetAudio 7.5 [*MajorGeeks Editor Pick]
KCleaner 0.16
McAfee SiteAdvisor for Internet Explorer 2.9
Microsoft Virtual Earth 3D 4.0 Beta
MSN Messenger 7.5
Nexus Radio 3.2 [#5 Download on Softpedia]
PC Tools Firewall Plus [*Gizmo Pick -- Top 3 firewalls]
RealPlayer 11.1
SmartDefrag 1.1 [*Gizmo Top Pick]
Spyware Doctor 6.0
Spyware Terminator 2.5 [*Gizmo Pick]
UltraVNC [*Gizmo Pick]
Vista Sidebar 2.5 Build 2514
Vuze (formerly Azureus) 4.2 [*Gizmo Top Pick]
Winamp 5 Full 5.552
Windows Live Messenger 8.5 [#6 download on Softpedia]
Wise Disk Cleaner 4.31
Wise Registry Cleaner 4.31 [*Gizmo Top Pick -- 64-bit List]
Yahoo! Messenger 9.0
ZoneAlarm Free

by FedUpWithSoftpedia-deceiving, disguised ads (not verified) on 8. December 2010 - 0:44  (62194)

Softpedia has the nerve to talk about ad-ware?!? How they category Babylon translator, that gave me a nasty after i took it from them. How many clicks you do trying to get what you want to download?!?

by Anonymous on 30. April 2009 - 16:03  (20846)

This seems clearly in Softpedia's favor. The issue isn't with whether or not Comodo's software classifies under a given person's definition of adware, spyware, or whatever else. It is about listing on Softpedia, using Softpedia's criteria and definitions. And under them, it is very clear that Comodo's software is adware. Nod to Softpedia in this instance for keeping the playing field level.

Softpedia aside, the description of what Comodo's software is bundled with, "upfront" or not, is enough to keep me from their products. And if in fact their installer tries to change browser settings or install any superfluous software (like the Ask Toolbar) without notice or consent, that's automatically malware in my book. Trust is everything, especially with this kind of software. Anyway it's not like there's any shortage of good alternatives...heck until now, I don't think I'd even given that company's name a second thought.

by Anonymous on 16. October 2009 - 7:55  (34772)

in that case anyone who ever bought a computer system has bought adware. is there any computer product with less bloat than the computer itself.
i think that they should consider the spirit of it all.does anyone believe there is any malicious intent on the part comodo

by Anonymous on 30. April 2009 - 10:08  (20823)

" this utility also installs Ask Toolbar "

as far as I'm concerned any Company that engages in this kind of activity is borderline malware.

I'll be using other products rather than have a company engaging in software sophistry rather than being forthright and honest to potential customers

by Anonymous on 30. April 2009 - 12:30  (20828)
by Ashraf on 30. April 2009 - 3:44  (20812)

I am not sure if I would call CIS adware but I found this to be hilarious (it is an "Update" to the Softpedia article):

As a final note regarding the Ask toolbar, feel free to install Comodo with all three checkboxes unselected and then download the Ask toolbar separately. When the download process is over, Comodo will detect the Ask toolbar as Unclassified Malware@8305287 and require confirmation for copying it to your download folder. Any other comments on this matter would be redundant.

Not sure how true it is (don't have CIS nor do I plan on downloading it) but it makes me lol.

by Anonymous on 29. April 2009 - 19:23  (20792)

Avira Free is adware? Uh, no, dude it isn't. Adware is a type of sw that downloads and displays ads within your browser. Avira shows a window when it completes an update. Big difference. In any event, if it bothers you the ad can be disabled. Just google it to learn how.

by Anonymous on 29. April 2009 - 19:44  (20794)

Maybe you care to say that to Softpedia ? it's also their label !

by Anonymous on 29. April 2009 - 18:48  (20790)

I use Comodo firewall because it's one of the best firewalls out there and it's 100% free. So if I need to uncheck something during installation for this firewall to stay free I will do that. Softpedia needs to change their adware definition, because Comodo products are not adware(dangerous). They make great apps and Comodo Time Machine seems like it will blow away all other virtualisation programs.

by Anonymous on 30. April 2009 - 16:06  (20847)

Thanks to Comodo for having one of their reps take the time to surreptitiously give their two cents.

by peter on 30. April 2009 - 16:42  (20848)

And you know this, how?

by Anonymous on 29. April 2009 - 18:27  (20788)

It must be an important source of income for CIS. But I kinda agree with Comodo, there is no comparison with an adware such as the free Avira Antivir (which is a pure nagware). Anyway, search other mirror.

by Anonymous on 16. October 2009 - 7:57  (34773)

nagware that is one of the best av products hands down.and its free...

by chrisgiz on 29. April 2009 - 14:57  (20773)

I agree with Gizmo's fair-handed analysis. Caveat emptor just about sums it.

Rizar also brings up some good points.

However, what deeply troubles me here is the attitude of Comodo's CEO. Melih is anything but a dummy, and yet I was shocked at how OBTUSE his posts were. I am also concerned at what seems to be increased arrogance on the part of the company. Maybe this all trickles down from him?

I've used their Firewall and now CIS for quite a while and until now considered Comodo to be a co that could be TRUSTED. In this world of ours, and more importantly in their business field, it's absolutely CRUCIAL that their customer base have that very basic trust/comfort zone.

I'm sorry to say that recent events have eroded my level of trust in Comodo, due entirely to their actions and attitude. It's not a good thing when a company's customers start thinking "what's next?" It has been the beginning of the end for many out there!

by grimbles on 29. April 2009 - 17:45  (20785)

A definition of adware is a grey area indeed. Does the definition for computer adware differ greatly from that of every day ads (or advertising) we encounter? What is an 'ad'...I look upon it as a 'plug' or 'push' for a product. In that sense what Comodo are doing and indeed what a lot of publishers are doing would be deemed advertising and hence their products adware.
Based on the general conception of what actually constitutes computer adware, it is possibly a tad harsh but in the strict sense of the definition I think Softpedia may be technically correct.
What Rizar says is true also, if that is the criteria to be used then many, many more products fall into the category.
It is a fact that a heck of a lot of users do not check through the installation options and consequently end up with unwanted 'extras' on their machines. I agree that these options should be opt-in by default and not opt-out but would that appease the strict dictates which Softpedia applies?

by Anonymous on 29. April 2009 - 13:22  (20762)

I have never liked the Comodo company. They should say thank you when someone reports a bug. Not Comodo - huge defensiveness every time.