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CCleaner update removed following outcry over privacy concerns

More problems for the popular system-cleaning tool
By Rob Thubron,
What just happened? Ever since security giant Avast acquired Piriform, the makers of CCleaner, in July last year, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for the system-cleaning tool. Now, the company has been forced to pull the latest update following an outcry over its privacy issues.

It was discovered that in the newest version of CCleaner 5.45, the privacy settings had been removed from the free version. Even worse, the active monitoring feature, which can be disabled by users, turned itself back on whenever the program was shut down or the computer rebooted.

Avast said in a changelog that it "added more detailed reporting for bug fixes and product improvements." The company added that its heartbeat feature, which sends usage statistics to Avast every 12 hours, contained “non-personal, absolutely non-identifiable usage information for the purpose of improving CCleaner.”

Additionally, it was found that clicking the X icon in the corner of CCleaner minimized the software rather than closing it, keeping it running in the background—something people have compared to spyware tactics.

Piriform has now reverted to version 5.44 of CCleaner as the latest update, which you can download here. The company said it is working on changes in version 5.45 to address users’ concerns, but these will take weeks rather than days to implement.

Back in September, it was reported that up to 2.27 million CCleaner users were put at risk from a backdoor found in the program. Avast later revealed how the attackers compromised the software.

Since the acquisition by Avast, once loyal users have complained of bundled software and popup ads appearing in CCleaner, and this is yet another piece of bad publicity for the popular tool.
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