Sure you too are ignoring your software security! That is, unless you are one of the 0.1 percent of users who do read the End User License Agreement (EULA, also known as software license). Else, well, then you sign contracts blindfolded because that box full of legal mumbo-jumbo when you install a program… yes, it is a contract!
Either way, people do not read the EULA. When downloading and installing software, we are usually curious about what the new software will bring. That EULA is just one more thing to drop time on because it is usually not readable in a short amount of time, hence not read at all. But indeed, the next thought that then arises is: what have you agreed to when you clicked I agree?
Especially with freeware, there can be an even greater problem. Freeware is not always free. Sure, it is not free to reverse engineer, modify, or redistribute freeware, but there is also the kind of freeware that is disguised as adware or even as spyware.
Remember from about 5 years ago when Gator created a storm of protest. Its GAIN Publishing End User License Agreement stated the user was automatically agreeing with also installing the GAIN AdServer software when accepting the EULA. So, the software license gave the company permission to install software that shareit for laptop collected certain identifiable information about web surfing and computer usage. This software came immediately along with the freeware and was installed in the same process. At the end, this resulted in a display of all types of ads on the user’s computer.
Next the EULA mentioned that Gator even unauthorized the use of popular uninstallers for their own tools on which countless people trusted to remove this unwanted stuff from their machines. But also, users were prohibited from using devices like web monitoring programs or similar on the GAIN AdServer and its messages, thus eliminating all possible control. Obviously, such clauses are no longer related to software protection against cracking and were more than a bridge too far for many users.
So, if all is specified in the product’s software license, then it is also what can help decide about what you want to have installed, or not! Indeed, especially the software balancing at the edge of legal boundaries will try to straighten out what is not completely right. And you guessed it correctly: that is most frequently revealed in the EULA.
In lawyer terms, an End User License Agreement is a legal contract between a software application author and the software user. It is a license that grants the user the right to use a computer software in a specific and well determined way. Usually, a EULA specifies the number of computers a user can use the software on, that reverse engineering or cracking or any other form of illegal piracy is prohibited, and any legal rights they are forfeiting by agreeing to the EULA. The user is usually asked to check a button to accept the terms of the EULA, or is supposed consenting it by opening the shrink wrap on the application package, or even just by simply using the application. The user can refuse to enter into the agreement by returning the software product for a refund or by clicking I do not accept when prompted to accept the EULA during an install in which case the software installation is usually ended. By the way, for websites, the TOS (terms of service) is the legal counterpart from the End User License Agreement for software.
So far, all may seem quite normal, however, the software license is infamous for containing stealthy clauses maintaining preposterous restrictions on the behaviour of software users whilst providing the software developer or vendor with highly intruding powers. For example, Microsoft software licenses give the company the right to gather information about the user’s system and its use and to provide this information to other organizations. They also grant Microsoft the right to make changes to the user’s computer without requesting permission. Now, don’t be mistaken by thinking this is a Microsoft-only affair, software licenses frequently have a clause that allows vendors to make changes to users’ systems without asking or notifying the user.