Apparently they switched it back to the spyware method. I thought they learned their lesson. I guess not.
It looked like they replaced the download link that went to coupons.com with a pdf file. However, I think someone defaced the site and put that link on there because they were sending people to coupons.com.
Each coupon has a unique identifier though, and it’s the number under the Expiration Date and the Black/White squared barcode. You can’t pass around the same coupon to all your friends because those numbers are unique. That was my concern with the earlier update that they just linked to one PDF – it had the same barcode.
You no longer have to download the software with spyware in it. KFC apparently realized the backlash, and made it so you can simply download the coupon: http://www.unthinkfc.com/.
If you happened to download the software, please keep reading to find out how to remove it properly.
Yesterday, Oprah announced on her show that she was going to give everyone in America a Coupon for Free KFC Grilled Chicken. And all became well in the world…
Until a friend told me how his spyware detection program found some issues with the software they had you install.
See, to get the coupon, you have to install a program from Coupons.com that generates a hash based on your system configuration, and sends the coupon directly to your default printer, without any user intervention.
Here’s what Spybot Search & Destroy says about it:
Functionality: Install a tool which provides “Over $100 in printable coupons right from your browser. Keep informed of the latest offers. Contains no adware or spyware. Coupons from companies like General Mills, Kimberly Clark, Nestle, and Johnson & Johnson.”
Description: The downloaded file installs a toolbar and a Browser helper object (BHO). The BHO connects to coupons.com at every Internet Explorer startup in order to download latest updates. The toolbar displays bonus vouchers which can be printed or used online. When uninstalled, nearly all the files and registry entries remain on the system.
Privacy Statement: […]Coupons, Inc. uses the information that we collect to operate, maintain, and provide to you all of the coupons and promotional offerings found on the Sites and for other non-marketing or administrative purposes such as notifying you of major service updates or for customer service purposes.
Coupons, Inc. uses all of the information that we collect from our Consumers to understand the usage trends and preferences, to improve the way the Sites work and look, to improve our marketing and promotional efforts, and to create new features and functionality.
Coupons, Inc. uses “automatically collected” data to (a) process and record coupon printing and redemption activity; (b) store information so that you will not have to re-enter it during your visit or the next time you use the Sites; (c) provide custom, personalized coupon promotions, advertisements, content, and information; (d) monitor the effectiveness of marketing campaigns; and (e) monitor aggregate usage metrics such as total number of visitors and pages viewed. […]
Coupons, Inc. discloses “automatically collected” data (such as coupon print and redeem activity) to its Clients and third-party ad servers and advertisers. These third parties may match this data with information that they have previously collected about you under their own privacy policies, which you should consult on a regular basis.
Spybot S&D found 7 registry entries. They’re in the picture at left so that you can manually remove them, since according to their analysis, “when uninstalled, nearly all the files and registry entries remain on the system.”
If you want to remove the threats, go download Spybot Search & Destroy from www.safer-networking.org. Do the updates, and then a “Search & Destroy”…check all the boxes it finds, and tell it to “Fix Selected Problems.” Once you’ve done that, go uninstall the software from your Control Panel in Windows. You may need to go to C:\Program Files\ and delete the folder “Coupons” and all its contents.
Free food is great and all, but not at the expense of the regular user unknowingly signing up for adware. If you told any of the mom’s who went to get their free coupon that installing the software required by KFC would put a program on your computer to track what you do on the web, most probably wouldn’t do it.
Plus, it says you have to cover any applicable tax on the food – they slip that in to the fine print on the actual coupon itself. 😉 However, the person before me in line did not have to pay extra tax. I bought something in addition to my free meal, so I don’t know if I was charged.
10 replies on “[UPDATEDx2] Free KFC Coupon […with a side of Spyware]”
actualy, its just a PDF file now, no spyware…
You are right – they changed it. The former process required you to download some software, this is much better now.
Thanks for that.
now it seems its back to the download way again… WTF are they doing…
You know, I just don’t think its worth it anymore. I was curious, and almost got excited for it, then blah, spyware, pdf, whatever else is out there, I just don’t think its worth the hassle anymore.
they appear to be getting hit by a DDOS attack now…
Is chicken really worth it? You will spend more time getting the app off your computer than 2 chunks of chicken are worth. Well that’s my 2 cents.
Well, the only people that say it’s not worth it are those that know what the consequences are – everyone else says “hey, it’s a free $4 meal.”
Thanks for looking into this. I had a feeling it was spyware since there’s absolutely no reason I can think of for needing to INSTALL software just to print a stupid coupon. That should set off all sorts of alarm bells, but in the end Coupons.com just got a gigantic boost for whatever spyware/adware they feel like shoving on computers. This promotion made huge waves on the net this week and I have a feeling there’s a whole load of infected computers now.
Yeah there are…and that’s sad, because not only did KFC just get tons of advertisement (Free or otherwise) from Oprah, now they have internet usage statistics from everyone who installed the software to get their coupon.
I was thinking to myself, “Borders has no problem printing barcodes without installing anything, but whatever” and then Avira told me there were spyware signatures in the software. Good game.