Security Spyware Technology

[UPDATEDx2] Free KFC Coupon […with a side of Spyware]


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 with a pdf file. However, I think someone defaced the site and put that link on there because they were sending people to

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:

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 that generates a hash based on your system configuration, and sends the coupon directly to your default printer, without any user intervention.

I read through the privacy policy, and it mentioned nothing about installing other programs, so I figured it would be safe. However, it doesn’t need to install other programs to do its thing.

Here’s what Spybot Search & Destroy says about it:

Spybot S&D on CouponBar
Spybot S&D on CouponBar

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 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's Detected Registry Entries for CouponBar
Spybot S&D's Detected Registry Entries for CouponBar

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 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. šŸ˜‰ 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.

By [[Neo]]

I am a web programmer, system integrator, and photographer. I have been writing code since high school, when I had only a TI-83 calculator. I enjoy getting different systems to talk to each other, coming up with ways to mimic human processes using technology, and explaining how complicated things work.

Of my many blogs, this one is purely about the technology projects, ideas, and solutions that I have come across in my internet travels. It's also the place for technical updates related to my other sites that are part of The-Spot.Network.

10 replies on “[UPDATEDx2] Free KFC Coupon […with a side of Spyware]”

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.

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 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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.