McAfee defended its decision to leave the Security Scan install box checked by default. "McAfee believes it's better to be protected than unprotected, therefore we are offering this as a default," a McAfee spokeswoman said via e-mail. "A surprising number of people have computers with out-of-date security or no security at all."
The group that polices software vendors -- StopBadware.org -- says that while McAfee and Oracle could do a better job of notifying users about the installation, the scanner is definitely not badware.
"It sounds like it's annoying; it doesn't sound evil," said StopBadware's executive director, Maxim Weinstein. "Even though something like this may not be hidden in a nefarious way, it would be nice from a user standpoint to give them something a little clearer."
(Gregg Keizer of Computerworld contributed to this story.)