MacUpdate, we have a problem: MacUpdate Installer and the PUA.OSX.InstallCore

MacUpdate, a very helpful resource that’s led users to discover our applications and kept them up-to-date for the last 13 years, has a plan to make the entire update process easier for users.  When you download from MacUpdate now, you may receive a MacUpdate Installer disk image, which includes a single application, MacUpdate Installer, that you double-click to install the desired update.  Here’s what you’ll see:

Audiobook Builder MacUpdate Installer

This all might be easier for some (really?), but it comes with one very concerning caveat:

Malware scanners, like ClamXav and Avast, can report MacUpdate Installer is infected with something named similarly to PUA.OSX.InstallCore.

At first glance, this could send a shiver down your spine.  After all, news outlets have been telling you for 30 years on that infection means your data is at risk, your identity could be stolen, and your bank accounts are about to be drained.  This time around, none of that is true.

PUA means Potentially Unwanted Application, and that’s the case with MacUpdate Installer.  It comes with potentially unwanted software that advertises other products you might be interested in, like much of the rest of today’s free digital experience.  It’s not enough anymore that you trade seconds of your life viewing ads on MacUpdate itself, you’re craving an extra dose of selling your self while drumming your fingers waiting for that update to install.  Right?  Yeah, didn’t think so.

And, while PUA.OSX.InstallCore means something to us, to the average person it still looks an awful lot like their Mac is about to get jacked.  So, last week, when one of our users reached out to us for some kind of explanation and immediate resolution, thank you very much, we reached out to MacUpdate, in turn.  Here’s how that went down:

 

Hi Keith,
Thank you for providing me with that. I am still not showing on the listing that the installer is present. Either way, the installer is not an “infection” it is used to help users get the app installed instead of it sitting in their downloads folder.
There is nothing harmful about the installer and it is something that we use and create ourselves.
Please let me know if you have any other questions.
Cheers,
Joel
Content Editor/Support
MacUpdate
Click this link to view frequently asked questions: http://deals.macupdate.com/faq

On Fri, 1 Apr at 10:26 AM , Keith Gugliotto <keithg@splasm.com> wrote:

Hi Joel!  Thanks for getting back to us.

We downloaded ClamXav and only used it to scan the MacUpdate Installer.app on the MacUpdate Installer disk image.  The issue only occurs with the MacUpdate Installer version of the download.  Here’s a screenshot showing the infection:

I’ve also come across reports that this has happened with other developers’ applications delivered via MacUpdate Installer.
Keith Gugliotto
Primordial Sea Captain
On Apr 1, 2016, at 8:48 AM, Joel L – MacUpdate <support@macupdate.com> wrote:
Hi Keith,
Thanks for reaching out to us. Are you referring to this listing:http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/23162/audiobook-builder?
If so, when downloading it I as unable to replicate the issue that you mentioned in the email. Do you have any screenshots of this issue?
Please let me know if you have any other questions.
Cheers,
Joel
Content Editor/Support
MacUpdate
Click this link to view frequently asked questions: http://deals.macupdate.com/faq

 

On Tue, 29 Mar at 11:20 AM , Keith Gugliotto <keithg@splasm.com> wrote:

Topic: Developer Question

Hi there!

We updated our application, Audiobook Builder, yesterday and had a user report ClamXAV says the disk image they downloaded is infected. We tested a download from your site this morning and found the same issue – MacUpdate Installer.app is infected with PUA.OSX.InstallCore. It looks like users of other applications have recently found the same, and that it may be related to how MacUpdate now wraps developer updates with the MacUpdate Installer and presents ads. Is this something you can address?

Thanks for your help!

Keith Gugliotto
Primordial Sea Captain
Splasm Software


Member Information:
Name: Keith Gugliotto
Username: 
Email: keithg@splasm.com

System Information: 
Browser: Safari 9.1
OS: OS X 10.11
MacUpdate Desktop Version #: 

This e-mail was sent from the contact form on MacUpdate Support

 

So, the official word from MacUpdate is MacUpdate Installer is intended to be helpful.  We can’t argue with good intentions.  Simply opening a disk image and copying the included application to the Applications folder may be harder than using MacUpdate Installer and sitting through an advertisement.  With the range of experience levels out there, who knows?  What matters right now, though, is if you read between the lines, MacUpdate isn’t planning to do anything about how some folks out there may experience that dreadful shiver I mentioned earlier when they perceive PUA.OSX.InstallCore is a bona fide threat to their data, identity, and finances.  Causing users any kind distress is not cool with us.

I’m gonna throw http://www.macintouch.com/readerreports/security/topic4743-013.html into the mix.  Search for “MacUpdate” on that page and you’ll find it occurs 82 times, with some pretty clear indications this isn’t just our imagination – others aren’t really taking to MacUpdate Installer, either.  Alarm, disgust, distrust.  All reactions you want associated with your brand, right?

Joel is right about one thing, though.  We can’t get the Audiobook Builder update from MacUpdate to come down as the MacUpdate Installer disk image we saw last Tuesday.  Was it a fluke?  Seems doubtful.    But, as long as our users are getting the original disk image from us when they click the Download button at MacUpdate, we’ll continue to release our updates there.  If that changes, or if it becomes clear they’re spot testing, delivering the original disk image in some cases and the MacUpdate Installer disk image in others, we’ll likely have to break up with MacUpdate.

Here’s hoping MacUpdate updates MacUpdate Installer so that it doesn’t trip alarms in common malware scanners, or they get in touch with those malware scanner developers to see if they can prevent MacUpdate Installer from being called out as truly infected.  Either way works for us.  As long as they save users from the anxiety of imagining their digital life might go up in smoke, we’re cool.

Posted in Audiobook Builder, General, Opinion | Leave a comment

CheckBook and CheckBook Pro 2.5.10

[Update:  This page was originally about version 2.5.9, but we found a tiny glitch and released 2.5.10 thereafter.  It’ll probably be a few days until 2.5.10 is approved for the Mac App Store, though, so if you need the fix you can use the version for Splasm Store users in the meantime and your data will show up just fine.  We’ve listed the details for both 2.5.9 and 2.5.10 because you’ll probably be coming from 2.5.8.  Enjoy!]

This update brings some welcome fixes and adjustments, but we’ve thrown in a little something extra.  Tax time is upon us and we’re happy to announce we’ve answered a feature request for Category detail reporting.  It’s really easy to turn on:  as you create or change an Account Summary, look for the new “Group By” option in the Style section.


What’s new?

CheckBook 2.5.10

Fixes in 2.5.10

  • Prevents a potential mixup when changing the details of a previously entered transfer

New Features in 2.5.9

  • You can now group Entry details by Category in your Account Summaries, allowing more traditional Category detail reporting
  • Export to Text can now create CSV in addition to tab-delimited text
  • New preferences for grid color and alternating row colors

Fixes in 2.5.9

  • Corrects an issue that could prevent documents from updating their modified date in the Finder
  • Prevents a potential crash after visiting Page Setup…
  • Resolves a potential crash when updating from significantly older versions of CheckBook
  • Several minor user interface enhancements and adjustments


CheckBook Pro 2.5.10

Fixes in 2.5.10

  • Prevents a potential mixup when changing the details of a previously entered transfer

New Features in 2.5.9

  • You can now group Entry details by Category in your Account Summaries, allowing more traditional Category detail reporting
  • Export to Text can now create CSV in addition to tab-delimited text
  • New preferences for grid color and alternating row colors

Fixes in 2.5.9

  • Corrects an issue that could prevent documents from updating their modified date in the Finder
  • You can now click disabled Multiple Change settings to enable them in a single action, instead of clicking their checkbox first
  • Prevents a potential crash after visiting Page Setup…
  • Resolves a potential crash when updating from significantly older versions of CheckBook
  • Several minor user interface enhancements and adjustments


Get the update

If you purchased from the Mac App Store, you’ll get version 2.5.9 until 2.5.10 is approved, which will probably be this weekend.  If you need 2.5.10 in the meantime, you can use the version for Splasm Store users and your data will appear just fine.

Open the Mac App Store app, click the Purchased button at the top of the window, then click the Update or Install button next to your purchase. Be sure you’re signed in with the same Apple ID you used for your original purchase.

If you purchased from the Splasm Store

CheckBook 2.5.10:  http://splasm.com/checkbook/update.html

CheckBook Pro 2.5.10:  http://splasm.com/checkbookpro/update.html


After You Install

The first time you launch the application, you may be asked to update or upgrade your document. Agree to the update and your document will be ready to work with the update.

If you see a message about a damaged document, please visit http://www.splasmata.com/?p=2855 for details.

If you open the application and your data doesn’t immediately appear, try going to the File menu, down to the Open Recent submenu, and clicking each document there until your data appears. If this doesn’t cure all, don’t panic just yet. There are several ways data can appear missing when it’s either hidden or in another document. We can help with that, so get in touch at support@splasm.com!

Posted in CheckBook, General | Leave a comment

Mac App Store users can’t open our applications

First, your data is safe.

Second, you won’t have to purchase another copy of the application.  If you get to a point where it looks like you’ll need to purchase again, please get in touch with us at support@splasm.com.

Beginning February 14th, many of our users who purchased from the Mac App Store have experienced an issue where the application crashes while opening.  What we know, so far, is this is another certificate issue on Apple’s end, preventing applications from properly validating a Mac App Store receipt.  Again, your data is safe.  The issue is with the application, but your data lives in a separate document and will come right up when the application begins working properly.

The official word from Apple is that, in general, restarting the Mac in question should resolve the issue.  In addition, for OS X El Capitan users, Apple says updating to OS X 10.11.2 or later is required, and OS X Snow Leopard users should be sure the Mac App Store Update for OS X Snow Leopard is installed.  While the situation we have here is technically similar to what happened last November, it’s not quite the same and, being on Apple’s end, not something we could’ve prepared for.  The good news is Apple has renewed the certificates involved in validating Mac App Store receipts through at least 2023, so we won’t see circumstances like this for some time, if ever.  Thank you for your patience and understanding!

We’ve learned a restart does not always resolve the issue – reinstalling the application itself does.  Even if you’ve already reinstalled, please follow each step below to be sure the reinstallation is performed correctly.

DO NOT USE A THIRD-PARTY TOOL, LIKE CLEANMYMAC, TO REMOVE AN APPLICATION BEFORE REINSTALLING.

Repeat: DO NOT USE A THIRD-PARTY TOOL, LIKE CLEANMYMAC, TO REMOVE AN APPLICATION BEFORE REINSTALLING.

To reinstall one of our applications:

  1. Click the Finder icon on your Dock, the row of icons that’s usually at the bottom of your screen.
  2. Go to the Go menu at the very top of your screen, above all open windows, and click the Applications menu item.
  3. Drag the application icon (not the entire Applications folder – just the application you need to reinstall) to the Trash.  This is the only item you need to drag to the Trash or delete from your Mac.
  4. If the application icon just snapped back to where it was before you dragged it to the Trash, you may be in Launch Pad instead of the Applications folder.  Please go back to step 1.
  5. Restart your Mac.
  6. Go to the Mac App Store, click the Purchased button at the top of the window, and click the Install button next to the application.  Be sure you’re signed in with the same Apple ID used to purchase the application by going to the Store menu at the top of the screen, above all open windows.  If you don’t see your purchase, it may be hidden.  Visit https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202320 to learn how to access hidden purchases.

Reinstalling from the Mac App Store should completely resolve the issue, so if it doesn’t, please go back to step 1 and try to reinstall once more.

Using a version from our website should work around the issue but it’s a last resort, particularly for CheckBook and CheckBook Pro users.  Installing the opposite version of CheckBook from what you’ve been using will result in the appearance that all data has been lost but it’s just that the two apps don’t know where the other stores its data and when you get the proper version installed everything will appear as before.  If you need to go this route to get back in business, please do so, just be very certain that if you use CheckBook or CheckBook Pro you download and install the same:

Posted in Audiobook Builder, CheckBook, Development, General, Return Labels | Tagged | Leave a comment

CheckBook and CheckBook Pro 2.5.8

With the recent Mac App Store technical “event” mostly in our rearview, CheckBook and CheckBook Pro 2.5.8 are now ready for folks who purchased directly from the Splasm Store.

Unfortunately, we recently found that the third-party software inside our applications that notifies folks about updates can crash on OS X El Capitan.  We’re not comfortable with that, so we’ve decided to not let previous versions “see” new updates going forward.  Instead, we rolled our own update check code (actually, we went back and enhanced our own, significantly simpler code from years ago) in 2.5.8 so this won’t happen again.  Once you download and install 2.5.8 or later, you’ll be able to check for updates from within the application, as (almost) always.


What’s new?

CheckBook 2.5.8

Fixes

  • Prevents a crash that can occur after importing a statement or dismissing a dialog window
  • Eradicates a misleading error that would indicate the current document is inaccessible
  • Moves a key temporary file to a private location, preventing an error that could occur if the application is left open but unused for more than a few days
  • Makes several adjustments for user interface and system font changes in OS X El Capitan
  • Better supports documents shared with others on a network volume
  • Uses an improved method of finding documents from significantly older versions
  • Provides enhanced error tracking and reporting
  • Improves performance when opening and closing documents
  • Corrects a rare glitch that could result in duplicate dates appearing for the same Schedule
  • Prevents a crash that can occur when checking for updates


CheckBook Pro 2.5.8

Fixes

  • Prevents a crash that can occur after importing a statement or dismissing a dialog window
  • Eradicates a misleading error that would indicate the current document is inaccessible
  • Moves a key temporary file to a private location, preventing an error that could occur if the application is left open but unused for more than a few days
  • Makes several adjustments for user interface and system font changes in OS X El Capitan
  • Better supports documents shared with others on a network volume
  • Uses an improved method of finding documents from significantly older versions
  • Provides enhanced error tracking and reporting
  • Improves performance when opening and closing documents
  • Corrects a rare glitch that could result in duplicate dates appearing for the same Schedule
  • Prevents a crash that can occur when checking for updates


Get the update

If you purchased from the Mac App Store

Open the Mac App Store app, click the Purchased button at the top of the window, then click the Update or Install button next to your purchase. Be sure you’re signed in with the same Apple ID you used for your original purchase.

If you purchased from the Splasm Store

CheckBook 2.5.8:  http://splasm.com/checkbook/update.html

CheckBook Pro 2.5.8:  http://splasm.com/checkbookpro/update.html


After You Install

The first time you launch the application, you may be asked to update or upgrade your document. Agree to the update and your document will be ready to work with 2.5.8.

If you see a message about a damaged document, please visit http://www.splasmata.com/?p=2855 for details.

If you open the application and your data doesn’t immediately appear, try going to the File menu, down to the Open Recent submenu, and clicking each document there until your data appears. If this doesn’t cure all, don’t panic. There are several ways data can appear missing when it’s either hidden or in another document. We can help with that, so get in touch at support@splasm.com!

Posted in CheckBook, Development, General | Leave a comment

CheckBook Pro 2.5.8 for those who can’t open it

The final versions of both CheckBook and CheckBook Pro 2.5.8 are now available.  Visit the Mac App Store, click the Updates button at the top of the window, and install the update there to get back up and running.  Thank you again for toughing out the Mac App Store debacle of last week with us.  We are ever grateful!

Posted in CheckBook | Tagged | Leave a comment

When the Mac App Store Attacks

[CheckBook and CheckBook Pro 2.5.8 are now live on the Mac App Store and both open like a charm.  Grab the update there as soon as you get a chance.  Audiobook Builder has been submitted and is now waiting for review but if you reinstall from the Mac App Store, Apple has changed things around so it’ll work without waiting for the update (unless you are using OS X El Capitan, in which case you need the version we link to below).  Final releases will be available on our website soon after the Mac App Store versions are approved.  We’re almost done reaching out to everyone personally and we deeply appreciate your patience!]


If you’ve had trouble launching our apps since yesterday, you’re not alone.

What we know, so far, is the receipts embedded in most, if not all, Mac App Store apps became invalid yesterday.  This happened without any advance warning from the mothership.  How apps reacted to this varied.  Our apps are among those affected, and in the worst way.  We’re working with Apple to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

At present, Apple has made changes at the Mac App Store that will allow you to redownload any of our apps and get back up and running unless you are using a version of Audiobook Builder from our website.  In that case, you’ll still need a serial number to help you get back up and running until the new version of Audiobook Builder is approved at the Mac App Store, which shouldn’t be too much longer.  Please send a copy of your Mac App Store receipt to support@splasm.com and we’ll send a serial number for Audiobook Builder.

In the meantime, we’re giving away our apps at our online store.  If you need to download our apps from our website, click here first to go through the order process for a single-user license.  You won’t be asked for billing information.  At the end of the order you’ll receive a serial number so you can get back to it.  If you’ve already purchased a license to try to fix things, please let us know and we’ll return your purchase as the dust settles.

CheckBook and CheckBook Pro users:  click here for the very latest version, 2.5.8 Beta 5, which will do a better job of locating your data if you’re updating from a significantly older version.  It includes numerous fixes for version 2.5.7 and is ready for everyday use.  Your data is safe and sound and will automatically appear (provided you get a copy of the same application you already have – CheckBook for CheckBook folk, CheckBook Pro for CheckBook Pro folk).

Audiobook Builder users:  click here for the very latest version, 1.5.4 Final Candidate 3.

If you need any additional details or help getting things back to normal, let us know at support@splasm.com and we’ll get to you soon.

Thanks everyone for your understanding and patience.  We’re simultaneously fielding hundreds of emails per hour, phone calls, and working to fix this at the source.  Hang in there!

Posted in Audiobook Builder, CheckBook, Development, General | Leave a comment