MacKeeper front screen
|Developer(s)||Zeobit, Kromtech Alliance|
|Initial release||May 13, 2010|
MacKeeper 3.10.2 / July 13, 2016
|Operating system||Mac OS X Intel Mac OS X 10.5 or later|
|Available in||English, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, French, Polish, Turkish, and Russian, German, Italian, Finnish, Czech, Japanese, Korean and Chinese|
|License||Proprietary commercial software|
MacKeeper is a utility software suite for Mac OS X that has tools for cleaning, security, and optimization. It is heavily promoted and has been the subject of a class-action lawsuit for false advertising. Some reviewers have said that MacKeeper secures and optimizes a system, while others have said that crash-prone Macs can be cured by removing MacKeeper.
As of 2015[update], three major versions of MacKeeper had been released. The first beta-version of MacKeeper 0.8 was released on 13 May 2010. MacKeeper 1.0 was released on October 26, 2010. MacKeeper 2.0 was released on 30 January 2012 at Macworld – iWorld with an expanded number of utilities related to security, data control, cleaning and optimization. Kromtech Alliance acquired Mackeeper from ZeoBit in April 2013. MacKeeper 3.0 was released in June 2014 as software as a service with a new "human expert" feature and optimization with OS X Yosemite.
MacKeeper was initially developed in 2009 by Zeobit. In April 2013, ZeoBIT sold MacKeeper to Kromtech Alliance Corp. Kromtech was closely affiliated with ZeoBIT in Ukraine and hired many former Kiev-based ZeoBIT employees. As of May 2015 Kromtech lists its headquarters as Cologne, Germany but is registered in the British Virgin Islands.[Note 1] The management team of Kromtech consists of a Chief Executive Officer, Vice President of Technology and Vice President of Business Development. According to their Linkedin profiles each is based in Ukraine.
In December 2015 security researcher Chris Vickery discovered a publicly accessible database of 21GB of MacKeeper user data on the internet, exposing the usernames, passwords and other information of over 13 million MacKeeper users. According to Kromtech this was the result of a "server misconfiguration" and the error was "fixed within hours of the discovery".
The latest version of the product, MacKeeper 3.x, was introduced at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and has enhanced components of the previous suites, including Anti-theft and the new one ‘human assistance’ function which offers interaction with technical expert integrated into the software interface, so customers no longer need to look for support phone numbers or email addresses.
MacKeeper 3.x integrates Avira’s Secure Anti-Virus API (SAVAPI), the official interface for Avira’s anti-malware scanning engine. According to PC World, Avira's Mac Security product is free. It automatically blocks malicious websites while surfing the Internet by using several databases of known URLs. Internet Security tool allows users to manually create lists of potentially dangerous websites to be blocked. An anti-theft feature is included which can help find a lost or stolen computer by taking an iSight photo of the user, generating a report of the device's location, and contacting the owner when the device is detected.
"Data Encryptor" is a filesystem-level encryption tool that can encrypt files or folders with a password. The "Files Recovery" is a data recovery utility that can help the user recover unintentionally deleted files. Backup software is also included, which can copy files to a USB flash drive, External HDD or FTP server. The "Shredder" feature is a data erasure tool that can help permanently delete files. According to PC World, this duplicates the "Secure empty trash" feature built into OSX.
The "Fast Cleanup" feature is a disk cleaner that finds and removes junk files on the hard drive in order to free up space. The "Duplicates Finder" will search the computer and allow the user to remove duplicate files. "Files Finder" is an included tool to help the user search for a particular type of file. The "Disk Usage" feature helps to identify large files and folders. "Smart Uninstaller" removes widgets, applications, preference panes and plugins and their associated preferences, web caches and log files which still remain on the Mac's hard drive even after the item has been moved to the trash.
"Update Tracker" checks each application installed on the Mac user's machine for the newest versions. All apps are marked by color as up-to-date or out-of-date. "Login Items" allows the user to manage start-up applications that launch automatically. "Default Apps" shows the file type associations between all file extensions and applications that open them and allows the user to modify these settings.
Security Research Center
In Jan 2016 MacKeeper partnered with Security Researcher Chris Vickery. MacKeeper Security Watch and blog that identifies data breaches and best practices for data protection. Some of the data leaks exposed by Chris Vickery include 191 million US voter records, 93.4 million Mexican voter records including home addresses and other sensitive data, Child tracking application UKnowKids.
MacKeeper has received mixed reviews. It is known for its aggressive and pervasive advertising, and has been the subject of a class-action lawsuit for the trial version not being fully functional as advertised.
The bundle has received mixed reviews with reviewers being very divided as to the effectiveness of the software. A May 2015 test by PC World found that MacKeeper identified the need for extensive corrections on brand new fully patched machines. Macworld gave MacKeeper 3.5 out of 5 stars in August 2010, based on the 0.9.6 build of the program, and found it a reasonably priced set of tools but experienced lagging while switching between tools. MacLife rated it at 2.5 out of 5 and said it to be useful mainly for freeing up drive space, but found other features offered inconsistent results and believed most users won’t need its antivirus feature. AV-Comparatives found that MacKeeper had an excellent ability to detect Mac-based malware. They noted that it was "very well suited to enthusiasts who have a good understanding of security issues, but not ideal for non-expert users who need pre-configured optimal security for their Macs." OPSWAT awarded the program a Gold Certification for protecting users against antiphishing attempts as well as spyware and malware. In May 2015, MacKeeper disclosed and patched a zero-day exploit which could allow for remote code execution, with no cases of security breach registered. In December 2015, Business Insider and iMore have suggested to avoid the product and not install it.
Criticism of marketing techniques
Multiple reviewers have criticized Zeobit's marketing and promotional techniques. Kromtech buys upwards of 60 million ad impressions a month, making it one of the largest buyers of web traffic aimed at Mac users. Zeobit has been accused of employing misleading advertising with regard to its promotion of MacKeeper, including aggressive affiliate marketing, pop-under ads and planting sockpuppet reviews as well as websites set up to discredit their competitors. Kromtech has also had issues with affiliate advertisers, attracted by the 50 percent commissions Kromtech pays for sales of MacKeeper, who've wrapped MacKeeper ads into adware. ZeoBit claims that negative attacks were also launched against MacKeeper by an unnamed competitor, and that many users and press are confusing MacKeeper with another application.
In January 2014 a class action lawsuit was filed against Zeobit in Illinois. The lawsuit alleged that "neither the free trial nor the full registered versions of MacKeeper performed any credible diagnostic testing" and reported that a consumer's Mac was in need of repair and was at-risk due to harmful error. In May 2014 a lawsuit was filed against Zeobit in Pennsylvania, alleging that MacKeeper fakes security problems to deceive victims into paying for unneeded fixes. As of May 2015, the case in Pennsylvania is close to being settled. Under the settlement terms, ZeoBIT would put $2 million into a fund for those who want a refund, but admit no fault. On 10 August 2015, Zeobit settled a class action lawsuit against it for $2 million. Customers who bought MacKeeper before 8 July 2015, can apply to get a refund.
Kromtech also filed at least two unsuccessful lawsuits against those it perceives are defaming them. In July 2013 Kromtech filed a lawsuit against Macpaw, the developers of CleanMyMac. Kromtech alleged that Macpaw employees created several usernames and posts on several websites defaming the Mackeeper software. The case was dismissed before the hearing. In July 2014, Kromtech filed a lawsuit against David A. Cox alleging that he defamed Kromtech by calling MacKeeper a fraudulent application in a YouTube video. The judge dismissed the case for lack of personal jurisdiction. In July 2016, Kromtech sent a cease and desist letter to Luqman Wadood, a 14-year old technology reviewer for harassment and slandering the MacKeeper brand in a number of YouTube videos. Luqman claimed the videos were diplomatic.
- Kromtech sign code with a certificate issued by Verisign to the same company in the British Virgin Islands."Kromtech code signing certificate issued by Verisign". Retrieved 19 October 2015.
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- What 'MacKeeper' is and why you should avoid it
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