Premier Opinion, Spyware, Trojan or legitimate software?

With the much-heralded discovery of the latest Mac computer threat, OSX/opinionspy, on a variety of Mac software download sites, the question arises as to whether it is actually Spyware, a Trojan or legitimate software.

Clearly the makers of the 7art screensavers believe it is legitimate software, designed to allow you to download their screensavers freely, based on the understanding that you are participating in a market survey by providing details of your computer usage and online habits.

The integral component of the Premier Opinion software does ask you to accept (and presumably read) their conditions before continuing with the installation - there’s no opt-out choice just for this component.

Admittedly, the software does not attempt to obfuscate itself so it should be quite easy to spot if you have installed it, there is a menu bar icon at the top of your screen and most of the software is located in the Applications folder - there’s also a launchd file in LaunchDaemons.

Arguably, this ‘threat’ could be classified as a Trojan rather than spyware i.e. you thought you were downloading just a screensaver but got more than you bargained for because it’s installed all these other components:

Once you install the screensaver there is a root process called PremierOpinion that does appear to be reasonably active; what exactly it is collecting from your computer and how that information is used will determine how nefarious this application is.

Uninstalling the screensaver does NOT remove the Premier Opinion software, for that you will need to run the Premier Opinion Uninstaller located in the /Application/Premier Opinion folder by default.

So the moral of this story is read the license agreement in installers and be fully aware of what you are signing up to. If in doubt, only download and install software that you actually need from websites that you absolutely trust - are your private details and computer usage profile worth the risk!