Is CCleaner Safe Now in 2021?
Before downloading any software, a user should always do their due diligence on what they are getting themselves into. Even if it seems like a relatively simple, effective software that has plenty of positive reviews, there are reasons to research before downloading. Maybe a change has happened in recent memory that makes the software a little less effective. There is also a chance that some of the reviews could be a little misleading.
For CCleaner, a piece of software that is meant to enhance computer performance, there are reasons to have some doubt. In fact, some are wondering if CCleaner is safe to use in 2021. As a direct competitor to System Mechanic, many people are doing comparisons between the two before spending their money.
The goal with this article is to provide valuable safety information and a look at the overall effectiveness of the computer utility. Instead of getting into reviews, it is more about facts and not causing more harm than good.
Picking a trusted name
In any industry, there are trusted names that have a great reputation. Many consider CCleaner to be one of those in this industry based on name alone. There has been some controversy around them that has compromised their reputation, and slowly but surely, they are bouncing back from that.
Avast and CCleaner have been around for a long time, and there is too much on the line to be a complete fraud. After being exposed a few times with different incidents, there is now a major focus on restoring the name and gaining that confidence back with customers.
Just how effective is CCleaner anyway?
Once a person is in the market for a PC cleaning utility like CCleaner, they are hoping for a very effective option overall. It is the reason why iolo is constantly tweaking what is available with System Mechanic. For CCleaner, they do not release as many updates, and that sometimes leaves them falling behind the competition. Without providing updates as new vulnerabilities pop up, it can leave people unprotected without ever realizing it.
Independent studies have shown that CCleaner does not improve in performance as much as some would like. In particular, it does not make as big of an improvement in boosting performance when running Single-Core, Multi-Core, and Compute Score tests. Geekbench is just one third-party website that allows people to run these tests for free, and CCleaner does not even outperform the standard on Windows 10.
CCleaner is pretty effective in boosting in other ways, which is nice for people who do end up investing. It can reduce the time it takes to boot up the computer, and there is also time saved by being able to do everything from one location instead of jumping around on the computer.
Fighting against all types of attacks
When people are looking for utilities like CCleaner, they want something that is going to fight against all the different types of attacks. No one wants to buy multiple software options and load up the computer with a bunch of different stuff. This makes no sense, especially when there are options out there that cover everything.
CCleaner does a pretty good job of overall security and privacy, but there is one part that they are lacking. They do not have the same type of anti-spam software help that is offered with System Mechanic, as well as a few other competitors as well. This is a bit of an oversight from the company, as spam is something that nearly every person deals with on their computer.
Addressing the previous hacking incident
Inevitably, the hacking situation involving Avast and CCleaner a few years ago resurfaces every time someone does research. This was a big moment for the company, and it put them under extreme scrutiny in the short term. A simple search online will show more details, but it crushed their reputation instantly. In response, a lot of other companies stepped up their security to fight off against potential intruders.
At iolo, the understanding is that no one will be 100% protected against any hackers accessing the system. Sometimes, it just comes down to terrible luck. Some of the biggest companies in the world have been hacked. The most that any company can do is provide as many solutions as possible to cut down on the chances of being hacked. Not only that, but having a staff that is ready to handle a hacking situation quickly can put out any fires without them spreading too much.
Are companies able to spy on customers through CCleaner?
Last year, Avast came under heat for another privacy issue. Instead of being hacked, this time, Avast was a willing partner. It turns out that they were taking the browser history of users and selling to third parties. Even though the original plan was to have all that data impossible to identify, that was not the case. Without making it anonymous, those who have the data can pick things apart and really nail down a ton of information on all Avast users.
The claim that the information could be de-identified in the first place is a little bit of a stretch. Some believe that it is impossible to fully de-identify things, as there are just so many ways to access this information later on. Is Avast willingly leading people down a path with false promises? There is a chance that the company was a bit naïve with the de-identification process, but did not do enough due diligence for customers. This makes it a bit of a letdown. After all they have been through with other privacy and security issues, not taking the extra steps here is frustrating as well.
In response to the news, Avast stopped operating with Jumpshot, the company accessing this personalized information from users. Are there chances of something like this happening again? Certainly, and it is another reason to be hesitant about having an Avast product like CCleaner on a computer. In an instant, harvesting information for something else is possible.
Is CCleaner as effective as it used to be?
The need for PC utilities overall has waned to a certain degree. While one can still get some use out of them in general, they require evolving for customers to see value in what they offer. This is because Windows and other operating systems are packaging a lot of features on the computer itself. In particular, Windows 10 does a lot of what previous versions of CCleaner was known for providing. What used to be left up to third parties is now handled by Microsoft directly.
What puts other options like System Mechanic from iolo above others is that they have learned how to evolve over the years. What they offer now is a suite of tools that help and so many different ways. Even if a user does not end up using every single tool included in a purchase, they have that opportunity to get the fixes they need without having to download other options.
A lot of utilities are transitioning in this way. Computers are more educated, and that means that no two problems are exactly alike. The more a suite of software options provide, the better chance of finding an actual solution.
What CCleaner gets right in 2021
It is not all negative for CCleaner as far as safety is concerned in 2021. There are some features that they have added throughout the years that have increased privacy protection and security. Unfortunately, it is just not as much as some of the competition, but they need to be commended for what they have done.
Having AdBlock is a great way to stop advertisements from loading on different pages. This speeds up a computer significantly. There is nothing worse than dealing with ad after ad on a website, but CCleaner launches Adblock by default as soon as a user downloads the utility.
This is not so much of a performance enhancement as it is a convenience. Downloading Adblock by itself is an option as well, but it is nice to have it included with CCleaner.
There are countless malicious websites out there that try to pull off phishing attempts and other dirty methods to track a user’s online activity. From anti-tracking to anti-phishing, it is nice to have this all built into one suite. CCleaner does a great job of removing a lot of tracking scripts hidden on pages, and information normally looked for is impossible to access.
Compared to other options out there, the anti-tracking and anti-phishing features are both pretty good from CCleaner. They have certainly put in the time to refine what it brings to the table, and a lot of people are happy with their security in this regard.
Stealth mode access
When stealth mode is activated, it is a privacy layer that allows people to feel a bit more secure. It can eliminate browsing history from being stored locally. It also takes care of any cookies that might be used for tracking, or web caches that are doing more harm than good.
A person does not have to always operate in Stealth mode, but some people get in the habit and go that direction. It is just a matter of making smart decisions online, and letting software protect against websites trying to cause harm.
It is nice to have HTTPS encryption with CCleaner. It is a slightly more secure version of a typical HTTP connection. By adding encryption to the mix, there is an assurance that the connection is to the appropriate server.
When using an HTTPS encryption, every website that has an HTTPS connection is fully supported. It is the evolution of more security online in general, and most major websites have this option. It might not seem like that big of a deal for those who know little about website security, but another layer of protection never hurts.
Common safety-related questions in regards to CCleaner
Prior to a full commitment, a lot of people have common questions about CCleaner. To clear up some questions asked over and over again, the resource below should clear some things up.
Is CCleaner still safe and effective for older Windows?
For Windows 10 users, many customers are frustrated with how little effectiveness there is compared to the built-in features Microsoft provides. However, if a user is currently running an older version of Windows, they might be in luck compared to everyone else.
Every version of Windows previous to Windows 10 is lacking some cleanup features that people have grown in love with CCleaner, and other options out there. Not everyone can upgrade to the newest version of Windows, but computers still slow down and become very frustrating to deal with. This is where a cleanup utility can come in handy and help out.
CCleaner works on any Windows computer back to Windows 7, which is nice for people who are holding onto older technology. They also are one of the few companies that offer a version for Mac users, which is something iolo does not bother with.
The overall support for older versions of Windows is waning a bit, as they are not making updates as much as they are for Windows 10 users. It does not seem like they are planning on removing these features any time soon, but a lack of support could mean that any new slow down issues could be left untouched.
Can CCleaner actually turn into bloatware?
It is a little bit ironic that a software utility can turn into bloatware itself, but that is exactly the case with CCleaner and other options that are rarely used. If a user feels like they are not getting enough use out of CCleaner, and then they download other utilities as well, CCleaner can then become bloatware.
The good news is that if it is just a free version, a user can simply delete it and be done. It does not harm the computer in any way. If a user pays for CCleaner premium features, it is a bit of a dilemma. Most people do not want to throw away their investment, so they hold onto it for longer than they should. This can lead to CCleaner booting up every single time the computer starts up, and it slowly but surely hurts the computer’s performance.
Maybe by itself, CCleaner will not do too much harm as far as bloatware is concerned. However, this is how things start to snowball, as people hold on to some of their utilities longer than they should. It is a problem that many people run into in the past, and it is becoming more and more frustrating overall.
Are there any differences in safety and privacy with the free and paid version of CCleaner?
Like a lot of utilities out there, Avast offers a free and paid version of CCleaner. Some people might be worried that they are getting an extremely limited version with the free option, but from a safety and privacy perspective, everything is the same.
The reason they offer a free version is the same as many companies out there. It is a pretty bare minimum solution for people to test out and see if it is something that works for them. Some basic features are worth trying, but most people will need to invest in a paid version to unlock all the features.
For those concerned about their safety and using a free option, think of it from a business standpoint. Avast will not put a user at risk while they are trying to earn their business. Their data and information are protected on a free version just as much as a paid version.
What does the future look like for Avast CCeaner?
Look at rankings from independent websites, and CCleaner still routinely ends up in the top 10 of system utilities for Windows and Mac users. There is still much to like about what they bring to the table, but there are always people worried about safety issues.
No matter how hard they try, they can’t run away from the past. They were hit hard by a few scandals, and they are doing their best to bounce back from them. For that reason, they still have that unsafe label that no company wants.
The truth of the matter is, they have some security and privacy setups that make sense. There are just more well-rounded options out there, with the most notable being System Mechanic from iolo. Those looking for the safest software out there to improve their computer and stay safe from any vulnerabilities whatsoever should look at other options.