Toolbars have been around for almost as long as web browsers have, be it Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome, you’ll find countless toolbars that want to live inside the web browser you use and somehow add value to your browsing experience. Many of us though like to stay well away from such third-party toolbars because often they end up causing more harm than benefit. Microsoft has taken that same view against the Ask Toolbar, arguably among the most popular toolbars available today, because it has been flagged as malware.
Third-party toolbars are often bundled with other applications and users who don’t pay attention during installation processes can end up installing them even though they might not want them.
Sure it’s easy enough to disable or delete a third-party toolbar but it’s just a nuisance and a waste of time that many can do without.
Microsoft has flagged the Ask Toolbar as malware primarily because of its ability to overrun control of a web browser and its ability to change settings.
This has empowered Microsoft’s anti-malware software such as Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Defender to detect the toolbar and remove it from a computer.
It merits mentioning here though that Microsoft has branded older versions of the toolbar as malware, the company confirmed to The Register that the current version of the Ask Toolbar is in accordance with its policies.