After the mess that was my last three ‘get it working again’ jobs, tonight I decided to see just how easy it was to replicate the three computers. The easiest way is to try to pirate activation codes, so I looked up an Angry Birds activation, and this is what happened next..
A link to the activation codes was easy enough to find but initially getting the ‘exe’ file, note that it was not a link to a code in plain text, proved slightly more difficult. After three attempts, I had it ready for installation.
Next, a grey box appeared with text to the effect ‘Did I want to start installation. I answered ‘NO’ and clicked the cross at the top right of the box. I did this FIVE times, and on the sixth, it told me that it was installing anyway.. that easy..
At the end of the installation, I opened up Revo Uninstaller and IE11, and they showed that I had picked up..
- Search Protect
- Another TornTV item
- Optimiser Pro
That’s not too bad considering that I answered NO repeatedly. It probably took no longer than 15 seconds to install, and it beat me to opening up Revo Uninstaller.
My browser which opens with a customised Protopage had an extra ad at the top which partly obscured sensible stuff , and three more boxed ads within Protopage appeared out of the blue.
Searching for anything in my usual list produced a weird webpage which showed NOTHING AT ALL, and clicking for a new tab did the same.
Looking into IE11’s Manage add-ons, there was a new Browser helper called ‘Bettermarkit’ and in search engines, Trovi had appeared..
What I did next..
I ran uninstalls of the top four items in the list above via Revo Uninstaller, using the advanced ‘gouging’ mode of Revo which saw an end to them, then ran Malwarebytes followed up with ADW cleaner, rebooting when it was required. After maybe 10 minutes, my computer was clean again, showing no signs of a malware infection.
By the way, there was one other change made which didn’t show up immediately on the final reboot. The Internet connection had been directed to use a proxy server connection which had not been set up, easy enough to correct but only if you know how.
OK, so I know what I am doing, knew that I was incurring trouble, the object of the exercise, and had the tools on hand to deal with anything. Unfortunately, the average user doesn’t have any of the above, and doesn’t have the cash to get it professionally fixed. So where I would not dream of installing more crap like Regcure Pro and Advanced System Care, the unfortunate souls do, making it a whole lot worse to fix.
Obviously, #1 is don’t go for stuff which you know is not kosher. Angry Birds has been around since XP days, but the author still asks for payment and does NOT give out free activation codes. The same applies to music, videos, all of it. One indiscretion can quickly turn into a costly job. For a quick job like mine was, I would charge $25. If the user has made things worse by running other junk to the point where the OS is beyond saving, I charge $50 which includes saving important data, time taken to get Windows back up and running cleanly, bandwidth usage getting the updates, and setting it back up as if nothing had ever happened to it. Stores around me charge three times that amount just to take it over the counter..
You have been warned, probably many times before by others, but I MEAN it..