Won’t get fooled again by spyware

Don’t get fooled by spyware again.

Spyware programs go by many names and some pose as official looking applications.

If your PC does get infected by spyware, you can usually tell if they are fake. Here’s how:

One I ran across one recently is called Win 7 Antispyware 2012 (Flag! Notice it says Win 7 and not Windows 7). This rogue spyware called Trojan.Fakealert pops up an official looking scanner that says you have multiple viruses on your PC and then for $60+ offers you a link to download software to clean it off your PC. Software that in fact is a virus itself.  Don’t be fooled and fall for the $60 removal tool.  It is a fake. And there are other names and flavors of this same basic scam.

There is the MS software Removal tool or MS removal tool. Do not confuse this with Microsoft’s official Malicious Software Removal Tool. Again, you will be offered a removal tool for $60 or $80 and again,  it is a scam.

There is even one scanner called Fakefrag that does a clever job of making you think your hard disk is crashing and it does this by taking your documents and pictures, moving them to a different folder and then hiding them so as to make you think they were deleted altogether. It also sends files to your recycle bin. Fortunately the hidden files are not actually deleted and the Recycle bin cannot be emptied by Fakefrag. Believe me, you really don’t want this on your computer. Here is a great YouTube video from Symantec.com about the Trojan.Fakfrag. I have been called about a few of these nasty programs and here is my advice:

  • First of all, if a scanner you have never seen before pops up and it looks like an official Microsoft application and even has a Microsoft icon, do not assume it is official and especially, if there is a dollar amount involved. Instead, suspect it is a spyware fake and call a computer repair technician.
  • Notice the name of the fake scanner (if there is one) and write it down so you can tell the technician what it is.
  • If the fake scanner appeared after visiting a website, click the down arrow on the right of the field where you enter a URL address at the top of your browser, notice the list of remembered sites and do a Google/Yahoo, etc., search on the websites you visited and see if the results show anything about it being infected with spyware. If you haven’t taken the bait, paid the $60 and installed the fake removal tool, the technician can get rid of the spyware in short order. If your tech wants to download internet security software to get your PC protected, let him or her do so because they can get your PC secure for around $30 (half the price of the fake removal tool).
  • I cannot stress this enough: To avoid getting these threats in the first place, make sure your Microsoft critical updates are current. If you are not sure of whether they are current,  click Start+Programs+Windows Update. Don’t let your Antivirus/Internet security software expire. See Seven tips for keeping your computer safe.


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