Thursday, April 4, 2013

"SpeedMyPC" My Fanny!

A client (an elderly woman) brought in a system a few days ago that set a world record for us. This is only a partial list of the tons of scamware, junkware, and malware on her computer.: 24x7Help, PC Cleaner Pro, PriceGong, Alot Toolbar, Appgraffitti, PC Optimizer Pro, PC Powerspeed, Rebate Informer, Savepath Deals, Search Donkey, Social Search Bar, Unfriend App, Windows Shopper, Special Savings, Inbox Toolbar, Shop at Home, Ask Toolbar and Driver Manager.

All this stuff is either useless snake oil or litters your Internet browser with a bunch of annoying toolbars or slows your computer down.

I’ve racked my bring trying to figure out how one sweet little old lady could get so much junk on her computer. I just don't have an answer but I do have a few theories. The first is that she had grandkids

visit her. Grandkids are a great revenue generator for my company. They tend to click on anything that says “FREE IPAD!” and download all sorts of junk that supposedly gives them “free” music. I wish I had enough room to detail every one of these foul programs but but I can at least impart a few basics so you can avoid these pesky programs and perhaps save a few dollars.

Many of you have slow computers. It is perfectly natural to attempt to fix it yourself by simply Googling “slow computer.” When you do this, you will see plenty software that promise to speed-up your computer. I have never seen one program that has any effect whatsoever. Almost all “PC Optimizers” or “PC Speedup” or “Speed Boosters” are scams. They supposedly “clean your registry” and “cache” and do all sorts of magical things to increase your computer’s performance. Avoid these programs like the plague or I will be seeing you.

We see tons of “shopper” toolbars. One of the most annoying we’ve seen is “Pricegong.” It will send you a pop-up window advertising special savings on a variety of products. They also hijack your search engine. These scammers get a couple of pennies every time one of you click on their advertised product.

“24x7 Help”: I wish I knew where this garbage was coming from. I see it on at least a quarter of the computers brought into us. I suspect some of it is the result of foreign “cold callers” that I have written about in the past. These scammers will call a gullible person, claim to be from Microsoft and inform the “mark” that their computer is infected. They will direct the client to a website that will install some software that allows the scammer to control their computer remotely. They will inevitably find “bad things” and request a credit card number to “help” the client remove the non-existent viruses.

Facebook apps are another source of these things. Look, dear readers, there is no app that actually allows you to “see who visits your Facebook Page.” There are not magical “Like to get a free iPad” and no need for you to add anyone to a “Birthday calendar.”

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