A client who visited iTandCoffee last week was concerned that her Mac may have 'caught a virus'.
She had been browsing flights, going between web pages, when a nasty message popped up in her Safari session, saying that she had a virus and that she had limited time (a count-down clock was shown) to contact a provided phone number to resolve the issue - otherwise her files would be wiped.
In this case, the pop-up that she saw in Safari was a scam, designed to make her think she had a problem when she didn't.
We have covered the topic of fake Safari 'virus', 'malware' and 'ransomware' messages in previous articles:
While it is rare for a Mac to catch a virus, it is not so hard to pick up 'adware' and 'malware' - especially if you have teenagers who visits torrenting and gaming sites using your Mac. Such adware and malware can slow down your computer dramatically, and cause unexpected behaviour.
If you want to protect your Mac from real threats, there are some excellent free products available.
Here is a very recent article that provides details of some recommended products.
I had a visit from my lovely Aunty V this week. Her Windows computer had, recently, been regularly popping up messages saying that she had lots of problems with her computer.
A product call Win Tuneup Pro had somehow made its way onto her computer - she's not sure how - and she was concerned about what it was, and whether her computer did have the level of problems reported by Win Tuneup Pro.
Googling Win Tuneup Pro comes up with a long list of search results about this product being classified as 'Malware'.
What is Win Tuneup Pro
Like MacKeeper on a Mac, these results show that Win Tuneup Pro is classified as an 'adware' product, trying to convince you that you have non-existent problems and that you should pay them money to fix these non-existent problems.
The best approach is to remove it!
How do you remove a product like this?
To remove Win Tuneup Pro, we went to the Control Panel and chose the 'Add or Remove Program' option (Aunty V's computer is still on Windows 7). After finding Win Tuneup Pro in the list of programs, we selected it and chose the 'Uninstall' option.
However, the 'uninstall' seemed to 'stall'.
How to force the removal of a product like this
So we downloaded an excellent product call Malwarebytes and ran it. Malwarebytes is a free product that can remove products like Win Tuneup Pro - products that have been classified as 'malware'.
Malwarebytes found all the 'hidden' files and registry entries on Aunty V's computer and 'quarantined' them, so that we could easily delete them.
Then, lo and behold, Win Tuneup Pro was gone - finally uninstalled!
Where did this product come from?
But how did this product make its way onto Aunty V's computer, especially given that she has AVG anti-virus software running on it?
Products like Win Tuneup Pro can get onto your computer when you download other free software. They are sometimes bundled with another product, and you don't realise that you have installed more that the product you intended to install.
The best approach when downloading free software is to make sure you get it from the maker's website. Sometime when you download software from other sites, you will get a 'bundle' of other software that you did not ask for.
(A word of warning though - even free software from the maker's site can sometimes come with 'stowaways'. An example was the free video converter Handbrake, whose download was compromised by hackers recently. This was quickly fixed, but as a user of Handbrake, it was worrying to think how easily one can fall victim to malicious downloads - even when 'playing by the rules'.)
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