Be careful what you click on!

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Fitter
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Be careful what you click on!

Post by Fitter » Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:49 pm

A newsletter today from our go-to computer guru back in the UK which I thought might be helpful for all us keyboard warriors on here:-

Welcome to the Winter 2019 edition of my newsletter.
Be careful what you click on!

Often when repairing a computer for a customer or performing an annual health check I report on various "dodgy" items of software that have to be removed.
Apart from giving misleading information tools such as this often also contain spyware, adware, or viruses. Some of them also harvest personal information from your computer, or persuade you to purchase them so that they can obtain financial information such as bank details or card numbers which are then used for other fraudulent purposes.
Below I cover some of the most common types of these tools (often referred to as Potentially Unwanted Programs or PUPs), explain what they do (or purport to do), along with some example product names to be aware of:-

System Optimizer
These so-called tools use intentional false positives, and misleading information to convince users that their systems have problems, quite often exaggerating the seriousness of these so called problems.
They then try to sell you their software, claiming it will resolve all of these problems.
Examples: TuneUp, Advanced SystemCare, PC Mechanic, PC Booster, PC Speedup, System Clean Pro

Registry Cleaner
You should never have to optimize, defragment, organize, clean or compress your registry.
The potential performance enhancements resulting in the use of these programs are at best miniscule and unperceivable.
At worst, they could cause so much damage to your computer that it would require a complete re-installation of the operating system to get it working again, often resulting in the loss of data.
Examples: WinFixer, Max Registry Cleaner, PerfectRegistry, WinZip Registry Optimizer, PC Optimizer Pro, Wise Registry Cleaner

Driver Updater
Like the tools above these products use false information to tell you that your drivers need updating.
If your computer is functioning correctly then there is usually no reason to update the drivers. If a driver does need updating to fix a security or performance issue then this will in most cases be handled automatically by Windows or by the relevant manufacturers updater e.g. Intel Driver Assistant. And if not then drivers should only ever be downloaded from the official website of the company who make the product.
Examples: Driver Support, DriverUpdater, Driver Booster, Driver Toolkit, DriverWhiz, WinZip Driver Updater

Privacy Optimizer
These type of tools are not always malicious, but in a lot of cases do show false information to scare you into buying the product offered to protect your privacy, or protect you from a problem which never existed.
There are also a lot of adverts and pop-ups suggesting you should purchase and install VPN products to protect you whilst browsing the internet, now for a general user as long as you have reliable and up-to-date security software installed then you do not need a VPN product, unless you intend to browse unsafe websites, access content that should not normally be accessed e.g. accessing foreign satellite or TV broadcasts, or have something to hide!
Examples: Secure VPN

Browser Hijacker
This section encompasses items such as browser extensions (add-ins), and search extensions
These manipulate your browser(s), for example to change your start page or search provider, so that the affected browser visits their site or one of their choice. They often result in pop-ups and malicious adverts that don't originate from the sites you are actually browsing. And in some cases they can capture information that you are entering into websites such as personal or financial information.
Examples: FromDocToPDF, PackageTracking, Search Extension by Ask, My Flight Finder, PDF Converter, Search Encrypt, MyTransitGuide, OnlineMapFinder, Free Live Radio, CouponXplorer, Fast File Convert, GetFormsOnline, HowToSimplified, MapsGalaxy

Browser Notifications and Pop-ups
These are pop-up messages which appear over the website you are visiting, or down the bottom right hand corner, they can often contain malicious or dubious content.
The cause of these is often because a browser hijacker (above) or other malicious tool has been installed, or because you have allowed notifications from a particular website by clicking a button which has popped up when browsing such as the one shown below:-
A screenshot of a cell phoneDescription automatically generated.
(Will not copy as it's an image)
If you are ever unsure then just ask!
These users thanked the author Fitter for the post (total 3):
limousinlady (Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:41 pm) • suein56 (Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:46 pm) • bluebird (Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:10 pm)
Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.

– Michael Crichton

“In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”
Nietzsche

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Re: Be careful what you click on!

Post by FrenchForumSurvivor » Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:00 pm

I've heard of or seen advertised some of them, but I don't think I've got any.
"I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times." - Everett Dirksen

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Re: Be careful what you click on!

Post by wilbro » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:02 pm

In the system optimiser section he mentions various types of cleaner. One I used to use is CCleaner (CrapCleaner as I used to call it) which has been recommended by various local support services. Never used it on my current computer but wonder how he would class it as it is popular.

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Re: Be careful what you click on!

Post by niemeyjt » Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:00 pm

It is one I would recommend - it does not install crapware and it does not seem to follow the spying policy of its new owner

Another nice tool is Spybot Search and Destroy - and Shutup10 for those using Windows 10.

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Re: Be careful what you click on!

Post by Fitter » Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:19 pm

wilbro wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:02 pm
In the system optimiser section he mentions various types of cleaner. One I used to use is CCleaner (CrapCleaner as I used to call it) which has been recommended by various local support services. Never used it on my current computer but wonder how he would class it as it is popular.
I've used CCleaner freebie version for years - about every 3 months or so to get rid of the fallout from the web - doesn't seem to have any problems attached to it.
Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.

– Michael Crichton

“In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”
Nietzsche

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Re: Be careful what you click on!

Post by suein56 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:56 pm

Over the years .. many years now .. I have dabbled with some of these 'aids' mentioned by Fitter's guru and have progressively abandoned all of them.
When as a newbie you launched yourself on this astonishing Internet world it was a veritable minefield : I remember Zone Alarm and Norton plus many many others .. many of which have disappeared . . I learnt, as many others did, what worked and which companies wanted to entice you in to their (expensive) web by scaring you 1/2 to death with their veiled .. and not so veiled .. dire threats of Doom and Armageddon.

In retrospect keep it simple seems a good mantra ;)
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