The Internet Crime Complaint Center is reporting that last year the business model of scareware and my term crapware reached $150 Million in the US last year. http://www.ic3.gov/media/2009/091211.aspx
Symantec published a report in October of 2009 reporting 40 million infected users worldwide. http://eval.symantec.com/mktginfo/enterprise/white_papers/b-symc_report_on_rogue_security_software_WP_20100385.en-us.pdf
As Scareware continues to proliferate via Facebook, with the deaths or misfortunes of celebrities, due to web site injections and drive-by downloads and the profitability of this scam, expect it to rise dramatically in 2010.
So what is a person and business to do?
I have discussed the details of these infections over the last 13 months more than I would like. Today I want to help you clean up your computer from an infection and give you a suggestion or two on preventing the fake anti-virus and fake infection warnings.
Let’s start with prevention.
The bulk of these infections come from “scripts” (which are part of the code that allows web sites to be seen on your browser) running on a web site or in a web based activity such as a game or download. The “warnings” are scareware and are usually only pop-ups disguised as real programs. When you click on the fake security program your computer is hijacked with ads and more crapware, this is more commonly being referred to as click jacking.
Internet Explorer 6 and 7 had various downloads that would allow an end user or computer administrator to block or allow more features, one of them being scripts. Unfortunately these were buggy for IE 6 and not easily understood or configured for IE 7. A Google search for IE8 script blockers or add-ons that blocks scripts delivers no useable results.
What is a person to do?
Unfortunately my best answer is “switch to Firefox, install ‘no-scripts’ (by Giorgio Maone) and Ad Blocker (by Dragos Ogean) you are partially there.
Install a real router; yes it is time to buy a SonicWall for your home, especially if you have more than one computer connecting to the internet. Businesses can be greatly helped with the blocking of sites and subjects that could get them sued as well as prevent employees from goofing off during work hours. Parents and home owners can benefit by blocking rouge scripts, web sites that they consider objectionable and allowing various security implementations based on wants and needs. You must also configure these to work properly. If you cannot or don’t have the time, call a professional and have it done right (IFix Computers at 417-337-7184 can do this for you).
Yes, these routers cost real money, no $39.99 routers here and they have annual fees to keep up the blocking. Yours truly, The Weekly Geek switched to one about a year ago for my home and I have not looked back since.
Oh, yeah, also, keep the latest Windows Critical updates installed, an up-to-date QUALITY anti-virus. Yes the anti-virus does cost money to, get ESET or from Kaspersky and configure them properly, again if you don’t have the time to configure them, contact IFix Computers at 417-337-7184, they can do most if not all the work remotely.
Repairing / Removing Scareware and Crapware from your computer
Ok, so my parents don’t understand why I drink. Well even though I don’t drink in public, sometimes I read the technology reports, blogs, news et al and just say to myself “how do we beat or even win major battles in this war against ‘the bad guys’”. You see, I don’t get paid for these articles, I don’t sell anything. The links may have an affiliate code but to date, in the last 10 years I have not made enough to be sent “the check” from any company simply because I don’t push software. What does this have to do with the color of cheese? Well, the scareware and crapware people made $150 million from US “customers” last year and I made, well, I had the privilege of helping in the “war against crapware”. Anyway, I have been in the technology business one way or another since about 1982 or 1984 depending on your point of view (as Obi-Wan Kenobi told Luke about his father) and I have been fighting with malware (or writing malware / pointing out vulnerabilities) since 1991 and I am still broke!
Ok, enough with that tangent, on with the show!
To remove most of the current crapware / scareware, I contacted Mike Rosmis at IFix Computers for his remedy. Mike had been great at not only removing such “issues” but also making sure that they have not left junk in the registry or that pops up later.
First run Combo-Fix from http://www.combofix.org/download.php
Next if you have Windows XP, run Dial-a-fix, it can be downloaded from here http://www.softpedia.com/progDownload/Dial-a-fix-Download-27328.html
Next install, update and run Malware bytes. To be sure you get a good copy download it from here http://www.malwarebytes.org/
Then install, update and run Spybot Search and Destroy by running “Immunize” then under “Mode /Advanced” and selecting “Tools” from the left hand bar click on “Active X” and remove any non needed items, and repeating with “BHOs”, going to “Host File” and selecting “Add Spybot-S&D hosts list”, finally going back to “Spybot S&D on the left column and running “Check for problems”. http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/index.html
Finally updating your anti-virus, running it in a thorough mode and rebooting.
That should take care of any nasty scareware you have.
Until we meet again, have a virus and scareware free week!