Tech tips: Malicious software

18:56, Nov 15 2012

Malicious software (malware) is a persistent threat to your computer's security.

At best it's an intrusive annoyance, at worst it steals your private data and records your activity.

Recently, Ivan Peacock, of Hamilton, appears to have inadvertently downloaded and installed the PC Power Speed software.

Unfortunately, it is now nagging him with messages, which according to Ivan state that his computer has "untold problems which are slowing my computer down".

Ivan has tried uninstalling the software, but cannot seem to get rid of the application. He asked: "Do these programs actually work? What can I do to remove this?"

PC Power Speed is fake Windows optimisation software (fraudware, a type of malware) that is often installed by a web-based Trojan virus, usually when a harmful internet site is visited. On installation, the software starts to display spurious optimisation reports. However, the reported optimisations, which are not legitimate, claim to be available only if the user purchases the commercial version of the fraudware.

The reported performance problems also do not exist and only display to induce the victims to part with their money.

As with most malware, it's not simply the case of uninstalling the program. To remove malware you must use a program dedicated to the task. Download Malwarebytes (malwarebytes.org/mbam.php) and run this to resolve your malware infestation. David Hallett is the Chief Nerd of Need A Nerd in the Waikato. Need A Nerd can be reached on 0800 633 326 (NEED A NERD). To ask a question email techtips@needanerd.co.nz and be in with a chance to win Norton 360 Version 6 by Symantec ($129 for three PCs).

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