Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Cooler Weather and Evil Telemarketers

Cooler Weather - Watching the local news broadcast on television this morning, I became gleeful upon hearing the weatherperson forecasting cooler weather for the next several days.

In place of the triple-digit weather we have been suffering, the forecast this morning predicted a high of 93° today, 89° tomorrow, 82° Thursday, and temperatures remaining in the 80s through the weekend!

Forecasts call for partly cloudy conditions through Saturday and possible thunderstorms on Thursday.

Rain would certainly be welcomed with joy!

Evil Telemarketers - Most telemarketers are not evil—although they are all distruptive and appear to be fully ignorant of the "Do Not Call" database—but some telemarketers are "selling" a "service" the need for which they created!

I am referring to those heinous cretins who infest a computer with a pseudo virus then offer a "service" to rid the system of the infection.

Such an infection was the cause of woe that faced a client yesterday. I determined the culprit to be a "program" called Driver Pro.

Driver Pro is a paid system optimizer program that is typically added when one installs another free software application. This program is also bundled within the custom installer on many reputable download sites, so if you have downloaded a software from these websites, chances are that PC Utilities Pro – Driver Pro was installed during the software setup process.

I ran Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, and it found a plethora of PUPs. PUPs range from registry cleaners that claim to speed up your PC, to various toolbars, convenience apps, and all-in-one PC performance boosters. These utilities can be simply annoying and misleading or harmful and dangerous. That is why the output logs produced by scanners may use words such as "Potentially" and "Optional." Most of this software is not an infection such as a virus, but it may make false claims, serve ads, conflict with other installed applications, or is a trial with a goad to purchase a full version to finish the task it promised to do.

The foul purveyors of such malware—often termed "ransomware," because it holds the computer for ransom and forces the user to pay the ransom in order to release the computer from the thrall of the infection.

Driver Pro purports to scan the system and find missing or incorrect drivers and alerts the user that the full version of the program must be purchased in order to correct the problem.

In reality, Driver Pro's report is totally bogus. In this instance, a telephone number was given that was stated to be a Microsoft technical support number. Of course, the number has no connection with Microsoft.

Attempting to remove Driver Pro by using the Control Panel / Uninstall Programs method returned a message that the program did not exist.

Revo Uninstaller removed Driver Pro and released the computer from bondage.

Unfortunately, not all infections may be addressed similarly. There are many variants of PUPs that appear as a result of the installation of Driver Pro.

I recommend that one purchase the Pro version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. It is $24.95 per year for a three-PC license. This will go far toward ensuring that you do not fall victim to malware.

If your system does become infected, however, I recommend that you have the issue addressed by a professional.