MALWARE AND SECURITY

windowsvistaheroMalware became apparent early on with the personal computer. Over time security tools became available to combat the problem.

Windows Vista and above come with Windows Defender which provides some modicum of security. Other security programs were expected to complement or replace it. In practice many used Windows with no additional security programs in place.

Windows Security Essentials is very popular because it is free and has no subscription fee. This was the only way Microsoft could encourage widespread adoption of security products.

Malwarebytes is favorable as they offer a free to use manual scan. This is desirable as the Windows Defender is not the best security product available but none are perfect. Malwarebytes has become highly regarded as one of the leading solutions for protecting users.

BitDefender now offers a free option for private use. The software is well respected and widely used.

AVG is a recent entrant to the security business. They have done an excellent work with their free to use option.

Starting with Windows 8, MIcrosoft upgraded the Windows Defender to integrate the Windows Security Essentials capabilities. This was done as a growing number of Windows users who had no security programs installed. Windows 8 also introduced Smart Screen which checks programs against a whitelist. The problem is that this whitelist is not exhaustive so occasionally a user has to intervene and manually authorize a program.

Browsers have also taken steps to protect users. Chrome presents a red screen when there is a security problem.

MALWARE WE FOUND

We work hard to remove spyware and other forms of malware. We take security very seriously.  We also removed Origin, Steam and other game clients from startup to speed up the boot process. Steam is very brutal on startup due to the automatic checks it imposes.

FLEXNET CONNECT MANAGER

Some programs use FLEXNET Connection Manager, it autoruns and evades the startup impact check by Windows 8.1. You can download an uninstaller here. The program is spyware that is whitelisted because its used by all of the major software vendors.

Unfortunately the uninstaller has disappoeared which demonstrates the abuses seen by corporate users.

CONDUIT

Some freeware programs are now bundling Conduit which hijacks your browser’s default search and worse  Conduit uses software to keep forcing the search to their servers. Often there is also a browser bar added to spy on the user as well. The problem is that this software is installed silently without option. Search your hard disks for mconduitinstaller.exe.

SPIGOT

Some freeware programs are now bundling Spigot which hijacks your browser’s default search and worse First, go into the Windows Control Panel and select Uninstall a Program or Add/Remove Programs. Locate and uninstall Spigot Search Protect. Then revert each affected browser back to your desired homepage and search engine.

YONTOO

In Q4 2015 a new version of the Yontoo adware/spyware was discovered attacking Chrome. It managed to get past the Windows Smart Screen, Chrome security and Windows Defender. This spyware was originally discovered in 2012 and clearly the miscreants are actively developing it in an attempt to steal as much information as possible. Analysis of the malware shows servers are located in China, however these may be redirected to other locations. This malware is very sophisticated suggesting a subnational group is responsible.

SPAMBOTS

The AMD forum has been largely unavailable for several days at the end of September 2014. Scanning with Google showed that the problem is widespread with many forums under attack. The miscreants use +91-8239923884 which is in India, likely to grab telecom fees for some bogus astrology service.

TOOLBARS

The Ask toolbar is one of the more egregious but as far as we are concerned they all are problematic. Only in June 2015 has Microsoft finally got around to dealing with these spyware and hijack adbars.

EMAIL

Outlook and Yahoo now want a mobile number for their accounts. That adds to the cost as verification calls and messages are fee liable. They are not secure, unlocked phones can have the SIM card changed quickly to another number or even carrier. SIM cards are not expensive.

CONCLUSION

At the end of the day, installing MSE on the gaming rig makes perfect sense. It has no performance hit on game frame rates so its ideal for gamers who want to get the most out of PC gaming.

Password reuse is a serious security problem. Lots of other gaming companies have been penetrated including NVIDIA, Blizzard and Sony. This program can create secure passwords that even the NSA would cringe at.

Remember the only good zombie is a dead one. Play Left for Dead 2 or Doom 3 etc. A good backup means saved games etc. will not be lost.

CONTACT

Contact us if your have security issues. Fee Liable.