The Norman Transcript

Business

September 15, 2013

Fake Flash Player updates are trashing computers

(Continued)

NORMAN —

After clicking on a few news stories at the suspect website, the fake Flash Player update appeared again. This time, I clicked “OK,” saved the file to my hard drive, gave it a good double-click and sat back as something called “Flash Player Pro” proceeded to trash my computer.

To start with, the Flash Player Pro “setup wizard” downloaded a crazy package of junk software with names like Whitesmoke Community Toolbar, Conduit Search Protect, the GetSavin browser plugin, GetSavin popup ads, GetSavin Toolbar and GetSavin spyware and hijacked my browser’s homepage, changing it to “Conduit.”

It then installed the “Download Terms” app toolbar, PC Utilities Pro, PC Optimizer Pro, VAFPlayer and the DefaultTab Search Toolbar.

While some of these are not viruses per se, they are all bogus programs designed to ultimately separate you from your hard-earned cash. Some of them installed without warning, some did not.

Next, Avast Antivirus, my real antivirus program, sent up a “file reputation warning” and advised me to not install anything else. I ignored the warning and clicked “continue.” This took me to a website called “yourmplayer.com” and some other things started installing. Then, the bogus “PC Optimizer Pro” program started a fake virus and registry scan.

After displaying a ridiculously long list of alleged problems, it told me to click “Fix Now,” which opened a web page asking me to “register” before it would fix any of the so-called problems. Of course, the registration process involved a credit card number, so I bailed out.

Sadly, the offending website owners were ignoring my warning that they were infecting visitors to their site. A week passed. Meanwhile, I started getting calls from local customers who had visited the same website and were horrified to learn their computers had been rendered useless. Their computers needed to be repaired.

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