Tuesday, August 9, 2011

They could at least throw in a bundle of Sham-Wows

Ok, here's how it really works:

MyCleanPC.com, DoubleMySpeed.Com, FinallyFast.com etc. etc. all sell you the same "service." Each company preys on the roughly 99.9 percent of us who don't know how computers work and don't care to learn. We know there are these scary things called "viruses" which may lead to "identity theft" and "security breaches" and "inability to access Facebook within five seconds oh my God why don't I just kill myself now?" We know that every once in a while (every two or three minutes) we see something pop up on our screens that we don't recognize and which does not disappear when we swat at it. Anyway, these companies promise to "clean" our computers of scary stuff and continue our march toward having Absolutely No Patience At All.

They all work the same way, too. Once you are conned....errr, convinced...into allowing these scum-sucking scam artists access to your computer, their "free diagnosis" MAGICALLY reveals that OH MY GOD YOUR COMPUTER HAS ROUGHLY TWENTY-SEVEN THOUSAND PROBLEMS ITS REALLY AMAZING THAT IT'S STILL FUNCTIONING AT ALL! Pretty much all of these "problems" are things called Registry Errors, and being told that you need to fix them is the equivalent of a car dealer telling you that you need to trade in your Honda for a new Lexus because your current ride has dirt in the tire treads.

So now that you are scared out of your mind by the flashing red lights and the endless REGISTRY ERROR messages, you sign up to have your PC "cleaned" via a download, available the instant you provide a valid credit card number and put your remaining brain cells into a safety deposit box. Within seconds (lots of seconds) the Registry Errors are magically removed- and magically replaced by custom-made viruses which will just as magically appear at regular intervals to convince you that you need to subscribe to Registry Defender for a monthly or yearly fee in order to keep your computer "safe." That this is the equivalent of paying Protection money to a gang of goons because "it looks like you've got a nice laptop here, be a shame if anything were to happen to it" doesn't occur to most of us techno-idiots, because hey, isn't that illegal?

Here's what I don't get about all these commercials (besides the already-implied "why is this legal?") Why can't Best Buy, Toshiba, Wal Mart, Dell, Sony, etc. give every customer a 30-second warning NOT to fall for this crap? I mean, how long would it take to hook buyers up with decent antivirus and antispyware protection before they leave the store or the website AND explain why it's important? Wouldn't that just be good customer service?

And again- WHY IS THIS LEGAL????


  1. I have no idea why Congress hasn't gotten around to proscribing this as yet; about the only explanation that comes readily to mind is that the average legislator looks at a PC and thinks "You know, I bet I could store the little woman's brownie recipe on this thing."

    Yes, I went there and I brought back souvenirs: I think that they're roadkill on the information superhighway and the dumb bastards who get suckered into this sort of Mafioso malware maelstrom are right there with them.

  2. As a computer guy I really hate these "services". You hit the nail on the head with your explanation. This software will install a custom made virus/spyware on your pc and then charge you to temporarily turn it off....

    For anyone who wants to clean their computer on their own it is pretty simple.

    1- Delete your cookies and temp files. If you do not know how to do this dont worry it is not necessary but does make the virus scan run a lot faster.

    2- Go to: http://www.malwarebytes.org/products/malwarebytes_free

    3- Click the grey "download now" button under the word "FREE"

    4- Install the scanner and when it asks you choose to create a desktop icon.

    5- Double click the Malwarebytes icon on your desktop

    6- Choose "Perform Full Scan"

    7- When the can finishes click the "Show Results" button in the bottom right corner.

    8- Click the "Remove selected" button in the bottom left hand corner.

    9- It will tell you that in order to remove all the files you pc will need to be rebooted. Make sure that you save anything you were working on and click "Yes"

    10- Your PC will reboot and you are now free of spyware and viruses.

    Rarely on some really badly infected machines I will run it twice.