Scareware spyware is a relatively new term to me. And it seems no matter how much I do to properly protect the computer, something new (or in this case, old) does its best to make my life miserable. While the girlfriend was online, apparently she came upon an errant website that compromised my Dell computer. A pop-up displayed itself and informed her that our computer was infected with several unnameable viruses and trojans. It told us that installation of Winfixer would solve these issues and eliminate the problems from our hard drives.
Now, I am not dumb, nor is the girlfriend. We know better than to agree to a pop-up window’s dishonest promises. Most programs promising computer karma are filled with spyware and other forms of malware and only a real fool would go with a program name that is unfamiliar. I told her to simply “X” out of the offending window and life would be good again. Not the case. X-ing out of this application has a reverse effect and will actually attempt to install the Winfixer to your computer! If one does not have proper protection in the form of McAfee or Norton’s anti-virus installed beforehand, it is safe to assume that a new unwanted and annoying program will make its home onto your computer.
Instead, McAfee flashed several warnings on my computer regarding the renegade software. A warning regarding an attempted installation was displayed, followed by a firewall compromise message. After three attempts to install itself on my computer, the program ceased. Proper deletion, in my case, only took a couple of clicks. However, if you are not so lucky, and have come across Winfixer, rest assured it is not going to wreak havoc on a computer, nor will it compromise secure information. It is not necessarily “evil.” Instead, you will be heckled via pop-ups to download the software because your computer is being overrun with nasty viruses, hence the term “scareware spyware.” Winfixer, in this way, is the cheesy car salesman with the golden smile who wants to sell you a lemon at an affordable price. The question that begs asking is this: Does Winfixer even work or is the program itself a pure sucker’s bet?
The program’s true uses remain very questionable; the effects on ones computer can slow down and conceivably freeze an older model. Harassing messages demanding payment for the registered version will become a constant form of annoyance if Winfixer effectively installs itself to your computer. Originally created in September of 2005, newer variants have been conceived as recent as July 23rd of 2007. In most cases, internet explorer’s browser is more susceptible when surfing a website that contains the “trigger pop-up.” However, the newer variants also compromise the Firefox and Opera browsers as well.
The bottom line reminds us that simply X-ing out of a pop-up ad will not necessarily make it go away. Preventive measures, such as having McAfee anti-virus installed will keep one from developing a rather large headache in the future. Besides, if you are like me, finding certain HKEY’s in your computer’s registry for deletion is a rather foreign and dangerous idea that could put your computer on ice permanently. If it is too late (the Winfixer has already made a home to your C-drive) Spybot Search and Destroy is another viable alternative to rid yourself of the program.
Winfixer comes in different alibis such as Errclean and SystemDoctor amongst several others. The fact that the program itself has “Win” in it may cause some to believe that it is a Windows program, thus being safe for downloading and installation. A possible lawsuit regarding the program creators remains pending, further proof that Winfixer is more a nuisance than a help, besmirching the name of Microsoft in the process. Do not believe the lies regarding the possible lost information and viruses that the Winfixer pop-up professes it can rescue for you. If the pop-up rears its ugly head on your monitor, disconnecting from the internet before X-ing out of the dialog box is the safest route.