Monday, October 28, 2013

How Malware Gets Installed

You hear from me that your computer got infected with malware, especially PuPs, and you ask:
"How did that stuff get on my computer? I did not download or install it".
Sorry, but in most cases you did give permission to install that garbage alongside some legitimate install or update. You did not do it consciously, you got duped or tricked into allowing the installation. See this article for just one all too common example.

These tricks can have many different shapes and forms. They all are designed to trick or fool us into allowing the garbage to get installed alongside a legitimate program or update. User beware!

One of the more and more common forms is a legitimate install or update that asks something along the lines of

  • Default (or Express) install (recommended)
  • Custom install (for experienced users)
No matter whether you consider yourself to be experienced or not, if you click Default (which always is pre-selected!) or just click on the Next button you likely get PuPs installed. By now even software from well known names does that! Just as an example: Oracle's Java and Adobe Reader are bundled with PuPs; most downloads from well known download portals are by now loaded with PuPs. Why is that happening?

Simple answer: Money! The authors of PuPs pay for their stuff being bundled with legitimate software. There is a lot of money to be made from advertising!

Distributing viruses is illegal, distributing "search helpers"  or tool bars is not!

My advice: When you have to choose between Default and Custom installs always(!) click Custom; it is the only way to check for PuPs because so far at least they are being offered with some sort of a choice to decline or skip them.

If you are in doubt take a screen shot of the window(s) that sparked your suspicion, postpone the install and ask me in an email about it; don't forget to attach the screen shot please.

As usual I welcome suggestions and comments right here in the blog.

Click here for a categorized Table Of Contents.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Wow. Mr Heinze, you're quite impressive. Thank you for your informative & well organized blog.