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Fake Video Player updates became a reason for the Trojan attack on the PC platform leading to loss of data and control over computers. Many users are not aware of these fake updates and get trapped into them easily. In order to help you prepare for this threat better, we will be discussing all the ways in which hackers try to attract the users and how to protect yourself from them.

Fake Flash Player update screenshot

One of the common fake updates is Flash Video Player update which is displayed on some of the websites by freeware as well as adware programs which have been installed on your computer. Most of us think that they are true and follow their instructions till the end of the installation process. These may contain Trojan Horse virus which can encrypt your whole PC and you will not be able to access your files like images, music files, documents, etc. All folders will convert into .exe files. You will be left with only infected system.

Have you checked the website before installing those fake updates which promise better performance of your video player?

No!

We are not saying that these fake installations are always harmful. But the fact is, most of the times they are harmful which should be considered at the highest priority.

These fake video player updates can have the following purposes:

  1. They can be ads which are offered by the adware programs installed on your computer profiting the program developers per download or through affiliate income.
  2. The scariest purpose can be that these adware programs can expose your computer to cybercriminals who can easily steal your personal information and data files without your permission and any notification.
  3. To earn ransom from you for the decryption key needed to decrypt the encrypted files by their Trojan Horse virus.

By now, you might be thinking what are these adware programs and how to protect your computer from their attacks. Continue reading to get your questions answered.

What are the adware programs?

OS X Adware popup

The adware programs are the free applications created specially for Windows operating system which are essential for every person. These can be available in the form of add-ons, browser extensions, Windows installer and various other forms.

How do these fake updates affect your computer?

As already discussed, these malicious software is available in various forms like Windows installer, browser extensions, add-ons, and many more. The effect depends upon the kind of software that is installed on the computer.

1. Windows installer

This kind of software can steal your computer’s information and hand it over to the hackers without letting you know about the suspicious activity going in the background. Hackers can even monitor your computer remotely which means, if they find that you are not working on your computer then they can access it remotely and perform any task they like to.

Sniperspy screenshot

To prevent this, we recommend that you use special software like SniperSpy. It is a remote monitoring application which allows you to access your computer from any location and check if someone uses your computer without your permission. SniperSpy is available for Windows and OS X.

2. Browser extensions

Web browsers are the mostly used software on any computer in today’s world and it comes as no surprise they are infected most frequently. They can be infected by the .exe files and even with the browser extensions. You might try to deactivate or delete the extensions but still the malicious activity happens because of the temporary files stored on your computer.

Priceless extension popups

One example is “PriceLess” extension which displays popup ads and banners. Sometimes such fake extensions redirect you to the phishing website of their choice.

How to protect you computer from these attacks?

There are several ways to protect your computer. Let’s discuss them one by one.

1. Sign up for premium internet security software

The best way to protect your computer from these kind of harmful programs and many more other malicious activities lurking in every dark corner of the internet is by installing premium versions of popular antivirus and internet security software which have the latest virus definitions.

Luckily, on our blog we covered AVG and Avast, two of the most popular internet security applications. Make sure to check out our reviews. You can install free versions of AVG or Avast, test them out and then sign up for truly thorough premium security in paid versions.

2. Set up firewall

It is most recommended that you set up firewall in your operating system settings. Firewall is an application which permits incoming and outgoing connections based on your preferences for each app installed on your computer.

Besides system firewall, there is some third party software available. For example, Comodo Firewall. It is a free program for Windows machines which protects your computer against malicious communication very effectively.

3. Install special cleaners

If you found some malicious applications on your computer, you definitely want to get rid of them as soon as possible. For that, we recommend you to use malicious software scanners which scan your computer deeply and delete all the infected entries after your permission. Some of the popular applications of this kind are Roguekiller, AdwCleaner and Junkware Removal Tool.

4. Use browser extensions to block harmful code

Adblock Plus installed screenshot

Adblock Plus is an essential ad blocking extension available free of cost for FireFox, Chrome and other browsers. This extension blocks all types of online ads before the webpage even loads. Also, it can remove social media buttons from the pages you browse, block known malware domains and disable ad companies tracking. Very useful.

5. Be cautious about what you download

This point refers to your mental awareness while you are on the websites that show fake video player updates. Always check the website address before downloading any updates because hackers can clone the legitimate site but cannot get legitimate URLs.

How to detect and remove the adware programs?

1. Check installed programs and remove adware

The very first step is to check all the installed applications on your computer. If you find any adware or freeware installed, remove it using special software uninstallers like iObit Uninstaller.

2. Check your extensions and addons

List of Extensions

Various modern browsers support extensions and addons to provide extra functionality in their app as per user’s need. Check all the installed extensions and addons and disable the ones you haven’t installed or don’t use frequently.

3. Install CCleaner Pro

CCleaner is a system cleaning software which scans all the unnecessary files on your PC and deletes it with your permission. Moreover, it helps to delete all the temporary files of the browser automatically on daily basis keeping the system secure and stable.

4. Reset browser settings

Reset settings in browser

If you are unable to find the adware or you have uninstalled and deleted all the adware and extensions from your system but still you are facing the same problem, then you need to reset your browser settings to defaults. This will delete all the temporary and cached files of the browser as well as your browsing history.

5. Check your Task Manager

Task Manager malicious process

Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc and check all the processes running in Task Manager. End the process or task if you find something fishy going on. 

Conclusion

Adware and freeware programs play with your privacy settings. They can attract you in every possible way so that you click on them. These can be available in any form of Windows applications and browser addons. It’s time for you to act smart and protect yourself from the hackers’ blackhat minds.

[Credits of the photo used for the featured image: “intense woman at work-2200125” by jseliger2, used under CC BY / Color filters added, image cropped, mixed with other image]

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