Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Web of Trust produces videos on PC "cleansing" products

Web of Trust is producing a series of videos about how some “computer cleansing” products, advertised with search engines, seem to be fraudulent.

One such product is PC Doc Pro. WOT loaded a machine with Windows Vista Ultimate with no other programs except the regular Microsoft updates and Internet connection. PC Doc Pro found over 500 “problems”, some of which it would fix “free,” the rest for a “trial” for $29.95. The video (about 5 minutes) shows how WOT works with search engines, in a manner comparable to McAfee SiteAdvisor. The filmmaking technique itself is interesting, making computer application sequences visually interesting enough to be suitable for a short documentary film festival entry. The link for this first WOT video is here. When I viewed it, it loaded a little slower than YouTube usually does.

WOT president Deborah Salmi gives these networking contacts:

I've written before on this blog about "fake anti-virus" programs, such as XPAntivirus. Some of them may appear as links to legitimate searches, often on overseas sites of sites not yet reviewed by SiteAdvisor, WOT, or any similar service. Some security advisors recommend doing a ctl-atl-del (not even "canceling" the application) to look at all running processes and not using the computer until it is thoroughly checked. This has happened twice to me, and I have never found that anything was downloaded or any registry key added or changed, and have found no problems with subsequent McAfee scans, since I did not allow the operation to continue. Fake sites (those that appear to have legitimate URL's ending in "html" but intending to load malware) may become a more serious problem, as demonstrated with the domain name controversy at the recent Las Vegas Black Hat convention.

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