Uninstalling Apps in Windows 10

Windows often fills with malware and junk when kids are trying to install games. These are often “browser helpers,” alternative browsers, or other search tools. To fix these junked up computers, many users install more malware that is pretending to be helpful software.

Much of the software can not be removed using the standard “Add or remove programs” tool built into Windows. That’s when I turn to Geek Uninstaller, a lightweight tool that can force the removal of pernicious software and related traces left in the operating system registry.

Fake Websites

There are lots of fake websites out there designed to fool you into thinking they’re real. Sometimes they’re sites that you’re sent to because your system has been compromised, such as through DNS Malware. Other times they’re just mistyped URL’s. I recently typed “yourube” instead of “youtube” and got this:

First Real Malware for Mac


Flashback is the first malware (malicious software or virus) for the Mac that people should worry about. It can infect computers through a vulnerability in Java. It’s estimated that 600,000 Macs have been infected, about 1% of Macs in use. Flashback collects personal information such as bank and login information. To see if your Mac is already infected, follow the instructions from Macworld.

Unlike with Windows PCs, this phenomena is new to Macs. The closest previous infection I remember was when a torrent version of Apple iWork ’09 contained a trojan. But that just impacted people who downloaded the pirated torrent. Flashback is far worse since someone can get it by just visiting a website.


It’s easy to protect yourself against malware and viruses on a Mac. There is no need to buy anti-virus software which doesn’t really help much on a Mac. Instead, take these steps that deal with the exploits of Java and Flash.

1. Perform Software Update

Apple’s updates automatically patch Java and remove Flashback. Open System Preferences and go to Software Update, Check Now.

2. Disable Java in any web browser you use

Go to the menu item:
Preferences -> Security -> Web Content
Uncheck Enable Java

Go to the URL:
Click Disable for Java

Go to the menu item:
Tools -> Add-ons
Click on Plugins and click Disable for the Java Applet Plug-in

3. Install a Flash Blocker

My favorite is ClickToFlash, the Safari Extension which gives you access to Flash content if you click on the Flash window. This has the additional benefit of hiding annoying Flash ads.

Another tool I use is FlashFrozen, available for $0.99 through the Mac App Store. This handles all Flash running on your computer. It is especially useful for Mac laptops which can have their batteries quickly run down by errant Flash sites.


UPDATE: Oracle (the owners of Java) have released their own Java updates now. If you have Java installed on your system, you should get the latest Java SE Development Kit from here:
After installing, go to Utilities – Java Preference. From there, drag the latest Java to the top. As of this writing, that is Java SE 7. Uncheck the older Java versions. The next time you start a program that uses Java, it will now use the newer Oracle Java that has the latest security patches.

PC Malware Infections on the Rise

The Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR) outlines PC security threats and is based on data captured by Microsoft. Here is a download to the latest volume, covering the first half of 2010.

Much of the report covers recent botnets. Botnets start when a virus infects a computer, either through spam or an infected web page. The virus puts the Windows machine under the control of the botnet, typically run by criminal syndicates. The report explains how criminals use and share your information.

Viruses are on the rise. In the three months between April and June 2010, Microsoft cleaned up more than 6.5 million infections, twice as much as the same period in 2009.

This chart shows the number of computers cleaned by Microsoft, listed by country.

This map illustrates the percentage of computers infected in particular regions. The infection rate was highest in South Korea where 14.6 out of every 1000 machines were found to be enrolled in botnets.

Stay Safe

As always, be sure to run Windows Updates and some form of Anti-virus. I prefer the free Microsoft Security Essentials, which I find to be just as effective but less of a memory hog than anti-virus by Symantec or McAfee.

Or you can just use a Mac which has had almost no threats. The only real-world attack that I know of for the Mac was a Trojan-infected version of Apple iWork that you would get from a pirated torrent download site. Besides that, the only Mac threats have been proof-of-concept attacks developed by researchers but never used.

Antivirus XP 2008 Is Bogus

A recent Sterling, Virginia customer got hit by a fake warning that her computer had been infected by a virus. But it was just a pop-up browser window that, when clicked, actually installed malware on her computer. To add insult to injury, the malware installed is called Antivirus XP 2008. So you think it’s there to help you when in fact it IS the infection.

Antivirus XP 2008 shows a list of files that it claims are infected on your computer. See that the icons used are the same as those used by Windows. If you register the “anti-virus” software in an attempt to fix your computer, the bad guys will have your credit card information.

On other computers, I have seen Antivirus XP 2008 installed on the Windows Desktop background so that your wallpaper background always gave you a warning.

This has become a common computer problem. It is an easy scam to fall for because it looks very close to a real Windows warning.

This is an effective social engineering scam because people are scared of viruses and have grown accustomed to following any computer-generated prompts to remove them.

For this particular computer, I booted into Windows Safe mode and ran Malwarebyte’s Anti-malware program which is free for a couple of weeks use. Luckily the infection could be removed. In some cases, the malware can actually take over all administrator rights to the computer and rewrite the operating system to the extent that the only real alternative is to save your personal files and reinstall Windows.