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Old 04-06-2014, 08:05 PM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,874 posts, read 13,803,737 times
Reputation: 29048

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Last year I installed a new hard drive on my HP Pavilion dv6 laptop, on which I am running Windows 7. I immediately installed security software. I chose Avast because it was recommended to me by several people I think know more about computers than I do. Also, I read reviews and many rated it the best free security software. For the first year it was, indeed, fine for me, too. I was told that after a year I should uninstall Avast and install the 2014 version. That date came up this weekend, so I did as I was told. I uninstalled the version I had and immediately installed the new version.

Things are no longer the same on my computer.

First of all I am plagued by multiple messages daily insisting that I need to buy an Avast product called Optimizer Pro. These ad messages tell me I have thousands of viruses and malware (which, if true, I got while running Avast software last year!) which cannot be removed unless I add this product. Yet when I Googled for reviews of Optimer Pro they almost all say it's a rip off, don't get it, the horror stories about how many viruses I have is a lie, etc. C-Net says Avast is still good but Optimizer Pro is unnecessary. These ads say I have to sign up to get this product, yet when I checked my computer, there it is, already listed as a program installed.

Second, the minute my installation of 2014 Avast was complete, the AdBlock I had on Firefox disappeared and pop-up ads all all types started pouring in. I immediately re-installed AdBlock Plus, but I'm still getting some pop ups. The most prevalent are sent from something called "FriendChecker," which also seems to be responsible for a bunch of other annoying things that keep appearing. For instance in every text, words and phrases have been turned into links connected to "FriendsChecker." When I looked up this thing I have never heard of, it's said to be something from Facebook. Firefox says if I have it, it was installed on Firefox by malware. I don't even have a Facebook account and I didn't have this malware issue the day before I installed the new Avast. I'll run Malwarebytes Anti-Malware but am I right in feeling this is a gift from Avast? Should I run any other checks like Kaspersky or SpyBot?

Even Google was messed up. The preferences I'm registered for were all removed and I had to reinstall them. One of my registrations from a website I read daily was deleted (but all others I've checked were left alone).

I don't use IE myself, but some of my guests, who occasionally use this computer, want it, so I have it on here. I'm afraid to even go there to see what's going on.

Should I just dump this Avast (which still seems to have good reviews). If so, any recommendations on what I should replace it with? Prior to Avast I used Norton because my telecom provider gave it to me for free. But people kept telling me Avast was as good or better.

Any advice?
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:32 PM
 
Location: Not.here
2,828 posts, read 3,670,650 times
Reputation: 2355
I would uninstall Optimizer Pro and see if that makes a difference.

Btw, the uninstaller program that I use is the free Revo Uninstaller. It cleans up a lot of the junk that's usually left behind when the conventional MS uninstall is done.
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:56 PM
 
Location: Marcellus, NY
22 posts, read 32,889 times
Reputation: 34
I have Avast. I had some issues with it when I got a new computer and transferred my avast subscription. I contacted them and they were very helpful.
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:31 PM
 
Location: Hawaii-Puna District
3,753 posts, read 9,999,152 times
Reputation: 2456
You were and are, running the free version of Avast!. It does not check for malware. You most likely had the malware before, but for whatever reason, was not causing issues. Download Malwarebytes from download.com and install only the free version. Let it update, then boot up in safe mode and run it. Delete everything it says it finds.
The newer versions of Adblock plus, by default, allow what they call "some unobtrusive advertising" to get by. Change the settings on Adblock plus to remove that by unchecking the box for it.
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:41 PM
 
1,107 posts, read 1,934,081 times
Reputation: 1574
read this:

Security Showdown 2014 | PCWorld

and this:

http://www.techradar.com/us/news/sof...-rated-1057786
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:40 AM
 
Location: Caverns measureless to man...
7,260 posts, read 4,844,965 times
Reputation: 16521
That Friendschecker crap is a particularly troublesome piece of malware; not technically a virus, but every bit as bad, IMO. No, you didn't get it from Avast, but (depending on where you downloaded Avast) you may have gotten it at the same time. It typically comes bundled with other software at a lot of download sites - CNet, for example, is notorious for including it in their freeware.

The bad news is, it's very difficult to get rid of. Most antivirus programs won't automatically remove it, because it writes some files directly into your registry, so that even after you "clean" it from your system, it just reinstalls next time you boot. I've heard that Revo Uninstaller is effective at completely cleaning it out, but when I had it I had to remove it manually. As I recall, it was a two-step process - I had to uninstall it from every browser I have on my computer (because it writes itself into every browser you have installed, not just the one you were using when you downloaded it) and then clean it manually from the registry. I would do some extensive googling for "remove friendschecker" and find a method that you're comfortable applying yourself. I think this one is pretty close to the process I followed (in spite of its poor English), but it's been a while and I don't recall exactly. Alternatively, this one may be effective as well.

Whatever you do, do not use the instructions at friendschecker.com to remove it. They deliberately mislead you, and if you follow their recommended procedure, you won't fully remove it from your registry. Good luck - you've got an hour or two's worth of work ahead of you, but once you've got it done right, it should be done for good.
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Old 04-07-2014, 05:37 AM
 
10,752 posts, read 17,997,204 times
Reputation: 10244
Unless Avast has recently and dramatically changed, none of that stuff is from Avast. Optimizer pro and friendchecker are definitely not. As has been suggested you have a malware infection (more than one actually) that needs to be cleaned up. Start by running Malwarebytes as suggested.
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Old 04-08-2014, 03:24 PM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,874 posts, read 13,803,737 times
Reputation: 29048
Quote:
Originally Posted by NHDave View Post
Unless Avast has recently and dramatically changed, none of that stuff is from Avast. Optimizer pro and friendchecker are definitely not. As has been suggested you have a malware infection (more than one actually) that needs to be cleaned up. Start by running Malwarebytes as suggested.
I didn't mean to imply I thought Avast put this malware in my computer. But since I was running Avast as my daily protection program, it obviously didn't stop these troublesome programs from attaching themselves. I do run Malwarebytes regularly so these programs must have been installed since I ran it the last time. But it seems a very weird coincidence that I would not see the very obvious effects of these programs until the very day I reinstalled Avast.
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Old 04-08-2014, 03:28 PM
 
10,752 posts, read 17,997,204 times
Reputation: 10244
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jukesgrrl View Post
I didn't mean to imply I thought Avast put this malware in my computer. But since I was running Avast as my daily protection program, it obviously didn't stop these troublesome programs from attaching themselves.
Most AV apps won't, they aren't viruses or trojans, more along the lines of rogue software or PUP's.
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