Of all the variants of malware and adware, SmitFraud is one of the most invasive and destructive. It’s almost impossible to detect, and it will make copies of itself and attach those copies to files that run at computer start-up. Getting rid of SmitFraud is also no picnic, and for the average user will require antispyware software.
What is SmitFraud?
SmitFraud is a form of spyware that installs itself undetected by the user, usually after one downloads a fake codec such as BrainCodec, PCodec or VideoKeyCodec. Once installed, SmitFraud will change the computer’s desktop background to an error message or the “Blue Screen of Death,” which is in fact as scary as it sounds.
Then the malware programs will begin showing the computer user pop-up ads to the effect that their computer is infected (Duh, right?). The unsuspecting user who clicks on these ads will be directed to a website claiming to sell antispyware software.
Some of the fake programs that have been exposed are Spylocked, Spydawn, SpySheriff, SpyAxe and Spyware Quake, among others. They will run a fake “system scan” on your machine, detect all kinds of viruses and malware, and then inform the user that he or she must pay a fee before the program will remove the malicious bugs.
If the user does pay, the screen will often return to normal and the scan will show up clear, but it’s really offering a false sense of security, because the SmitFraud programs are still lurking in your system registry, ready to launch their malicious programs the next time you boot your machine.
How Do I Remove SmitFraud?
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to erase SmitFraud malware. This family is one of the most virulent, copying itself hundreds of times and attaching bugs to your start-up and registry files. Because it is associated with the computer booting up, and attaches itself and its copies to your RAM, SmitFraud malware doesn’t show up in regular virus scans. Really the best way to rid yourself of SmitFraud is to avoid being infected with it in the first place.
If your computer has been infected, and you aren’t a fairly savvy user, it’s best to take it in to a professional so they can clean out the infected RAM and registry files. If you do know what you’re doing, you can boot your computer into Linux (a free operating system available online) or DOS. From there, you will be able to see the infected files and remove SmitFraud by hand.
What Does SmitFraud Look Like?
Smitfraud can cause system crashes, files to become inaccessible, damaged files and the aforementioned changes to background settings. It can also block access to websites and generate bogus warning messages that encourage you to download a particular (malicious) program to solve your computer crisis.
While many pop-ups and ads claim to identify and remove spyware from your computer, some of them do just the opposite. It’s a good idea to log onto forums and discussion boards to see if anyone has had trouble downloading software from a particular website before you do it.
Never click to download and install anything that pops up on your screen telling you they have identified spyware on your computer; reputable spyware companies don’t operate that way and have no access to your computer files.
Using common sense is a good start. However, to adequately protect yourself, your computer and your wallet from computer repair costs, invest in a good anti-spyware program. The minimal cost is more than worth the security you’ll gain.