Is Error: 0x8007042C real or fake?

0x8007042C error

All Windows OS users are used to various errors – from simple missing file error to the notorious blue screen of death, we have seen it all. However, you should keep in mind that those errors not always are real and you should keep an eye on it – following instructions provided by fake error report might lead you to terrible consequences.

Unfortunately, things are not that easy when it comes to recognising whether the error message is real or it is just an attempt to scam you. Cyber criminals take advantage of it and make this as confusing as possible.

This leads us to the main question of this post – is  Error: 0x8007042C on Windows operating system legitimate warning message or it is just a scam?

Never trust error messages on web browsers

The answer to the message is above is both yes and no – it all depends on where you noticed the error message. As it is suggested by official [ref name=”Microsoft support page” url=”https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2530126/-0x8007042c-error-message-when-you-try-to-start-windows-firewall”], it is a valid error code that you can get due to some troubles trying to launch a firewall. So if you experience this error while trying to launch a firewall, the message is completely legitimate and you can rely on it.

However, there is other possible case – as described by cyber security researchers at 2-viruses.com, “Error: 0x8007042C” is a tech scam. This tech scam appears while you are browsing the Internet and offers you to call a specific phone number to solve the problem.

As you can see, hackers are exploiting possibilities to use actual error messages codes to trick users and force them to perform some kind of action.

How one should know whether the error code is legitimate or just a scam? Golden rule is to never trust error messages that appears on websites. You should know that websites can’t examine your computer and report about errors found on it, therefore those messages are clearly fake. Moreover, you should avoid any error messages suggesting you to call numbers or install software that is not originally from Microsoft or other well-known and reliable source. Most of the time they are just trying to rip you off by selling some assistance or software that you do not really need.

Advanced Mac Cleaner Review

Advanced Mac Cleaner Review

There are various speculations online whether Advanced Mac Cleaner is legitimate cyber security software for Macs or it is just an unwanted software that tries to scam users and charge them for nothing?

Probably the best way to find it out is to take a look at the feedback from users themselves. For instance, there is a question on official Apple discussions forum about Advanced Mac Cleaner and continuous advertisements suggesting that one should install it:

Adcanced mac cleaner question

As you can see, almost 5000 other users noted that they also have this question, so you can suspect that this software is promoted really intensively.

Majority of users replied that this software is just a scam and you should never even think about getting it. Let’s take a look at why it is so.

Advanced Mac Cleaner can’t keep their promises

This particular piece of software is supposed to speed up your Mac and clean it from trash files that you don’t really need. It sounds realistic – there are more than a few options of various free and paid tools that can do that for you, such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for mac or Adwaremedic for Mac. However, Advanced Mac Cleaner is not in this list of legitimate applications for your Apple device.

As described by cyber security researchers at 2-viruses.com, Advanced Mac Cleaner is categorised as PUP (potentially unwanted program) and “there are tons of negative reviews of this application online and most of them are regarding the way this application is distributed”.

First thing that you are not going to like – the way it is installed on your computer. Most of the time this program is suggested after the warning message that your Mac is infected is displayed. It is a straight forward lie – they just try to convince users that their computers are infected and suggest a “solution” to this problem.

More to that, Advanced Mac Cleaner is not functioning as it should. it will barely remove any trash or speed up your computer. Instead of that, you will be offered a live tech-support which will cost you money. While the program itself is free, they monetise it selling this support feature. The truth is 9 times out of 10 you don’t really need support.

So is it worth installing Advanced Mac Cleaner? Definitely not. It might not damage your computer, but it will definitely try to lure money and display you information that is not correct.

Astromenda.com virus is an annoying browser hijacker

There are thousands of browser hijackers to avoid. However, there are several developers, responsible for the majority of the most successful hijackware parasites. For instance, developers of Astromenda.com virus have created numerous other hijackers which have also managed to gain some success around the Web. In the case of Astromenda.com infection, it is the most popular in United States and Brazil.

You should be well-aware of browser hijackers and their irritating habits. First of all, these infections are secretly installed into operating systems. After that, browsers’ preferences are modified, and this change includes home pages, default search providers and new tab pages. All of the positions are going to be occupied by infections like Astromenda.com hijacker.

Astromenda.com virus

Also, browser hijackers can frequently have elements of spyware infections. These intrusive parasites will aim to collect information about its users and use it for more personalized marketing strategies. However, since this gathered information might be shared with unreliable parties, your computer screen could be filled with malicious or deceptive promotional content. If you click on such disturbing material, your computer might be compromised by malware. Astromenda.com virus is also very dangerous as the website does not use SSL protocol. By not encrypting information, a website risks users’ information. It could be stolen during transit.

Therefore, using a website that can allow hackers to reach your personal data is not recommended. In addition to this, Astromenda.com hijacker could be requiring to have access to your Google or Facebook accounts. Make sure to not synchronize your accounts for your own safety. Furthermore, you should notice an increased number of online advertisements. It is clear that an unknown search engine will trigger some promotional content, but the amount can become very inconvenient. We suggest you to remove this infection as soon as possible. Since the parasite is also very active in Brazil, make sure to check out the removal options in a more appropriate language.

File Spider ransomware: what is it?

Security researchers are finding new frightening malware samples daily, and on 10th of December, they stumbled upon a rather intimidating variant. Dubbed as File Spider ransomware, the infection belongs to the group of malware which encodes users’ digital files and demand fees for their decryption. The detected virus was noticed to arrive into operating systems through malicious spam campaigns.

The sent malicious Word documents contained information in the Bosnian language, but that is not the only thing that these files consisted of. Sadly, they had hidden macro codes which were activated as soon as users clicked “Enable Editing” button. After this short decision, PowerShell to download the deceptive payload of File Spider crypto-virus will run. So, with this easy trick, the spotted ransomware is targeting Balkan region and hoping to play out their strategies successfully.

File Spider ransomware

The ransomware appends .spider extension to all encoded data. Therefore, it is not difficult to recognize this infection from the sea of crypto-viruses that we have seen. As soon as the infection is settled, it will show a warning message. For victims’ comfort, it will adapt to the languages, set in the affected computers. The extortionists also control a TOR website, containing their significant symbol: a spider.

While this ransomware infection is wreaking users’ files, you should pay attention to your own cyber security. If you have not become a victim of any crypto-infections, you should consider yourself very lucky. Catching a ransomware virus nowadays is just as easy as catching a cold: all you have to do is visit contagious areas. For instance, you could interact with an infectious pop-up or an email and end up infecting. However, in the case of ransomware, the cure is going to be very pricy and might not even work.

If you want to be properly protected from ransomware infections, we suggest you to backup your digital data in online storages. If you do not pursue this task, you could risk losing all of it to a ransomware virus. File Spider might be the talk of the day, but there are numerous other variants circulating all around you.

You can never known which website is going to get hacked and injected with malicious codes. You can never be sure which online ads might be delivering malicious payloads into your operating system. The only thing you can be sure of is that your files are safely uploaded into a backup storage. With this in mind, you will never have to consider paying ransoms to vicious extortionists.

All that you should know about QkG Ransomware

qkG virus is officially listed as a ransomware infection, however, it is rather untypical one. First and foremost – it is targeting specifically word documents. To be more specific, this ransomware infection is not looking for word documents that are already on your computer – they are targeting Microsoft Word’s default template. The template is used to form every single new document on your computer, therefore every new file will eventually be encrypted.

QKG Infection

This infection is definitely unique, because it operates using methods that are not common for other ransomware families. It’s on of the few viruses that are targeting specific document type and employing malicious macro codes. In most cases ransomware only use macros to download the files needed for the virus to be installed.

In fact this ransomware is so smart, that once inside of your system it will automatically lower security settings on Microsoft Word, thus it won’t ask to enable macros next time you open it, so the virus could successfully encrypt even more files. Cyber security researchers from 2-viruses.com made a guide how to deal with this QkG ransomware and avoid similar infections in the future, so if you are infected with this virus or simply concerned about your security online, we highly recommend reading it.

You might also be familiar with the fact that usually ransomware is adding unique extensions to encrypted files. However, in this case things are different – file name and extension will remain unchanged.

Moreover, it seems like this ransomware is still in the beta or development mode, thus it’s possible that once cyber criminals finish their job, QkG ransomware will be capable of encrypting more file types or causing other sorts of cyber security problems. As for now, it is exclusively targeted to Microsoft Word documents, demanding 300 USD as a ransom.

As always, if you are looking to stay away from trouble online, make sure that your computer is protected with a real-time anti-malware security and always pay attention to the files that you are downloading to your computer from the Internet – whether it’s an attachment to the email or some sort of software you decided to install after noticing a banner advertisement on the web.

Matrix ransomware returns with more vengeance than ever

Unexpectedly, October turned out to be a rather busy month for ransomware specialists. The hight-point of this month was definitely the fuss, triggered by Bad Rabbit ransomware infection.

However, right about the time when the situation settled down a bit and some of the victims were inspired by the hope of decrypting at least a part of their documents: a new crypto-malware decided to return.

It is called Matrix ransomware and its first steps were taken back in 2016. However, at that time, security researchers did not pay a lot of information on this threat.

Matrix ransomware

Why? The crypto-malware was distributed in a passive way and researchers did not see an urgent matter to investigate it any further. This mistake came back to bite cyber security specialists in April of 2017: Matrix virus managed to employ RIG exploit kit for its distribution.

Now, in October of 2017, Matrix ransomware decided to make an unexpected appearance. A researchers from Malwarebytes was the first to report an increased activity of the infection. Later on, more and more information began circulating. It was determined that the infection spreads via malvertising.

This means that malicious advertisements are transmitting the ransomware. Furthermore, Matrix ransomware was determined to be exploiting vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash Player and Internet Explorer. Thankfully, both of these software tools have received updates, fixing those issues.

Matrix crypto-malware appends a long extension: .pyongyan001@yahoo.com. Furthermore, the names of encoded executables will also be transformed. You will no longer be able to tell files apart. One of the most frightening aspects of Matrix infection is that it attempts to intimidate victims.

People are accused of accessing website with pornography, abuse and other illegal material. However, these statements are done without any evidence and most of the people are being wrongfully accused.

Do not be frightened. If are being instructed to pay ransoms, please realize that this action is not recommended. Hackers might be planning to disappear after the ransoms end up in their bitcoin wallets. Therefore, it is better to contact ransomware specialists and ask for their assistance and recommendations.

If you are worried about your cybersecurity, please bear in mind that you have to back up your files. If you do not want to end up being in a very difficult situation after your files are encrypted, please select an appropriate online storage. There is an alternative of simply putting all your files in USB flash drives.

Bad Rabbit ransomware strikes

You might have heard of ransomware viruses: some were weak, barely reaching users’ email accounts, and others hit the world with a loud “boom!”. More frightening infections were referred to by names of NotPetya or WannaCry: infections that managed to slither into computers from all over the world.

However, there are tons of less successful crypto-malware variants, mostly all of then based on Hidden Tear open source project, or contain some serious bugs, preventing them from fully encrypting data. This time we will discuss one of the exceptions. A ransomware infection that managed to do it all: bring fear into the cyber space once again.

Bad Rabbit ransomware

Even though Bad Rabbit ransomware virus has a silly name, it should not be underestimated. Over a course of a few days, it has become the focus of many social media sites and cybersecurity portals. It attracted so much attention due to the fact that it managed to infect such utilities like airports and other business enterprises.

Bad Rabbit virus displays the exact same screen locker that NotPetya did. However, these viruses are not so comparable as it seems from the first glance. Bad Rabbit initiates redirection and uses AES algorithm. Furthermore, it encodes the decryption key with RSA-2048 cipher.

One of the most disturbing facts about this ransomware is its distribution method. Even though random Adobe Flash Player updates are considered unreliable for a very long time now, some still fail to recognize the threat. Hackers simply invaded some websites and made sure that domains would automatically present propositions to for Flash Update. As you can see, many people swallowed the bait and became infected.

Currently, it is difficult to say whether decryption of this Bad Rabbit infection will ever be possible. It could have damaged files beyond restoration. Nevertheless, it is important not to lose hope and believe in security researchers. However, do not do anything rash while researchers are investigating the newly-detected infection. Paying ransom of 0.05 BTC might not solve your problems as the authors can disappear after the ransoms are paid. Do not waste 275 dollars for an option that might not even help you.

Throwback Friday: Tgmgo.com virus

Some browser hijackers have no intention of concluding their activity and stepping back. Tgmgo.com infection is one of them: even though it is already counting its seven birthday, it does not plan to retire or leave the game. It is clearly a malware parasite as it is even related with other browser hijackers.

If your browsers’ preferences have suddenly became occupied by this specific search platform, it is important that you decide on the best option for its removal. We recommend installing an anti-malware tool which will detect all malware parasites in your operating system.

Tgmgo.com virus

Symptoms of a browser hijacker infection:

1. Your browser preferences no longer foster the websites you selected. In addition to this, modifications you make do not last for long. The suspicious invader returns as soon as your reboot your device.
2. You constantly see online advertisements in forms of pop-unders, pop-ups, banners, in-text ads. All of this content disrupts your browsing and makes it impossible for you to enjoy your usual online activities.
3. Your results to search queries are delivered in bizarre domains. In some cases, browser hijackers do not have individual search platforms and are made to influence the legitimate services with sponsored content.
4. You notice that online ads are inspired by your recent browsing. This means that a browser hijacker is collecting information about you and sending it to unknown third-party sources.
5. Unknown applications and browser extensions are being installed into your operating system, without your permission, of course. In some instances, rogue browser extension can enable one very important setting: the one allowing automatic installation of programs.
6. When you attempt to visit another search platform like Google or Yahoo, the suspicious search platform is introduced instead.
7. You are still infected with a parasite of hijackware even if only your new tab page is influenced. This means that the infection is made to only influence one of the main preferences (new tab, in some cases together with the start page).

Bundling: can Uncheckit really help people avoid potentially unwanted programs?

We are sure that you have installed programs into your operating system at least once in your life. Once Setup Wizards are in full action, people tend to quickly pass all of the steps and never pay attention to EULA or Privacy Policies even though these documents are extremely important. In this time of need, developers often can think of ways of helping people and assisting them.

Therefore, programs like Uncheckit had started to circulate around the web and imply their advantages. This tool proclaimed to automatically uncheck boxes that enumerate lists of recommended software applications. However, little did some people know that Uncheckit itself was going to be classified among adware infections.

Unchekit spywarerid

Currently, in October of 2017, the activity of this application has been fully concluded. It has been removed from multiple file-sharing websites for being indicated as malicious/potentially unwanted. Attention to this deceptive tool was drawn after security forums started to fill up with reports from confused users. They all claimed that Uncheckit arrived into operating systems without authorization.

However, even though this tool no longer has an official distributor, it still could be that vicious developers include it into installations of other software tools. Therefore, it could be best to refuse Uncheckit adware if it appears among the recommended software applications. Why? Well, the tool was noticed to act as a regular ad-based tool. This means that users reported increased numbers of advertisements. The fact that most of the adverts contained deceptive information was also not a helpful factor for the owners of this tool.

If you wish to protect your operating system from malware or potentially unwanted programs, we have a few recommendations. Be patient and read Eula documents, together with Privacy Policies. They can include some enlightening information about the tools you are about to prepare for usage. In addition to this, avoid installing programs from unknown or little-known sources. Third-party software tools can often be promoted in distributors that pay little attention to the quality of promoted tools.

Issues with identical browser hijackers

It is no news that Polarity Technologies Ltd. has introduced disturbing amounts of browser hijackers that look the same. Knock-off search platforms increase the possibilities for profit as much more people will be being directed to websites or ads that bring revenues for Eighpoint Technologies Ltd (a.k.a Polarity). However, this is far from being the only example we can think of when speaking of identical browser hijackers.

Startgo123.com and Search.mpc.am both look the same. Therefore, we presume that both of these rogue search platforms are created by the same developers. However, we do not known which company is responsible for them. Another suspicious feature is that they do not have EULA documents nor Privacy Policies.

Startgo123.com spywarerid

Users won’t be able to learn about the conditions of the usage which might include some disturbing terms. For instance, a browser hijacker might be capable of collecting users’ personally-identifiable information and sell it to unknown third-parties. This is when the threat of identity theft becomes very real.

Furthermore, there are other repercussions that have to be feared because of an infiltration of a browser hijacker. Your browsing activities might be bothered by constant redirection to unknown domains. This becomes a very dangerous activity because people face a possibility of being transferred to malware-laden, phishing and other types of fraudulent domains.

It is important to learn about the best ways how a browser hijacker should be avoided. First of all, it is is crucial to be prepared in case a malware parasite slithers into an operating system. For instance, always remember that anti-malware tools are a wise choice when it comes to securing computers from malware. If you will have a solid protection, then viruses will have to try harder to slither in.

Also, it is essential for people to update all of their software programs and operating systems themselves. Zero-day and vulnerabilities of other level of severity are discovered very frequently.

Therefore, it is important to take advantage of these updates as soon as they become available. If you won’t do this, then your operating system will be exposed to all sorts of intrusion. One of them is definitely considered a possibility of getting infected with a browser hijacker.