I just concluded a brief, 3-day tenure of employment with a tech support company that specializes in fixing general computer problems in which the agent remotely connects to the customer’s computer for the necessary troubleshooting and repair. Afterwards the customer is slapped with a hefty bill for services rendered. The most troubling part of this process is that the tools the agents use are actually freely available on the Web and capable of repairing malware and slow speed issues without the large expense. I list these tools here.
- CCleaner – Probably the most popular cleaning utility online.
- Malwarebytes Anti-Malware – This excellent malware scanner has saved me time and time again. As part of the services provided by this tech support company, a license to the premium version is purchased.
- Hitman Pro – Not a free program but its 30-day trial still kicks some mean malware butt.
- herdProtect – This free, cloud-based malware scanner uses 68 malware engines for an extremely thorough scan of your system. The agents use this tool after the trial period for Hitman Pro expires.
- Geek Uninstaller – Used to remove programs that cannot be uninstalled using normal methods. It’s free and requires no installation.
- AdwCleaner – A free, no-install malware scanner that removes unnecessary toolbars and browser hijackers. This one is used by agents at the next level of support.
- Revo Uninstaller – Another excellent free uninstaller that removes every last trace of programs it removes, including folders and registry entries. I’ve been using this at home for years. Also used by higher level support agents.
- Recuva – A free file undelete utility. I’ve used it myself and it’s worked wonders.
- Speccy – From the same company that made CCleaner and Recuva comes this handy, free system information utility that gives you a detailed report of what’s in your system.
There are some web sites used by agents in determining which programs to remove in the Add/Remove Programs window. Should I Remove It has a searchable database of programs and gives you a description of that program along with a number indicating the percentage of those users saying they would remove it. Anything with a rating above 50% definitely gets removed. Pacman’s Portal is another site used to identify malicious programs.
Should I Block It is a handy site used to determine if a certain process in the Task Manager is malicious. All these sites are freely accessible from all over the world, so this is hardly proprietary company information I’m exposing here.
You can either pay tech support companies $200 to install and run these programs for you or you can spend $25 for the premium version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and run the free tools yourself. No wonder this tech support company is growing so fast as they keep finding ignorant customers unaware of such a powerful arsenal of free tools at their disposal. You need not be one of them.