2023-03 PUP (Malware)

So here’s another update. I came across this recently at a client. They were saying their McAfee antivirus and Microsoft Office kept asking for renewal.

Please take note that at the bottom of each page is the text – “Powered by PC App Store” – in very small print. If you’re not aware of this, you may end up giving your card information to some unscrupulous third party. They also give you no means of closing the nag screen.

For those who can – technically apt or can follow instructions – reboot the system in SAFE MODE and delete the folder with all related files.

It will be found under your user profile folder – most likely C:\Users\MyUserProfile\PCAppStore.

Replace the “MyUserProfile” with your username – or just browse to C:\Users\ and find your profile. Delete the PCAppStore folder once there in SAFE MODE – then reboot normally.

An issue I’ve seen with Windows 11 is the failure to reboot normally. If you come across this – follow these instructions.

SAFE MODE is typically characterized by the words “SAFE MODE” being seen in the four corners of the screen.

Click on the start menu and type the word “MSCONFIG” without quotes.

Click OPEN or click on SYSTEM CONFIGURATION. You should then have the available options seen below. Just ensure it’s set to NORMAL STARTUP and you should be fine. Reboot after the settings look similar to below.

Once you reboot – the system should be back to normal. Check to verify that the malware is no longer loading.

PUP = Potentially Unwanted Program.

Malware = Any software with malicious intent.

There are various tools that can catch and clean malware, but there are times when new variations arrive that aren’t detected. Not immediately at least. Where this one is concerned – I’ve submitted the infected files to Microsoft and other AV vendors. The scans from Microsoft did not find anything. That makes this kind of malware even more dangerous. Most persons as well may not see the fine-print. As an end user, you’ll need to be aware of what you’re subscribed to or have paid for. When in doubt – have a tech check it out.