A CyberDefender By Any Other Name…

StopSign… FinallyFast… DoubleMySpeed…

I’m not sure whether I love these guys or hate them. On the one hand, they’re supposedly huge scams, which is not very awesome. On the other, they make ads like this one:

I just love the two younger guys who clearly realize the gig is a joke and try to have as much fun with it as possible. And you know some graphic artist snuck as many goofs into the ad as he could get under the radar, just for a laugh. Windows XP on Macs? Throw it in! Slow internet connection results in bluescreen? Totes legit. The blandest shmup in history? Yeah, we got that.

But the newest one I’m seeing is MyCleanPC. Or “MyCleanPeesa” — I’m not sure. Uncharacteristically, I’ve been watching a bunch of TV lately (G4 convinced me to pick up the remote again by wagging all those Bond flicks I hadn’t seen in front of my face (the clever temptress!)), and so far I’ve been inundated with ads for this thing. Basically, it’s a service that supposedly scans your computer for viruses and system errors. Except they won’t do anything about those viruses and errors until you pay for the software. And from the “research” I’ve done (research here means Googling for five minutes), it seems that most of the problems these programs identify aren’t things that actually slow your computer down. At all.

Okay. Cool.

So not only do all these “services” follow the same formula, but DoubleMySpeed and MyCleanPeesa are literally the same thing. Install either one; you’ll actually end up with a program called CyberDefender. What’s CyberDefender? Apparently “Home of MyCleanPC, MaxMySpeed (oh, I forgot that one in my list!), DoubleMySpeed, and LiveTech PC Support!” In other words, some company that keeps rebranding their product so they can ditch the bad reputation they’ve collected by duping people who don’t know much about computers.

I’d test it out myself, but I’ve avoided these things like the plague since time immemorial. It all began one day in my youth when I accidentally clicked on a link and ended up at StopSign’s website. This was long before I outfitted my browser to be an impenetrable fortress that eats suspicious websites for breakfast, and to my horror, StopSign’s entire suite of garish toolbars and useless virus scanners was deposited on my hard drive like the first cat poop in a freshly cleaned litter box.

I’m not sure where that metaphor came from. Where was I?

Right — StopSign. It installed a bunch of stuff on my computer without my permission, which honestly is probably the greatest sin you could commit on the internet. I uninstalled it all. When I rebooted, it was back. I uninstalled it again and deleted the remaining files. Rebooted; still there. Like the viruses it claimed to fight, it couldn’t be killed. In the end, I was forced to nuke the hard drive from orbit.

After that ordeal, I’ve always given these quick-fix sites as wide a berth as possible. I’d suggest you do the same. But feel free to enjoy their commercials; they’re pretty clean fun.

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