My Latest Experience with Malicious Software

I’ve just finished, (at least I HOPE I’ve finished!), removing the latest piece of malware garbage from my windows PC.

It all started innocently enough. I wanted to edit some of my MP3 files, so I did a search for some free MP3 editing software. Audacity popped up quite frequently, and it had a good review on About.com, so I figured I’d give it a go. It downloaded easily, and while a little intimidating to use at first, (at least for a technologically obsolete old guy like me), I soon got the hang of it, and was ready to edit my first MP3 file.

After a few false starts I had an edited file I wanted to save, and here is where my problems began. To create a new MP3 file, the Audacity software said I needed a “LAME MP3 Encoder”, and sent me ultimately to this page. *** SAFETY WARNING – DO NOT DOWNLOAD ANYTHING FROM THIS PAGE!! *** Downloading from this page will install the accursed “Search Protect” program from the jackasses at Conduit on your PC.

I’m an obedient boy, so I did what I was told; I clicked where it said “download”. Lots of windows popped up, (always a bad sign), some files got sent to my PC, but it appeared that the LAME encoder wasn’t found? (Something like that – like I said, there were lots of windows popping up.) So I stopped my download attempts, exited Audacity, and went back to browsing the internet.

At first I didn’t realize anything was wrong, other than the fact that the LAME file I wanted to install didn’t ever install properly. (Probably a lucky break for me!) But then I started noticing that whenever I opened a new tab in Chrome, (my browser of choice), instead of Google a Bing search page appeared.

My first reaction to this was to remove Audacity, the software I had (knowingly) most recently installed. I did this, and my browser still acted funny. So I did a Google search on “bing opens in new tab chrome”, and quickly discovered the source of my problem. Somehow my attempt to download a LAME file had resulted in my PC becoming infected with sewage from Conduit.

I followed the basic instructions for removing this malware, and my PC seems to be working normally again. However, I am concerned, because several webpages mention this Conduit crap doing nasty things like not cleaning up after itself on an uninstall, and to completely get rid of it requires PC knowledge that frankly I don’t have.

Besides that fact that the Conduit crap downloaded on my PC IN AN EXTREMELY DISHONEST WAY, (yeah, I may have downloaded it, but I was intending to download a LAME MP3 encoder, and was mislead), it turned off the Trend Micro extension to my browser. This Trend Micro extension is very valuable, as it alerts me to the presence of malware on webpages, giving me a chance to navigate away from the page before the malware can infect my PC. Until I uninstalled “Search Protect”, even after I enabled the Trend Micro extension stupid Conduit would disable it again. Bad behavior, to say the least!

And by the way … the reason Conduit is hijacking your browser is that it is sending you to a search page where “they”, (presumably thebad people behind this crap), get paid a referral for each ad that you click. Nice, huh? And folks have the nerve to insist that this Conduit garbage is not a bad program, but actually helpful? Are they on drugs?

I’m concerned about the long term health of my PC, and I’ve lost a lot of respect for the “free software” community. Needless to say Audacity will NEVER again reside on a PC I own! I also despise Microsoft for allowing their software to be so easily manipulated by the bad guys of the world, but in all fairness I must point out that Conduit is an equal opportunity infector, and folks have posted asking for help removing it from their Apple PC.

I don’t know what the answer to problems like this are, because as long as there are people, there will be jerks like the morons at Conduit who seek to exploit others for their own gain. I entertain the thought of sending Santa a Christmas wish that these jerks get a few of their teeth knocked out for Christmas, but that would serve no purpose other than delighting the forces of evil, and accomplish nothing good. So I just hope that my experiences save a few of y’all from the bad experience of dealing with Conduit software.

And maybe think twice before downloading free software, even when recommended from “reputable” sites.

 

Originally posted by us on FullofKnowledge.