Windows Optimal Settings
Apparently the scam artists behind Windows Optimal Settings have decided that they need to hedge their bets, because this is just another name for a rogue anti-virus application that is all over the Internet under a wide variety of different labels. Windows Optimal Settings behaves in exactly the same way as these other rogue anti-virus applications. If you have this malware on your system, there are some specific things to look for.
How Windows Optimal Settings Works
True to form, Windows Optimal Settings begins its campaign of scare tactics and ransoming by making sure it runs every time you start Windows. Before you see the desktop, you'll see the bogus user interface for Windows Optimal Settings, which uses the Windows name and logo without permission, and even includes a link to Microsoft's Safety & Security Center website. This interface will rate various aspects of your computer's security, and will always judge all of them to be poor. Also, Windows Optimal Settings runs its fake system scans from this interface. These scans always turn up lists of results, and although these lists contain some names of real viruses, you will never find any of these threats on your computer. The whole thing is fake, so that Windows Optimal Settings can prompt you to "activate" your software in order to remove the threats it claims to find.
Once you get past the fake home screen, Windows Optimal Settings is not done giving you warnings about fake threats. It will create frequent alerts, which will claim that something is horribly wrong with your computer, which can only be fixed by paying to activate Windows Optimal Settings. As with the other members of this malware family, Windows Optimal Settings will create alerts that claim to find problems with Firefox, the lsass.exe service, and the system registry. If you follow the prompts included in these alerts, you will be directed to the payment site for Windows Optimal Settings, which basically does the bare minimum to look like a real site. You can pay for Windows Optimal Settings by credit card on this site, but doing so will not get you anywhere, because there is nothing to activate. Windows Optimal Settings is never anything more than malware.
All scare tactics aside, Windows Optimal Settings will try to manipulate you by holding your computer hostage. It does this by preventing you from running other programs, and may even redirect your web browser to prevent you from seeing anything other than its own malicious website. It is very important to note, by the way, that paying for Windows Optimal Settings will not get it to leave you alone, either. It has to be removed.
How Windows Optimal Settings Infections Begin
Windows Optimal Settings relies on the Fake Microsoft Security Essentials Trojan in order to infiltrate systems. The Trojan is typically hidden in an otherwise harmless-looking file which you download. Once downloaded and active, the Fake MSE Trojan generates alerts that will pop-up from the system tray, and which will claim that a threat has been found on the system. The alerts will then say that an anti-virus program has been found which can remove the threat, and ask if you want to proceed with a download of this software. If you agree, and follow the prompts, that's when you actually download Windows Optimal Settings.
Windows Optimal Settings Background Information
The family that Windows Optimal Settings comes from includes many other rogue security applications, which are at present rapidly multiplying. These variations are almost always superficial, including a name change and occasionally one or two differences in the phony user interface. However, all members of this malware family support the same Russian scam.