They’re Out To Get You! Protect Yourself Against Malware

Malware - what it can do and how to fix it

Malware Attack

Malware gets everywhere. Larry from Oregon sent an email recently describing some worrying changes to his to-do list.

Hi Andrew,

Starting today I've had 3 tasks show up in my ToDo list. All are the same and about bitcoins. There's a task name and a note.

They seem to show up in TaskAngel for Windows first and then sync to Toodldo and then TaskAngel iOS. Anyone reporting similar occurrences?

My first steps were to clear all those tasks from Toodledo, and TaskAngel on iOS and Windows. I then went to Toodledo and blocked Toodledo access on a number of apps. I left Taskangel Windows running and a little while later the same three tasks showed up.

Each task says “Forget about bitcoin, there’s a way better coin you can buy.” And each one has a note explaining that Swiss Coin will be the next big thing.

I'm still going to do some testing in TaskAngel on my iPhone and on my iPad but since it first shows up on Windows I wouldn't think they are coming from there.

I can't see anywhere in Toodledo that would show the source (ie if emailed) and I'll run my anti-virus scan just to be sure I don't have any issues there.

Thank you,
Larry

The Fix

A few hours later Larry found the problem. He had been attacked by malware. Here's how he fixed it.

Hi Andrew,

I may have found the source of the unwanted tasks/spam in TaskAngel Windows.

I ran Malwarebytes and it reported 4 PUPs: Groovorio, Smart Bar, VBates, Search Protect_App Fish. I noticed they were all shown as extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Interestingly Vivaldi was not mentioned. They are primarily ad servers for browsers. Not sure why they would impact TaskAngel but I assume they thought it was a browser for some reason.

It seems these are known irritations that come with free software. Since I'd installed a photo editing app to trial (it's a Lightroom type photo program that's open source) a few days ago I decided to uninstall and clean up all folders and traces.

I then re-ran Malwarebytes and it didn't find anything and I haven't had any further problems with TaskAngel Windows. I also started up the browsers and checked back with Toodledo and am glad to report no more bitcoin type ads/spam.

Just passing on in case someone else asks.

I'm totally surprised because I've never had this kind of infestation and I'm pretty careful. Goes to show free open source is not always a great buy.

Larry

Protect Yourself

We all know about viruses and how to defend against them. But there are bad people out there, and they are getting cleverer. Make sure you run virus protection software regularly.

Larry fixed his malware problem using Malwarebytes. It runs on Windows, Mac and Android. 

Read more about how TaskAngel protects your to-do list from hackers. 

Malware protection with Malwarebytes
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Andrew Boswell
 

Andrew Boswell is the author of TaskAngel To-do List. He blogs on productivity and time management at taskangel.com.

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