There’s a new strain of malware making its way through the internet recently, and it goes by the callsign Fireball. Fireball is a relatively newly discovered adware set that has some rather dangerous side effects besides just tracking user browsing data and switching default search pages; Fireball also appears to be able to run code on users computers without their consent.
The adware is connected with the Beijing based digital marketing company Rafotech, who profits from the data mined by the adware as well as the clicks once the users search engines are switched over from their default settings. It seems that the adware has been installed on quite a few computers–almost a quarter of a billion according to some reports–through various means such as phishing, drive by installations, and especially when packaged with “free” software such as the popular Soso Desktop and FVP ImageViewer.
The delivery method is no surprise: the most common way to get adware on your computer is to download a software program that covertly installs it without your knowledge. The software developers are often in on this–if they aren’t the publishers of the adware or malware themselves.
The security firm Check Point is the one that has broken the story about this malware, and although they are not sure on the exact number of computers actually infected or how it got onto American machines (as Soso Desktop and FVP ImageViewer are not hugely popular or known to Americans), it’s clear that this is a very widespread infection.
Interestingly, Microsoft hit back at Check Point’s numbers, claiming it had been tracking the adware/malware strain since 2015, and that the number of infected computers was likely closer to 40 million. However, both companies are agreeing on the delivery method of the malware (piggyback software installations) as well as what the software does and who is behind it (Rafotech).
If you want to ensure that you do not have this malware installed on your computer, then you will want to ensure that you are running a good anti malware software tool. We highly recommend Spyhunter 5 as our top choice. This software will quickly scan and remove any infectious malware from your system. You can check out our review of Spyhunter 5 here.
The takeaway from this news? You can easily prevent infections from these types of malware software programs by following a few key steps:
- Never download software from “free” software sites. This is a recipe for disaster.
- Avoid installing any software at all unless it’s from a KNOWN publisher and you actually need the software.
- Ensure that you allow your software to automatically install patches and updates; most updates are to plug security holes, and running old software can leave you vulnerable.
- Don’t browse “shady” internet areas, such as free download and torrent sites, gambling sites, hacking sites and forums, and adult sites.
- Run a good antivirus program such as Norton 360 as well as a good spyware removal program such as Spyhunter 5.