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250 million Windows PCs infected by malware wave spreading now

250 million Windows PCs infected by malware wave spreading now
© Dan Grytsku | Dreamstime.com

Keeping cybercriminals from infecting our gadgets seems like a never-ending job. We're always having to fend off new types of attacks.

Sometimes, victims don't even know when their device has been infected. There is a massive malware attack spreading around the world right now and a quarter of a billion computers have already been affected. Are you one of the unsuspecting victims?

What's the latest malware attack spreading?

Researchers at Check Point have discovered a wide-spread adware campaign dubbed Fireball. The adware is running on over 250 million computers worldwide, including almost 6 million in the U.S. Fireball takes over the victims' browsers and manipulates their web traffic, generating revenue by automatically clicking on advertisements.

A Check Point blog said, "Fireball has two main functionalities: the ability of running any code on victim computers - downloading any file or malware, and hijacking and manipulating infected users' [web traffic] to generate [ad revenue]. Currently, Fireball installs plug-ins and additional configurations to boost its advertisements, but just as easily it can turn into a prominent distributor for any additional malware."

This malware is being spread through bundling. This is when a user installs a free program or software and Fireball gets installed alongside it, normally without the victim knowing.

Not only does Fireball adware slow down the victims' system and unknowingly click ads, it has the potential to cause more harm. The cybercriminals behind the malware could use Fireball to spy on its victims, send them to malicious websites and even add more malware to their computer.

How to remove Fireball adware

Removing the Fireball adware is actually a pretty simple process. If you have been infected with the adware, you should see it listed under Programs and Features in the Control Panel in Windows.

Follow these steps to remove it in Windows:

  • Open Programs and Features - You will find this in Windows Control Panel. Just search for Programs and Features in the Windows search box located on the bottom left of your screen.
  • Remove Fireball - If your computer has installed the adware, you should see it listed as Fireball in the list of programs. Right click on Fireball and select Uninstall.

For Mac:

  • Use Spotlight to search for Fireball.
  • Fireball will show up in the Applications folder - If Fireball shows up in the Applications folder, drag it to the trash folder.
  • Empty the Trash folder.

You should also have strong security software installed on your computer. Adware does not always show up as a file under the program list. That's why you also need to run a scan and clean your computer with anti-malware and adware cleaner software.

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