McAfee Removal Tool

By Randall Sutherland
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Image for McAfee removal tool learning center articleThe McAfee removal tool is the McAfee Labs Stinger, a free, standalone utility that detects and removes specific viruses. The Stinger application will detect and remove any threat that is included in the “List Viruses” icon. The McAfee removal tool is not a McAfee Labs support application and McAfee makes no guarantee for the product. It is not a substitute for antivirus software.

The McAfee removal tool is not a scanner. You use it after the normal McAfee anti-virus software fails and you have verified that a system is compromised with a virus. The Stinger will automatically remove any threat included in its current release. The Stinger is a generic threat removal tool. The McAfee removal tool augments anti-virus software. It is helpful when you need to clean a Windows PC that is crippled by malware.

There is a version of the McAfee removal tool, called the FakeAlert Stinger, which takes care of Trojans that try to make you buy security products during fake pop-up warnings. This category of scam software is called scareware. Although this scareware often tries to sell fake antivirus software while downloading an actual virus, more often than not, it uses psychology rather than malicious technology to part users from their credit card numbers.

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Often the virus that scareware claims to have found is a pure fiction to begin with. It employs a selling approach with the illusion of a threat and to create shock and anxiety in the user. For example, scareware might threaten that the information that it is finding is of such a dire nature that the user’s job or marriage is in jeopardy, and urge the user to download and pay for the fake antivirus software to avoid detection. It is statistically sound for the scareware purveyor to make the bet that users are likely to have engaged in online activity that they would not wish for their employer or spouse to discover. So when scareware that uses guilt as a call-to-action sales technique confronts someone who has reason to feel guilty, it can result in just enough purchases to embolden the scareware purveyors to continue to the propagate the scam.

Scareware in the form of fake antivirus software accounts for half of the malware sent by internet advertising, according to a 2010 Google study. Google found 11,000 fake antivirus software domains. In such a hostile environment, where millions of Windows PC users are under attack by sophisticated and well organized scammers, the McAfee removal tool is your friend. Remember the McAfee removal tool the next time your regular anti-virus software fails you. Be vigilant and stay safe out there.

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