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What is PC Cleaner?

The Malwarebytes research team has determined that PC Cleaner is a "system optimizer". These so-called "system optimizers" use intentional false positives to convince users that their systems have problems. Then they try to sell you their software, claiming it will remove these problems.
More information can be found on our Malwarebytes Labs blog.

How do I know if I am infected with PC Cleaner?

This is how the main screen of the system optimizer looks:

main.png

You will find these icons in your taskbar, your startmenu, and on your desktop:

icons.png

and see this warning during install:

warning1.png

and these screens during "operations":

warning6.png

warning7.png

You may see this entry in your list of installed programs:

warning4.png

and this task in your list of Scheduled Tasks:

warning3.png

How did PC Cleaner get on my computer?

These so-called system optimizers use different methods of getting installed. This particular one was downloaded from their website:

website.png

website2.png

How do I remove PC Cleaner?

Our program Malwarebytes can detect and remove this potentially unwanted application.

  • Please download Malwarebytes to your desktop.
  • Double-click mb3-setup-consumer-{version}.exe and follow the prompts to install the program.
  • Then click Finish.
  • Once the program has fully updated, select Scan Now on the Dashboard. Or select the Threat Scan from the Scan menu.
  • If another update of the definitions is available, it will be implemented before the rest of the scanning procedure.
  • When the scan is complete, make sure that all Threats are selected, and click Remove Selected.
  • Restart your computer when prompted to do so.

Is there anything else I need to do to get rid of PC Cleaner?

  • Use the Uninstall option in the list of installed Programs for PC Cleaner to complete the removal.
  • This PUP creates a scheduled task. You can read here how to check for and, if necessary, remove Scheduled Tasks.

How would the full version of Malwarebytes help protect me?

We hope our application and this guide have helped you eradicate this system optimizer.

As you can see below the full version of Malwarebytes would have protected you against the PC Cleaner installer. It would have warned you before the application could install itself, giving you a chance to stop it before it became too late.

 

protection1.png


Technical details for experts

You may see these entries in FRST logs:

 

(PC Helpsoft) C:\Program Files (x86)\PC Cleaner\PCCNotifications.exe
(PC Helpsoft) C:\Program Files (x86)\PC Cleaner\PCCleaner.exe
C:\ProgramData\PC Cleaner
C:\Windows\System32\Tasks\PC Cleaner automatic scan and notifications
C:\Users\{username}\Desktop\PC Cleaner.lnk
C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\PC Cleaner
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\PC Cleaner
C:\Program Files (x86)\PC Cleaner
(PC_Help_Soft ) C:\Users\{username}\Desktop\PC_Cleaner.exe

PC Cleaner v6.2 (HKLM-x32\...\PC Cleaner_is1) (Version: 6.2 - PC_Help_Soft)
Task: {8300448E-FA2C-4E1E-8122-C89CFF84A825} - System32\Tasks\PC Cleaner automatic scan and notifications => C:\Program Files (x86)\PC Cleaner\PCCNotifications.exe [2018-04-20] (PC Helpsoft)

Alterations made by the installer:
 

File system details [View: All details] (Selection)
---------------------------------------------------
    Adds the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\PC Cleaner
       Adds the file Animation.gif"="11/9/2016 12:55 AM, 3965 bytes, A
       Adds the file Brazilian.ini"="4/24/2018 7:41 AM, 62209 bytes, A
       Adds the file Cookies.txt"="4/5/2018 9:04 AM, 104 bytes, A
       Adds the file Danish.ini"="4/24/2018 7:41 AM, 57827 bytes, A
       Adds the file Dutch.ini"="4/24/2018 7:41 AM, 60835 bytes, A
       Adds the file English.ini"="4/24/2018 7:41 AM, 52770 bytes, A
       Adds the file Finnish.ini"="4/24/2018 7:41 AM, 59897 bytes, A
       Adds the file French.ini"="4/24/2018 7:41 AM, 66722 bytes, A
       Adds the file German.ini"="4/24/2018 7:41 AM, 63997 bytes, A
       Adds the file Italian.ini"="4/24/2018 7:41 AM, 61604 bytes, A
       Adds the file Japanese.ini"="4/24/2018 7:41 AM, 74150 bytes, A
       Adds the file Norwegian.ini"="4/24/2018 7:42 AM, 56399 bytes, A
       Adds the file PCCleaner.chm"="1/8/2018 9:02 AM, 36040 bytes, A
       Adds the file PCCleaner.exe"="4/25/2018 2:32 AM, 7189896 bytes, A
       Adds the file PCCNotifications.exe"="4/20/2018 3:17 AM, 3659656 bytes, A
       Adds the file Portuguese.ini"="4/24/2018 7:42 AM, 63555 bytes, A
       Adds the file Russian.ini"="4/24/2018 7:42 AM, 83975 bytes, A
       Adds the file SchedTasks.txt"="2/5/2018 6:25 AM, 6597 bytes, A
       Adds the file Services1.txt"="2/2/2018 5:56 AM, 3317 bytes, A
       Adds the file Services2.txt"="2/6/2018 4:38 AM, 14579 bytes, A
       Adds the file SList.txt"="3/13/2018 8:20 AM, 79510 bytes, A
       Adds the file Spanish.ini"="4/24/2018 7:42 AM, 64082 bytes, A
       Adds the file sqlite3.dll"="1/8/2018 8:03 AM, 684160 bytes, A
       Adds the file Swedish.ini"="4/24/2018 7:42 AM, 57597 bytes, A
       Adds the file unins000.dat"="9/26/2018 8:35 AM, 32113 bytes, A
       Adds the file unins000.exe"="9/26/2018 8:35 AM, 1185696 bytes, A
       Adds the file unins000.msg"="9/26/2018 8:35 AM, 22709 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\PC Cleaner
       Adds the file Check updates.lnk"="9/26/2018 8:35 AM, 1072 bytes, A
       Adds the file Help.lnk"="9/26/2018 8:35 AM, 1044 bytes, A
       Adds the file PC Cleaner on the Web.lnk"="9/26/2018 8:35 AM, 822 bytes, A
       Adds the file PC Cleaner.lnk"="9/26/2018 8:35 AM, 1044 bytes, A
       Adds the file Uninstall PC Cleaner.lnk"="9/26/2018 8:35 AM, 1039 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\ProgramData\PC Cleaner
       Adds the file CookieExclusions.txt"="9/26/2018 8:37 AM, 219 bytes, A
       Adds the file Cookies.txt"="4/5/2018 9:04 AM, 104 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\PC Cleaner\Backup
       Adds the file img2.png"="9/26/2018 8:35 AM, 7482 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\PC Cleaner\Log
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\PC Cleaner\Undo
    In the existing folder C:\Users\{username}\Desktop
       Adds the file PC Cleaner.lnk"="9/26/2018 8:35 AM, 1026 bytes, A
    In the existing folder C:\Windows\System32\Tasks
       Adds the file PC Cleaner automatic scan and notifications"="9/26/2018 8:35 AM, 3266 bytes, A

Registry details [View: All details] (Selection)
------------------------------------------------
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\PC Cleaner_is1]
       "DisplayIcon"="REG_SZ", "C:\Program Files (x86)\PC Cleaner\PCCleaner.exe,0"
       "DisplayName"="REG_SZ", "PC Cleaner v6.2"
       "DisplayVersion"="REG_SZ", "6.2"
       "EstimatedSize"="REG_DWORD", 13426
       "Inno Setup: App Path"="REG_SZ", "C:\Program Files (x86)\PC Cleaner"
       "Inno Setup: Deselected Tasks"="REG_SZ", ""
       "Inno Setup: Icon Group"="REG_SZ", "PC Cleaner"
       "Inno Setup: Language"="REG_SZ", "en"
       "Inno Setup: Selected Tasks"="REG_SZ", "desktopicon"
       "Inno Setup: Setup Version"="REG_SZ", "5.5.9 (u)"
       "Inno Setup: User"="REG_SZ", "{username}"
       "InstallDate"="REG_SZ", "20180926"
       "InstallLocation"="REG_SZ", "C:\Program Files (x86)\PC Cleaner\"
       "MajorVersion"="REG_DWORD", 6
       "MinorVersion"="REG_DWORD", 2
       "NoModify"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "NoRepair"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "Publisher"="REG_SZ", "PC_Help_Soft"
       "QuietUninstallString"="REG_SZ", ""C:\Program Files (x86)\PC Cleaner\unins000.exe" /SILENT"
       "UninstallString"="REG_SZ", ""C:\Program Files (x86)\PC Cleaner\unins000.exe""
       "VersionMajor"="REG_DWORD", 6
       "VersionMinor"="REG_DWORD", 2
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\PC Cleaner]
       "AdsAntivirusLink"="REG_SZ", "http://webtools.pchelpsoft.com/redirect.cfm?eredirectId=pchelpsoft/pc-cleaner-v4-antivirus.htm"
       "AdsAntivirusName"="REG_SZ", "Ad-Aware"
       "AdsBuyNowURL"="REG_SZ", "http://webtools.pchelpsoft.com/redirect.cfm?eredirectId=pchelpsoft/du-cs-download.htm"
       "AfterInstallURL"="REG_SZ", "http://webtools.pchelpsoft.com/install_success.cfm?redirectId=pchelpsoft/pc-cleaner-6.htm"
       "AntivirusNotifier"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "BackupDir"="REG_SZ", "C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\PC Cleaner\Backup"
       "BuildID"="REG_SZ", "PCHS_PCC6"
       "BuyNowURL"="REG_SZ", "http://webtools.pchelpsoft.com/redirect.cfm?redirectId=pchelpsoft/pc-cleaner-6.htm"
       "CacheNotifier"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "CacheSizeNotifier"="REG_DWORD", 500
       "ComplementURL"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "CrashNotifier"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "CreationDate"="REG_SZ", "2018-04-25"
       "Cv"="REG_SZ", "Apr2018"
       "DiskNotifier"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "DisplayName"="REG_SZ", "PC Cleaner"
       "EulaURL"="REG_SZ", "https://www.pchelpsoft.com/company/eula/"
       "FormSP"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "HideAfterInstallURL"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "HomePageURL"="REG_SZ", "http://webtools.pchelpsoft.com/redirect.cfm?eredirectId=pchelpsoft/pc-cleaner-6-home.htm"
       "InstallationDate"="REG_BINARY, ....
       "InstallerName"="REG_SZ", "C:\Users\{username}\Desktop\PC_Cleaner.exe"
       "ItemsFixed"="REG_DWORD", 0
       "ItemsToFix"="REG_DWORD", 94
       "ItemsToPrivacyScan"="REG_SZ", "1111"
       "ItemsToRecoveryScan"="REG_SZ", "1111"
       "ItemsToRegistryScan"="REG_SZ", "1111111111"
       "Language"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "LastCleanExecuted"="REG_DWORD", 0
       "LastNotificationTime"="REG_BINARY, ....
       "LastScanCanceled"="REG_DWORD", 0
       "LastScanDate"="REG_BINARY, ....
       "LastScanFound"="REG_DWORD", 94
       "LastServerChecking"="REG_BINARY, ....
       "LastServerNotification"="REG_BINARY, ....
       "LastUpdateChecking"="REG_BINARY, ....
       "LogDir"="REG_SZ", "C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\PC Cleaner\Log"
       "MemoryNotifier"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "MinFreeDiskSpace"="REG_DWORD", 10
       "MinFreeMemory"="REG_DWORD", 10
       "NewAppNotifier"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "NewExtNotifier"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "NLaunches"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "NotificationsEnabled"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "OnWinStartup"="REG_DWORD", 0
       "PartnerID"="REG_SZ", "PCHS"
       "Phones"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "PrivacyURL"="REG_SZ", "https://www.pchelpsoft.com/company/privacy-policy/"
       "ProURL"="REG_SZ", "http://webtools.pchelpsoft.com/redirect.cfm?eredirectId=pchelpsoft/pc-cleaner-6-upsell.htm"
       "RenewURL"="REG_SZ", "http://webtools.pchelpsoft.com/redirect.cfm?eredirectId=pchelpsoft/pc-cleaner-6-renew.htm"
       "s_Date"="REG_BINARY, ....
       "s_Mode"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "s_SmartDate"="REG_BINARY, ....
       "s_SmartEnabled"="REG_DWORD", 0
       "s_SmartMode"="REG_DWORD", 0
       "s_Time"="REG_BINARY, ....
       "sch_enabled"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "ServerNotifier"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "ShowRebootMessage"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "ShowRecycleBin"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "ShowTips"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "SizeToClean"="REG_SZ", "701.31 MB"
       "SizeToCleanInt"="REG_DWORD", 701
       "StartupNotifier"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "SupportURL"="REG_SZ", "http://webtools.pchelpsoft.com/redirect.cfm?eredirectId=pchelpsoft/pc-cleaner-6-support.htm"
       "UndoDir"="REG_SZ", "C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\PC Cleaner\Undo"
       "UninstallNotifier"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "UninstallURL"="REG_SZ", "http://webtools.pchelpsoft.com/redirect.cfm?eredirectId=pchelpsoft/pc-cleaner-6-uninstall.htm"
       "UpdateReminderDisabled"="REG_DWORD", 0
       "UpdatesChecking"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "UpgradeID"="REG_SZ", "PCHS_PCC_ML"
       "UseAds"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "UseExclusions"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "Version"="REG_SZ", "6.2"

Malwarebytes log:
 

Malwarebytes
www.malwarebytes.com

-Log Details-
Scan Date: 9/26/18
Scan Time: 8:44 AM
Log File: a36f9aea-c157-11e8-a2dc-00ffdcc6fdfc.json

-Software Information-
Version: 3.5.1.2522
Components Version: 1.0.441
Update Package Version: 1.0.7015
License: Premium

-System Information-
OS: Windows 7 Service Pack 1
CPU: x64
File System: NTFS
User: {computername}\{username}

-Scan Summary-
Scan Type: Threat Scan
Scan Initiated By: Manual
Result: Completed
Objects Scanned: 239294
Threats Detected: 7
Threats Quarantined: 7
Time Elapsed: 2 min, 29 sec

-Scan Options-
Memory: Enabled
Startup: Enabled
Filesystem: Enabled
Archives: Enabled
Rootkits: Enabled
Heuristics: Enabled
PUP: Detect
PUM: Detect

-Scan Details-
Process: 1
PUP.Optional.SpeedingUpMyPC, C:\PROGRAM FILES (X86)\PC CLEANER\PCCLEANER.EXE, Quarantined, [576], [320057],1.0.7015

Module: 1
PUP.Optional.SpeedingUpMyPC, C:\PROGRAM FILES (X86)\PC CLEANER\PCCLEANER.EXE, Quarantined, [576], [320057],1.0.7015

Registry Key: 1
PUP.Optional.PCCleanerPro, HKCU\SOFTWARE\PC CLEANER, Quarantined, [575], [345344],1.0.7015

Registry Value: 1
PUP.Optional.PCCleanerPro, HKCU\SOFTWARE\PC CLEANER|STARTUPNOTIFIER, Quarantined, [575], [345344],1.0.7015

Registry Data: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Data Stream: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Folder: 0
(No malicious items detected)

File: 3
PUP.Optional.SpeedingUpMyPC, C:\USERS\{username}\DESKTOP\PC Cleaner.lnk, Quarantined, [576], [320057],1.0.7015
PUP.Optional.SpeedingUpMyPC, C:\PROGRAM FILES (X86)\PC CLEANER\PCCLEANER.EXE, Quarantined, [576], [320057],1.0.7015
PUP.Optional.SpeedingUpMyPC, C:\USERS\{username}\DESKTOP\PC_CLEANER.EXE, Quarantined, [576], [125828],1.0.7015

Physical Sector: 0
(No malicious items detected)

WMI: 0
(No malicious items detected)


(end)

As mentioned before the full version of Malwarebytes could have protected your computer against this threat.
We use different ways of protecting your computer(s):

  • Dynamically Blocks Malware Sites & Servers
  • Malware Execution Prevention

Save yourself the hassle and get protected. 

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