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What is PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner?

The Malwarebytes research team has determined that PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner is a "system optimizer". These so-called "system optimizers" often 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.

This particular one also comes bundled with adware.

How do I know if I am infected with PCMate Free Privacy 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 these warnings during install:

warning1.png

warning2.png

warning5.png

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

warning4.png

How did PCMate Free Privacy 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

How do I remove PCMate Free Privacy 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 PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner?

  • No, Malwarebytes removes PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner completely.
  • This PUP creates some scheduled tasks. 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 PCMate Free Privacy 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


and we block access to their domain:
 

protection2.png


Technical details for experts

You may see these entries in FRST logs:
 

(TechEvolve GMBH -> PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner) C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\PCMateFreePrivacyCleaner.exe
(TMRG, Inc. -> TMRG, Inc.) C:\Program Files (x86)\RelevantKnowledge\rlservice.exe
Startup: C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner Update.lnk [2019-04-23]
ShortcutTarget: PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner Update.lnk -> C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner Update.exe () [File not signed]
R2 RelevantKnowledge; C:\Program Files (x86)\RelevantKnowledge\rlservice.exe [168688 2018-10-17] (TMRG, Inc. -> TMRG, Inc.) <==== ATTENTION
C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner New Version Available
C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner.lnk
C:\Users\{username}\Desktop\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner.lnk
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\RelevantKnowledge
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner
C:\Program Files (x86)\RelevantKnowledge
(TMRG, Inc.) C:\Windows\system32\rlls64.dll
(TMRG, Inc.) C:\Windows\SysWOW64\rlls.dll
C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner

PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner 8.8.1 (HKLM-x32\...\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner_is1) (Version:  - PCMate Software, Inc.)
RelevantKnowledge (HKLM-x32\...\{d08d9f98-1c78-4704-87e6-368b0023d831}) (Version: 1.3.337.419 - TMRG,  Inc.) <==== ATTENTION
FirewallRules: [{DB808AF4-22AB-4B59-A39A-E9290DDF6BC4}] => (Allow) C:\Program Files (x86)\RelevantKnowledge\rlvknlg.exe (TMRG, Inc. -> TMRG, Inc.)
FirewallRules: [{DF93CCAF-9ED9-416E-AA44-4444F9B8CFCB}] => (Allow) C:\Program Files (x86)\RelevantKnowledge\rlvknlg.exe (TMRG, Inc. -> TMRG, Inc.)

Alterations made by the installer:
 

File system details [View: All details] (Selection)
---------------------------------------------------
    Adds the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner
       Adds the file goup.exe"="2/28/2019 3:21 PM, 2514432 bytes, A
       Adds the file PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner Update.exe"="2/28/2019 5:16 PM, 971264 bytes, A
       Adds the file PCMateFreePrivacyCleaner.exe"="9/5/2014 3:09 PM, 763680 bytes, A
       Adds the file System.Data.SQLite.dll"="4/18/2010 1:58 PM, 904704 bytes, A
       Adds the file Tsing Tools.dll"="9/5/2014 3:10 PM, 164640 bytes, A
       Adds the file unins000.dat"="4/23/2019 9:04 AM, 72474 bytes, A
       Adds the file unins000.exe"="4/23/2019 9:04 AM, 1209553 bytes, A
       Adds the file version.dat"="12/12/2016 10:23 AM, 100 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\Logs
    Adds the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\RelevantKnowledge
       Adds the file rlls.dll"="10/17/2018 8:57 PM, 750832 bytes, A
       Adds the file rlls64.dll"="10/17/2018 8:57 PM, 1114352 bytes, A
       Adds the file rlservice.exe"="10/17/2018 8:57 PM, 168688 bytes, A
       Adds the file rlvknlg.exe"="10/17/2018 8:57 PM, 3705072 bytes, A
       Adds the file rlvknlg32.exe"="10/17/2018 8:57 PM, 159984 bytes, A
       Adds the file rlvknlg64.exe"="10/17/2018 8:57 PM, 189168 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner
       Adds the file More Free Tools.url"="4/23/2019 9:04 AM, 60 bytes, A
       Adds the file PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner on the Web.url"="4/23/2019 9:04 AM, 60 bytes, A
       Adds the file PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner.lnk"="4/23/2019 9:04 AM, 1238 bytes, A
       Adds the file Uninstall.lnk"="4/23/2019 9:04 AM, 1158 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\RelevantKnowledge
       Adds the file About RelevantKnowledge.lnk"="4/23/2019 9:04 AM, 348 bytes, A
       Adds the file Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.lnk"="4/23/2019 9:04 AM, 372 bytes, A
       Adds the file Support.lnk"="4/23/2019 9:04 AM, 316 bytes, A
       Adds the file Uninstall Instructions.lnk"="4/23/2019 9:04 AM, 1555 bytes, A
    In the existing folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch
       Adds the file PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner.lnk"="4/23/2019 9:04 AM, 1244 bytes, A
    In the existing folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu
       Adds the file PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner.lnk"="4/23/2019 9:04 AM, 1244 bytes, A
    In the existing folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
       Adds the file PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner Update.lnk"="4/23/2019 9:04 AM, 1306 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner New Version Available
       Adds the file PCMateFreePrivacyCleaner.exe"="4/23/2019 9:05 AM, 0 bytes, A
       Adds the file update.dat"="4/23/2019 9:05 AM, 198 bytes, A
    In the existing folder C:\Users\{username}\Desktop
       Adds the file PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner.lnk"="4/23/2019 9:04 AM, 1220 bytes, A
    In the existing folder C:\Windows\System32
       Adds the file rlls64.dll"="10/17/2018 8:57 PM, 1114352 bytes, A
    In the existing folder C:\Windows\SysWOW64
       Adds the file rlls.dll"="10/17/2018 8:57 PM, 750832 bytes, A

Registry details [View: All details] (Selection)
------------------------------------------------
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{d08d9f98-1c78-4704-87e6-368b0023d831}]
       "DisplayName"="REG_SZ", "RelevantKnowledge"
       "DisplayVersion"="REG_SZ", "1.3.337.419"
       "EstimatedSize"="REG_DWORD", 5400
       "Publisher"="REG_SZ", "TMRG,  Inc."
       "UninstallString"="REG_SZ", "C:\Program Files (x86)\RelevantKnowledge\rlvknlg.exe -bootremove -uninst:RelevantKnowledge"
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{d08d9f98-1c78-4704-87e6-368b0023d831}\Config]
       "HK_Path"="REG_SZ", "C:\Windows\system32\rlls.dll"
       "HK64_Path"="REG_SZ", "C:\Windows\system32\rlls64.dll"
       "KS_Path"="REG_SZ", "C:\Program Files (x86)\RelevantKnowledge\rlls.dll"
       "LD64_Path"="REG_SZ", "C:\Program Files (x86)\RelevantKnowledge\rlvknlg64.exe"
       "SV_Path"="REG_SZ", "C:\Program Files (x86)\RelevantKnowledge\rlservice.exe"
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{d08d9f98-1c78-4704-87e6-368b0023d831}\Config\OSSProxy\Settings]
       "Capabilities"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "ExtCapabilities"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "installed"="REG_BINARY, ..
       "instLanguage"="REG_DWORD", 1033
       "ipcountry"="REG_SZ", "NL"
       "Name"="REG_SZ", "x-ns1rS0AmEEZQ3m,x-ns2oQNz1KQkP70"
       "OptionsBitmask"="REG_DWORD", 0
       "RevertPath"="REG_SZ", "C:\Program Files (x86)\RelevantKnowledge\"
       "RunLine"="REG_SZ", "c:\program files (x86)\relevantknowledge\rlvknlg.exe -boot"
       "SendContentIDToServer"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "ServiceName"="REG_SZ", "RelevantKnowledge"
       "UninstURL"="REG_SZ", "http://www.relevantknowledge.com/confirmuninstall.aspx?siteid=2600&campaign_id=878"
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner_is1]
       "DisplayName"="REG_SZ", "PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner 8.8.1"
       "EstimatedSize"="REG_DWORD", 6353
       "HelpLink"="REG_SZ", "http://www.freesystemsoftware.com/"
       "Inno Setup: App Path"="REG_SZ", "C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner"
       "Inno Setup: Icon Group"="REG_SZ", "PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner"
       "Inno Setup: Language"="REG_SZ", "default"
       "Inno Setup: Setup Version"="REG_SZ", "5.6.1 (u)"
       "Inno Setup: User"="REG_SZ", "{username}"
       "InstallDate"="REG_SZ", "20190423"
       "InstallLocation"="REG_SZ", "C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\"
       "NoModify"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "NoRepair"="REG_DWORD", 1
       "Publisher"="REG_SZ", "PCMate Software, Inc."
       "QuietUninstallString"="REG_SZ", ""C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\unins000.exe" /SILENT"
       "UninstallString"="REG_SZ", ""C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\unins000.exe""
       "URLInfoAbout"="REG_SZ", "http://www.freesystemsoftware.com/"
       "URLUpdateInfo"="REG_SZ", "http://www.freesystemsoftware.com/"
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\RelevantKnowledge]
       "DisplayName"="REG_SZ", "RelevantKnowledge"
       "ErrorControl"="REG_DWORD", 0
       "ImagePath"="REG_EXPAND_SZ, "C:\Program Files (x86)\RelevantKnowledge\rlservice.exe /service"
       "ObjectName"="REG_SZ", "LocalSystem"
       "Start"="REG_DWORD", 2
       "Type"="REG_DWORD", 16
       "WOW64"="REG_DWORD", 1

Malwarebytes log:
 

Malwarebytes
www.malwarebytes.com

-Log Details-
Scan Date: 4/23/19
Scan Time: 9:15 AM
Log File: 9f13efe8-6597-11e9-ab43-00ffdcc6fdfc.json

-Software Information-
Version: 3.7.1.2839
Components Version: 1.0.563
Update Package Version: 1.0.10286
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: 236665
Threats Detected: 46
Threats Quarantined: 46
Time Elapsed: 6 min, 31 sec

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

-Scan Details-
Process: 2
PUP.Optional.MarketScore, C:\Program Files (x86)\RelevantKnowledge\rlservice.exe, Quarantined, [3270], [171225],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\PCMateFreePrivacyCleaner.exe, Quarantined, [3226], [673551],1.0.10286

Module: 3
PUP.Optional.MarketScore, C:\Program Files (x86)\RelevantKnowledge\rlservice.exe, Quarantined, [3270], [171225],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\PCMateFreePrivacyCleaner.exe, Quarantined, [3226], [673551],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\Tsing Tools.dll, Quarantined, [3226], [673551],1.0.10286

Registry Key: 3
PUP.Optional.MarketScore, HKLM\SYSTEM\CURRENTCONTROLSET\SERVICES\RelevantKnowledge, Quarantined, [3270], [171225],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.MarketScore, HKLM\SOFTWARE\WOW6432NODE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS\CURRENTVERSION\UNINSTALL\{d08d9f98-1c78-4704-87e6-368b0023d831}, Quarantined, [3270], [171225],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, HKLM\SOFTWARE\WOW6432NODE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS\CURRENTVERSION\UNINSTALL\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner_is1, Quarantined, [3226], [673551],1.0.10286

Registry Value: 2
PUP.Optional.RelevantKnowledge, HKLM\SYSTEM\CURRENTCONTROLSET\SERVICES\SHAREDACCESS\PARAMETERS\FIREWALLPOLICY\FIREWALLRULES|{DB808AF4-22AB-4B59-A39A-E9290DDF6BC4}, Quarantined, [1331], [257573],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.RelevantKnowledge, HKLM\SYSTEM\CURRENTCONTROLSET\SERVICES\SHAREDACCESS\PARAMETERS\FIREWALLPOLICY\FIREWALLRULES|{DF93CCAF-9ED9-416E-AA44-4444F9B8CFCB}, Quarantined, [1331], [257573],1.0.10286

Registry Data: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Data Stream: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Folder: 5
PUP.Optional.MarketScore, C:\PROGRAM FILES (X86)\RELEVANTKNOWLEDGE, Quarantined, [3270], [171225],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.MarketScore, C:\PROGRAMDATA\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS\START MENU\PROGRAMS\RELEVANTKNOWLEDGE, Quarantined, [3270], [171863],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\Logs, Quarantined, [3226], [673551],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\PROGRAM FILES (X86)\PCMATE FREE PRIVACY CLEANER, Quarantined, [3226], [673551],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\PROGRAMDATA\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS\START MENU\PROGRAMS\PCMATE FREE PRIVACY CLEANER, Quarantined, [3226], [673552],1.0.10286

File: 31
PUP.Optional.MarketScore, C:\Program Files (x86)\RelevantKnowledge\rlls.dll, Quarantined, [3270], [171225],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.MarketScore, C:\Program Files (x86)\RelevantKnowledge\rlls64.dll, Quarantined, [3270], [171225],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.MarketScore, C:\Program Files (x86)\RelevantKnowledge\rlservice.exe, Quarantined, [3270], [171225],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.MarketScore, C:\Program Files (x86)\RelevantKnowledge\rlvknlg.exe, Quarantined, [3270], [171225],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.MarketScore, C:\Program Files (x86)\RelevantKnowledge\rlvknlg32.exe, Quarantined, [3270], [171225],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.MarketScore, C:\Program Files (x86)\RelevantKnowledge\rlvknlg64.exe, Quarantined, [3270], [171225],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.MarketScore, C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\RelevantKnowledge\About RelevantKnowledge.lnk, Quarantined, [3270], [171863],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.MarketScore, C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\RelevantKnowledge\Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.lnk, Quarantined, [3270], [171863],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.MarketScore, C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\RelevantKnowledge\Support.lnk, Quarantined, [3270], [171863],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.MarketScore, C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\RelevantKnowledge\Uninstall Instructions.lnk, Quarantined, [3270], [171863],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\goup.exe, Quarantined, [3226], [673551],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner Update.exe, Quarantined, [3226], [673551],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\PCMateFreePrivacyCleaner.exe, Quarantined, [3226], [673551],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\System.Data.SQLite.dll, Quarantined, [3226], [673551],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\Tsing Tools.dll, Quarantined, [3226], [673551],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\unins000.dat, Quarantined, [3226], [673551],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\unins000.exe, Quarantined, [3226], [673551],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\Program Files (x86)\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\version.dat, Quarantined, [3226], [673551],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\ROAMING\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS\START MENU\PROGRAMS\STARTUP\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner Update.lnk, Quarantined, [3226], [673551],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\ROAMING\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner.lnk, Quarantined, [3226], [673551],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\ROAMING\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner.lnk, Quarantined, [3226], [673551],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\USERS\{username}\Desktop\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner.lnk, Quarantined, [3226], [673551],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\More Free Tools.url, Quarantined, [3226], [673552],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner on the Web.url, Quarantined, [3226], [673552],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner.lnk, Quarantined, [3226], [673552],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.PCMate, C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\PCMate Free Privacy Cleaner\Uninstall.lnk, Quarantined, [3226], [673552],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.RelevantKnowledge, C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\RLLS64.DLL, Quarantined, [1331], [296186],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.RelevantKnowledge, C:\WINDOWS\SYSWOW64\RLLS.DLL, Quarantined, [1331], [296186],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.RelevantKnowledge, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\TEMP\IS-PTKF6.TMP\RKINSTALLER.EXE, Quarantined, [1331], [296186],1.0.10286
PUP.Optional.RelevantKnowledge, C:\USERS\{username}\APPDATA\LOCAL\TEMP\CSM7C35.TMP, Quarantined, [1331], [294396],1.0.10286
Adware.RelevantKnowledge, C:\USERS\{username}\DESKTOP\PCMATEFREEPRIVACYCLEANER.EXE, Quarantined, [719], [673550],1.0.10286

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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