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What is PCActivator?

The Malwarebytes research team has determined that PCActivator 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 PCActivator?

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

and these screens during "operations":

warning5.png

warning6.png

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

warning4.png

and these tasks in your list of Scheduled Tasks:

warning3.png

How did PCActivator 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 PCActivator?

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 PCActivator?

  • No, Malwarebytes removes PCActivator 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 PCActivator 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.

Technical details for experts

You may see these entries in FRST logs:
 

(AB eCommerce Inc -> AB eCommerce) C:\Program Files\PCActivator\pcactivator.exe
Task: {36C6D8B0-C1CC-4FBA-9B72-E1D4DA6213EF} - System32\Tasks\PCActivator.Scanning => C:\Program Files\PCActivator\pcactivator.exe [2314704 2017-07-03] (AB eCommerce Inc -> AB eCommerce)
Task: {CE955B4B-6DF2-4C0D-A750-8A2627F059CF} - System32\Tasks\PCActivator.Autostart => C:\Program Files\PCActivator\pcactivator.exe [2314704 2017-07-03] (AB eCommerce Inc -> AB eCommerce)
C:\Users\{username}\Desktop\pcactivator.lnk
C:\Windows\System32\Tasks\PCActivator.Scanning
C:\Windows\System32\Tasks\PCActivator.Autostart
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\PCActivator
C:\Program Files\PCActivator
(AB eCommerce) C:\Users\{username}\Desktop\PC-Activator-Setup-1_1106.exe

PCActivator (HKLM\...\PCActivator) (Version: 1.11.0.6 - AB eCommerce)

Alterations made by the installer:
 

File system details [View: All details] (Selection)
---------------------------------------------------
    Adds the folder C:\Program Files\PCActivator
       Adds the file configen.xml"="7/3/2017 2:43 PM, 2928 bytes, A
       Adds the file icon.ico"="8/5/2016 4:57 PM, 32141 bytes, A
       Adds the file lang.resx"="7/3/2017 2:44 PM, 129000 bytes, A
       Adds the file pcactivator.exe"="7/3/2017 2:45 PM, 2314704 bytes, A
       Adds the file pcactivator.exe.config"="11/25/2016 3:59 PM, 148 bytes, A
       Adds the file PCActivator.url"="5/23/2019 9:14 AM, 49 bytes, A
       Adds the file pcactivator-setup.exe"="5/23/2019 9:14 AM, 1373808 bytes, A
       Adds the file SQLite.Interop.dll"="7/3/2017 2:45 PM, 1171920 bytes, A
       Adds the file System.Data.SQLite.dll"="10/21/2015 1:01 AM, 286720 bytes, A
       Adds the file System.Data.SQLite.xml"="10/21/2015 1:01 AM, 704577 bytes, A
       Adds the file ui.chm"="7/3/2017 2:44 PM, 5101537 bytes, A
       Adds the file uninst.bin"="5/23/2019 9:14 AM, 51075 bytes, A
       Adds the file UninstallPCActivator.exe"="7/3/2017 2:45 PM, 79640 bytes, A
       Adds the file webicon.ico"="11/25/2016 3:59 PM, 42833 bytes, A
    Adds the folder C:\Program Files\PCActivator\Backups
    Adds the folder C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\PCActivator
       Adds the file PCActivator Website.lnk"="5/23/2019 9:14 AM, 1736 bytes, A
       Adds the file Start PCActivator.lnk"="5/23/2019 9:14 AM, 1730 bytes, A
       Adds the file Uninstall PCActivator.lnk"="5/23/2019 9:14 AM, 911 bytes, A
    In the existing folder C:\Users\{username}\Desktop
       Adds the file pcactivator.lnk"="5/23/2019 9:15 AM, 1922 bytes, A
    In the existing folder C:\Windows\System32\Tasks
       Adds the file PCActivator.Autostart"="5/23/2019 9:14 AM, 3524 bytes, A
       Adds the file PCActivator.Scanning"="5/23/2019 9:14 AM, 3602 bytes, A

Registry details [View: All details] (Selection)
------------------------------------------------
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\PCActivator]
       "DisplayIcon"="REG_SZ", "C:\Program Files\PCActivator\icon.ico"
       "DisplayName"="REG_SZ", "PCActivator"
       "DisplayVersion"="REG_SZ", "1.11.0.6"
       "InstallLocation"="REG_SZ", "C:\Program Files\PCActivator\"
       "Publisher"="REG_SZ", "AB eCommerce"
       "UninstallString"="REG_SZ", "C:\Program Files\PCActivator\UninstallPCActivator.exe"
       "URLInfoAbout"="REG_SZ", "http://pcactivator.com/"
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\PCActivator]
       "FST"="REG_SZ", "125CF8F4E9FA"
       "InitialStats"="REG_SZ", "{"Uid":"bf028bcb-f103-41e1-b80e-c5f30f1faf3f","OS":"6.1.7601.65536","InstalledOn":"2019-05-23 07:13:44","InstFlavor":"PCA11106_July03_2017"}"
       "InstallID"="REG_SZ", "bf028bcb-f103-41e1-b80e-c5f30f1faf3f"
       "InstallPath"="REG_SZ", "C:\Program Files\PCActivator"
       "LastScanDate"="REG_SZ", "5/23/2019 9:16:09 AM"
       "LN"="REG_SZ", "1033"
       "NotFirstRun"="REG_SZ", "True"
       "RGAE"="REG_SZ", "False"
       "RGPC"="REG_SZ", "US"
       "RGPL"="REG_SZ", "1033"
       "RGPLC"="REG_SZ", "125CF8F4EA3C"
       "RGPN"="REG_SZ", ""
       "ScannedOnce"="REG_SZ", "True"
       "SP"="REG_SZ", "1"
       "SuccessfulInstall"="REG_SZ", "1"
       "TEST"="REG_SZ", "3"
       "UAACI"="REG_SZ", "15"
       "UJF"="REG_SZ", "310"
       "UnfixedErrors"="REG_SZ", "219"
       "UnfixedRegistryErrors"="REG_SZ", "139"
       "UnfixedSAPErrors"="REG_SZ", "19"
       "URE"="REG_SZ", "139"
       "USAP"="REG_SZ", "46"
       "USECAP"="REG_SZ", "19"
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\PCActivator\bf028bcb-f103-41e1-b80e-c5f30f1faf3f]
       "NotFirstRun"="REG_SZ", "True"
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\eventlog\Application\PCActivator]
       "EventMessageFile"="REG_EXPAND_SZ, "C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v4.0.30319\EventLogMessages.dll"

Malwarebytes log:
 

Malwarebytes
www.malwarebytes.com

-Log Details-
Scan Date: 5/23/19
Scan Time: 9:26 AM
Log File: 26c419bc-7d2c-11e9-b125-00ffdcc6fdfc.json

-Software Information-
Version: 3.7.1.2839
Components Version: 1.0.586
Update Package Version: 1.0.10728
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: 236364
Threats Detected: 40
Threats Quarantined: 40
Time Elapsed: 6 min, 45 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.PCActivator, C:\PROGRAM FILES\PCACTIVATOR\pcactivator.exe, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728

Module: 1
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\PROGRAM FILES\PCACTIVATOR\pcactivator.exe, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728

Registry Key: 8
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, HKLM\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS NT\CURRENTVERSION\SCHEDULE\TASKCACHE\TREE\PCActivator.Autostart, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, HKLM\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS NT\CURRENTVERSION\SCHEDULE\TASKCACHE\TASKS\{CE955B4B-6DF2-4C0D-A750-8A2627F059CF}, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, HKLM\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS NT\CURRENTVERSION\SCHEDULE\TASKCACHE\LOGON\{CE955B4B-6DF2-4C0D-A750-8A2627F059CF}, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, HKLM\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS NT\CURRENTVERSION\SCHEDULE\TASKCACHE\TREE\PCActivator.Scanning, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, HKLM\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS NT\CURRENTVERSION\SCHEDULE\TASKCACHE\TASKS\{36C6D8B0-C1CC-4FBA-9B72-E1D4DA6213EF}, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, HKLM\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS NT\CURRENTVERSION\SCHEDULE\TASKCACHE\PLAIN\{36C6D8B0-C1CC-4FBA-9B72-E1D4DA6213EF}, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, HKLM\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS\CURRENTVERSION\UNINSTALL\PCActivator, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, HKLM\SOFTWARE\PCACTIVATOR, Quarantined, [4571], [256835],1.0.10728

Registry Value: 4
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, HKLM\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS NT\CURRENTVERSION\SCHEDULE\TASKCACHE\TASKS\{36C6D8B0-C1CC-4FBA-9B72-E1D4DA6213EF}|PATH, Quarantined, [4571], [518228],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, HKLM\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS NT\CURRENTVERSION\SCHEDULE\TASKCACHE\TASKS\{CE955B4B-6DF2-4C0D-A750-8A2627F059CF}|PATH, Quarantined, [4571], [518228],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, HKLM\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS\CURRENTVERSION\UNINSTALL\PCACTIVATOR|PUBLISHER, Quarantined, [4571], [256834],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, HKLM\SOFTWARE\PCACTIVATOR|UNFIXEDERRORS, Quarantined, [4571], [256835],1.0.10728

Registry Data: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Data Stream: 0
(No malicious items detected)

Folder: 3
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\Program Files\PCActivator\Backups, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\PROGRAM FILES\PCACTIVATOR, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\PROGRAMDATA\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS\START MENU\PROGRAMS\PCACTIVATOR, Quarantined, [4571], [256830],1.0.10728

File: 23
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\TASKS\PCActivator.Autostart, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\TASKS\PCActivator.Scanning, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\USERS\{username}\Desktop\pcactivator.lnk, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\PROGRAM FILES\PCACTIVATOR\pcactivator.exe, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\Program Files\PCActivator\configen.xml, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\Program Files\PCActivator\icon.ico, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\Program Files\PCActivator\lang.resx, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\Program Files\PCActivator\pcactivator-setup.exe, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\Program Files\PCActivator\pcactivator.exe.config, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\Program Files\PCActivator\PCActivator.url, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\Program Files\PCActivator\SQLite.Interop.dll, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\Program Files\PCActivator\System.Data.SQLite.dll, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\Program Files\PCActivator\System.Data.SQLite.xml, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\Program Files\PCActivator\ui.chm, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\Program Files\PCActivator\uninst.bin, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\Program Files\PCActivator\UninstallPCActivator.exe, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\Program Files\PCActivator\webicon.ico, Quarantined, [4571], [256829],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\PROGRAMDATA\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS\START MENU\PROGRAMS\PCACTIVATOR\START PCACTIVATOR.LNK, Quarantined, [4571], [256830],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\PCActivator\PCActivator Website.lnk, Quarantined, [4571], [256830],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\PCActivator\Uninstall PCActivator.lnk, Quarantined, [4571], [256830],1.0.10728
Generic.Malware/Suspicious, C:\PROGRAM FILES\PCACTIVATOR\PCACTIVATOR-SETUP.EXE, Quarantined, [0], [392686],1.0.10728
PUP.Optional.PCActivator, C:\USERS\{username}\DESKTOP\PC-ACTIVATOR-SETUP-1_1106.EXE, Quarantined, [4571], [686198],1.0.10728
Generic.Malware/Suspicious, C:\USERS\{username}\DESKTOP\PC-ACTIVATOR-SETUP-1_1106.EXE, Quarantined, [0], [392686],1.0.10728

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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