BREAKING “Cleaner Apps Are Usually Malware,” Infosec Researchers Warn

Researchers from a major infosec firm announced the findings of a long-running research experiment the firm had been investigating over the past three years. “Most apps that claim to ‘clean your system’ are malware,” they reported in a press release on Friday.

This statement comes after the recent discovery that the popular Windows cleanup utility CCleaner has been quietly distributing a backdoor to millions of computers, after attackers stole its signing certificate and used it to distribute a compromised software update.

“Our extensive research came to the conclusion that these kinds of apps are typically used to trick gullible people into installing something they think they need, but they’re actually unnecessary” said the researchers. They also warned of downloading any software packages that claim to “speed up your PC” or “download more RAM.”

“It was a long road to these findings,” one researcher told reporters after the press release, “but people need to know the truth. The incessant spam of popups and flashing dialog boxes from these programs just look so convincing, nobody would know it’s actually malware.”

“This is really surprising,” reported Rose Phan, a local developer, to Nonfree News. “Regularly cleaning your system is essential for every OS. Sure, it sometimes deletes important files and messes with your system settings, but it’s necessary to prevent your computer from running slowly,” she said as she waited the 30 minutes it took for her laptop to boot up. “I have 5 different cleaning apps, and I definitely need them all, since my system is always so slow. Now I just need to figure out why my laptop is constantly pinned at 100% CPU and sending gigabytes of data to some random Ukrainian IPs – that’s a real mystery.”

At press time, other researchers had additionally stated that websites which tell users they “won a free iPhone” or they “have hot singles in their area” should also be avoided.


haskal is a code artisan and digital nomad, and editor-in-chief of Nonfree News. He codes full stack in Nodejs/Electron with React and MongoDB and whatever the latest cool Javascript framework is. He also has over 35 confirmed single-line npm packages, and his motto is "unused ram is wasted ram", which is why all his apps are in Electron. Besides Nonfree News, he also writes Medium articles on the side.