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PC Matic: What's the good (or bad) word?


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#1 zombiewhacker

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 04:11 PM

PC Matic is flooding the TV with lots of ads on how they can boost your computer's performance.  The CNET reviews are generally good, though I'm skeptical.

 

Is PC Matic good, bad, or can you get the same results with the free utitlies discussed on these boards? 



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#2 quietman7

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 04:27 PM

Edit 01/19/16: I have modified my original assessment of PC Matic after representatives (including the CEO and VP of Cyber Security) have taken the time to visit Bleeping Computer (see here), explain their product in more detail, answer specific questions and allow some of our members to test it. Since the PC Matic web site did not offer specific details, especially in regards to malware detection and removal...all I had to base my opinion on was the information provided on their web site, the high number of consumer complaints, the high rate of false positive detections and TV commercials.

If you are willing to dig around the PC Matic web site, you eventually will find information about Super Shield, the proprietary real-time technology component to PC Matic. That page also goes into a little more detail about their use of a "white list" (short good list of applications and processes that are authorized to run) approach in addition to a "black list" (long bad list of potential malware). CEO Rob Cheng and other well known security experts explain the benefits of whitelisting, especially in regards to protecting against ransomware.

PC Matic's new VP of Cyber Security (Dodi Glenn) has been in the security industry for over 15 years, was one of the developers of VIPRE and at one time the Product Manager for VIPRE. For those who remember, Sunbelt Software (the vendors who originally made VIPRE and CounterSpy) was among the early pioneers in security development. On January 5, 2016, PC Matic was awarded the ICSA Labs Anti-Virus Certification and they score very high in VVirus Bulletin's Comparative Review for Reactive and Proactive (RAP) tests.


The PC Matic team is in the process of making changes to their web site and provide more information in regards to the security/detection/removal features of their product based on feedback from BC members. From my contact with them, it is apparent that the vendor is more serious-minded than their original TV advertisement would lead some consumers to believe.

While I have reevaluated my original assessment, I am still somewhat skeptical about the high rate of false positives and still do not recommend the use of it's registry cleaning/optimization features (see here). While some of the optimization features are certainly useful (i.e. disk defrag, junk file cleaning, disabling what startups I don't want, etc), I prefer to have manual control of my system by using similar stand-alone products or Windows built-in tools. I would never use or recommend registry cleaning and driver updating utilities in any product, not just PC Matic. However, PC Matic allows you to uncheck any optimization feature you do not want to use as part of it's scan...see the section on Cleaning Options in the PC Matic User Guide.

Dodi explains the high false positive detection rate in this post. When a legitimate program is blocked (a false positive) that the user has attempted to run, they have two options.

  • Override the whitelisting technology with seven mouse clicks, or
  • Wait 24 hours for proper categorization...the blocked application is automatically sent to PC Matic's malware research team and is tested within 24 hours. It is then categorized as either safe or malicious.

After a year (02/15/17), my revised assessment above is still essentially the same...see my comments in Post #152.

 

Edit 03/08/17: To address the registry cleaning concerns...PC Matic Removes Registry Cleaning Functionality From Default Scans
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PC Matic is software which claims to be an optimizing tool with registry cleaning capability (click the Features tab) that purports to improve performance, make repairs, enhance the speed of a computer, remove viruses and prevent malware infections. PC Matic does not come with typcial anti-virus protection which can find and remove malware as the TV advertisements indicate. The Overview tab says it provide protection against threats by utilizing a "white list" that only allows trusted applications to run. If you read the information under the Features tab on the vendor's website it only says the product protects against modern security threats...and it doesn't specifically say how. They also fail to tell customers that their product has high false positive rates. If you are willing to dig around the PC Matic web site, you eventually will find information about Super Shield, the proprietary real-time technology component to PC Matic. That page also goes into a little more detail about their use of a "white list" (good list) approach in addition to a "black list". Not mentioned for some reason is the company's use and explanation of it's heuristic and behavioral detection technology.

PC Pitstop is the actual company which makes PC Matic..."a collection of all of PC Pitstop's technologies under one hood and one integrated architecture" as they describe it. PC Pitstop is a member of the Microsoft Virus Initiative, the Microsoft Virus Information Alliance, ICSA Labs (a Verizon company), the Anti-Virus Product Developers Consortium, and their product is tested with Virus Bulletin. PC Pitstop was founded in November 1999 by Rob Cheng (the CEO in the PC Matic commercials) and introduced its first optimization software called Optimize in 2004.

The optimization and performance improvement claims made by such software vendors are borderline scams. There is no statistical evidence to back such claims. Advertisements to do so are a marketing ploy intended to goad users into using an unnecessary and potential dangerous product. I would not trust any results the program detects as problematic or needing repair nor recommend using the options to fix them. I also would not trust any detection alerts for viruses or other malware.
 

Bleeping Computer DOES NOT recommend the use of registry cleaners/optimizers for several reasons.
Why you should not use Registry Cleaners and Optimization Tools

Further, these types of junk optimization programs are often considered Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) so they may be detected or even removed by some security scanners which specifically look for PUPs and adware.

In 2014 PC Matic posted this claim...PC Matic Breaks Virus Detection Record on VB100’s RAP Test

The following quote is an opinion written by John D's Computer Services in regards to the above VB Rap Test.

The Truth About MyFastPC and PC Matic
PC Matic commercials are especially bogus, have gotten only worse over time, and, IMO, they frankly should be sued for their claims under the Truth In Advertising law. They actually claim to “block CryptoLocker”, which, IMO, is absolute nonsense.

It gets worse. From their latest late night commercial, where they claim to be a “VB Record Breaker“:

PC Matic won first place in the Virus Bulletin RAP test, the most prestigious security competition in the world. PC Matic, from the United States, outperformed all its foreign competition. This victory is independent, third party validation that PC Matic is the best at blocking viruses and keeping your computer safe from modern threats like CryptoLocker.

Notice the “most prestigious”, “victory”, “best”, etc. It is heavy emphasis upon emotionally appealing words that have little substance underneath. This is how snake oil salesmen work, after all. They rope you in by appealing to emotion and presenting as few facts as possible. And, the few facts they do present are blatant lies.

What they are counting on is that you won’t check up on them.

 

I will admit that I have not tested this product but I have to ask...if PC Matic is so good, why are there so many mixed reviews and complaints?


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#3 Kilroy

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 04:32 PM

Since I'm done watching TV until football season starts back up again I had to search on what the heck this is.  This review from Amazon pretty much sums it up.  Yes, you could probably do just as well with free products.



#4 quietman7

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 04:41 PM

Further, PC Matic does not come with anti-virus protection which can find and remove malware as the TV advertisements indicate. The Overview tab says it provide protection against threats by utilizing a white list that only allows trusted applications to run.
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#5 quietman7

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 05:40 PM

I just saw a new TV advert...PC Matic says only it can prevent CryptoLocker.
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#6 NickAu

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 12:22 AM

@ admin ... ok guys time to close the site pc matic is here and if we use it we will never get another virus.

 

Super Shield is here goodbye viruses. 

:hysterical: :hysterical: :hysterical: :hysterical:

 

 

This is a false misleading and downright dangerous advert

NO Antivirus can claim that, Well they can but it would be a LIE


Edited by NickAu1, 06 February 2014 - 12:33 AM.


#7 quietman7

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 06:29 AM

As I said...Garbage and a waste of money.


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#8 zombiewhacker

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 04:17 PM

Does Cryptolocker even exist, or is the B.S. that PC Matic claims to prevent it? 



#9 quietman7

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 04:24 PM

A repository of all current knowledge regarding Cryptolocker is provided by Grinler (aka Lawrence Abrams), in this tutorial: CryptoLocker Ransomware Information Guide and FAQ
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#10 bamq

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 10:16 PM

I never really pay attention to those TV commercials showing off their "great" software for cleaning your PC.

 

I have seen this software on other people's computers and it just causes more problems from what I can tell.



#11 quietman7

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 05:17 AM

And many folks end up here seeking assistance with removing this junkware and getting things back to normal.
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#12 Kilroy

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 01:29 PM

Yes, Cryptolocker exists, and there is a very long thread about it here.  The problem is which version of Cryptolocker will it prevent as it is well supported by its creators.  Last I heard they made over $40 million.



#13 quietman7

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 04:11 PM

Personally I don't believe PC Matic can deal with any version of Cyptolocker or any other serious threat for that matter. They don't care...it's all about marketing and sales to those who don't know any better.


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#14 Datcoolguy

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 02:56 AM

*video here*

@ admin ... ok guys time to close the site pc matic is here and if we use it we will never get another virus.

 

Super Shield is here goodbye viruses. 

:hysterical: :hysterical: :hysterical: :hysterical:

 

 

This is a false misleading and downright dangerous advert

NO Antivirus can claim that, Well they can but it would be a LIE

Jesus, is this a real ad?

 

Are they really selling their product on TV with that?

 

Edit: Removed embedded video to save space


Edited by Datcoolguy, 12 February 2014 - 02:57 AM.

"If you don't understand how your computer works, you shouldn't be messing with it!"


#15 quietman7

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 07:39 AM

Jesus, is this a real ad?
 
Are they really selling their product on TV with that?

Yes the ad is real...I have seen it several times.
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