Update September 2019! What is Driver Tonic? What does Driver Tonic “Virus” do? How to get rid of Driver Tonic “Virus”?
SIDENOTE: This post was originally published in October 2018. But we gave it an update in August 2019.
Driver Tonic is a program that pretends to be a PC optimizer that enhances system performance. But is Driver Tonic a safe program? In fact, it is categorized as rogue software with fraudulent behavior, and many consider it a “virus”. Researchers outline that it could be set to display fake system issues in order to trick you into purchasing its full version. Unfortunately, the Driver Tonic “virus” may sneak into your system and run its installation files without asking you for permission. In case that you see this program running on your machine, you should remove it before it takes the chance to cause some serious security and privacy related issues.
|Type||Rogue application, PUP|
|Short Description||The application attempts to deceive users that it is a legitimate and useful system optimization utility.|
|Symptoms||Intrusive pop-ups, performance issues.|
|Distribution Method||Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by Driver Tonic |
Malware Removal Tool
|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss Driver Tonic.|
Driver Tonic — Distribution. Is Driver Tonic Safe?
Driver Tonic can be distributed using various tactics depending on the target users and the hacking group initiating the attacks. One of the most common tactics is the use of email messages that make use of social engineering tactics that coerce the targets into infecting themselves with the application. The files are either attached directly to the messages or linked in the body contents. They are designed to appear as legitimate notifications posing as originating from a well-known Internet company or service.
The files can also be uploaded to hacker-controlled sites — they are advertised as official vendor downloads pages, Internet portals or ad pages. They may use various images, interactive elements and contents that promises system optimization and other computer enhancements.
Other popular distribution tactics incorporate the virus delivery via code placed in infected payload carriers of which there are two main types:
- Software Installers — The Driver Tonic application installer code can be embedded in software installers of popular applications used by end-users. Typical examples include system utilities, creativity suites and productivity apps. Once they are installed on the target machines the virus infection will be deployed.
- Infected Documents — A similar technique can be applied to documents of all types: presentations, text files, databases and spreadsheets. They are disguised as legitimate notifications, messages, contracts, invoices or other commonly used files. Whenever they are opened by the victims a notification message will be spawned asking the users to enable the built-in macros. If this is done the installer scripts will be called leading to the Driver Tonic deployment.
These infected payloads can be distributed via file-sharing networks such as BitTorrent. They are a very popular place to search for pirate contents, installers of software, documents and e-books.
One of the advanced distribution tactics is the use of malicious web browser plugins. They are created to support the most popular software and are uploaded to their respective extension repositories. The use of fake user reviews, developer credentials and an elaborate description promising added functionality are warning signs of this type of infection. Whenever they are installed a typical behavior pattern is run automatically. In most cases this is the reconfiguration of the browser to redirect to a certain hacker-controlled site. The most common settings that are changed include the default home page, search engine and new tabs page. Following it other modules are launched, including the payload delivery one.
Driver Tonic — More About Its Impact. Is Driver Tonic Malware?
Driver Tonic is a software utility that is advertised as a quality system optimizer bearing resemblance to other similar entries. we have received reports that applications using its name are scams or hold malware code into them. This does not mean that the original application is bad software or that its developers are hackers. However we warn users that such copies do exist and serious damage can be caused to their machines. Our article gives details on how a typical infection will affect the target computers.
Upon installation of the application it may initiate an in-depth information gathering — an automated engine can be called that will harvest strings that can be roughly grouped into two main categories:
- Private User Data — The virus engine may extract information related to the identity of the users. Example contents includes their name, address, phone number, location and any stored account credentials. The collected information may be used for financial abuse and identity theft. –
- Computer Data — The other type of information that is retrieved from the systems is a report on the installed hardware components, certain user settings and operating system values.
When this stage is complete the extracted information can be used for another procedure — the so-called stealth protection module which will hide the infection from any security software or services that can interfere with it. This includes anti-virus programs, programmer debug environments, sandboxes and virtual machine hosts. Depending on the exact code they5 can either bypass the engines or altogether remove them.
The Driver Tonic application itself is being advertised as a system optimization utility. Upon interaction with the utility’s site the victims are redirected through various gateways that coerce them into buying a subscription package deal. This is one of the main goals of the app’s developers. A trial version is also available which will run a faux scan of the system. When the users engage the “fix” option they will be redirected to the payment site.
One of the reasons why the malicious copies of Driver Tonic should not be trusted. The security reports indicate that the installed application seems to be merely a user interface to standard Windows utilities. This means that the users may achieve the same or better results by using the control panel and the other service options available in Microsoft Windows.
An important reason that discourages users from using is the built-in option of driver updates which should not be trusted. In many cases third-party software that replaces the drivers delivered by Microsoft may lead to severe software issues. The provided support in the case of malicious and fake applications can lead to fake tech support scams — the users can be tricked into giving the operators more money for fraud recovery.
Another cause for concern is the fact that its use can lead to any of the typical features that are found in fake system optimizers:
- Payload Delivery — Many of the contaminated threats are used as payload devices for spreading viruses, ransomware, Trojans and other threats. This is done so as the fake software will go through the necessary steps to bypass the security software.
- Intrusive Ads — The applications through the collected personal data can display personalized ads. Whenever the ad is clicked on revenue will be rewarded to the malicious operators.
- Optimization Failure — Legitimate system issues may not be resolved by the application.
Remove Driver Tonic “Virus”. How Do I Uninstall Driver Tonic?
In order to remove Driver Tonic and all its associated files from your PC you should complete all steps listed in the removal that follows. It presents both manual and automatic removal approaches that combined could help you to remove this undesired program in full. The automatic approach could properly locate all potentially harmful files so that you could access and remove them easily. Have in mind that some of the files associated with this rogue program may be detected with different names than Driver Tonic.
In case that you have further questions or need additional help, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact us via email.