Lawsuit Filed Against Winfixer (a/k/a ErrorSafe, WinAntiSpyware, WinAntiVirus, SystemDoctor and DriveCleaner)

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the makers of Winfixer, also known as ErrorSafe, WinAntiSpyware, WinAntiVirus, SystemDoctor and DriveCleaner. The lawsuit specifically names Marc J. Cohen and James Reno as defendants.

While claiming to fix Windows system problems, the lawsuit alleges, it actually caused the primary plaintiff – Beatrice Ochoa – and at least 100 other unnamed plaintiffs (so far) – unspecified damages as it caused their hard drives to bog down and grind to a halt.

Winfixer and its other incarnations, such as ErrorSafe, SystemDoctor and DriveCleaner, all work in the same way. They somehow end up installed on the victim’s computer, and start throwing up pop-ups that say things like “Your computer may be at risk”, urging you to purchase the Winfixer software. According to Ochoa’s attorney, Winfixer “badgered her with repeated pop-up warnings that her computer had security threats” until she finally relented and purchased Winfixer, only to have it incapacitate her computer.

 

Symantec and many other anti-spyware and anti-adware systems classify Winfixer as adware at best, spyware or malware at worst. Says Symantec, “WinFixer is a Security Risk that may give exaggerated reports of threats on the computer. The program then prompts the user to purchase a registered version of the software in order to remove the reported threats.”

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According to Sandi Hardmeier, a Microsoft MVP, “Advertising networks have had trouble with Winfixer ads suddenly being served up by their networks despite no affiliation with its creators.” At one time Winfixer even began showing up in Microsoft’s MSN Messenger windows!

While at present there are 100 additional plaintiffs signed up for the class action, who here hasn’t seen those “your system could be at risk” pop-ups? It seems that if this lawsuit really moves forward, the class of plaintiffs could potentially reach the thousands.

Says Ochoa’s attorney, Joseph M. Bochner, “All of these people are being defrauded and they’re just ordinary folks. They buy a computer, they surf the Internet, they’re not doing anything unreasonable and suddenly they’re defrauded.”

 

If you are one of those people, and think that you may have been affected by Winfixer, ErrorSafe, WinAntiSpyware, WinAntiVirus, SystemDoctor or DriveCleaner, you may want to contact Bochner yourself. His contact information is here.

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54 Replies to “Lawsuit Filed Against Winfixer (a/k/a ErrorSafe, WinAntiSpyware, WinAntiVirus, SystemDoctor and DriveCleaner)”

  1. They are still at it, just changed “product” names. Now it’s System Tool, fell like the only tool being used by them. This is flat out extortion.

  2. I would like to join the class action lawsuit against Antimalware Doctor for taking control of my computer. I think they the owners of this need to do jail time for what they cost us in down time and time lost…

  3. You will all be pleased to know that James Reno’s and others involved in the winfixer scam have had their assets seized by the FTC. Hopefully he will do hard time in a federal penitentiary with ‘bubba’ and ‘Tyrone!

  4. I got this on my computer and I had to buy a new one. It started as a popup and when I clicked the X button it downloaded itself, causing havok with endless popups. It then started to crash my system and put other rubbish on my computer. Then I got the dreaded blue screen of death and had to reinstall windows which cost me $50! Absolutely ridiculous. Count me in those numbers. I believe the company making these fraudulent programs is ‘WinSoft’.

  5. I hope you put them out of business. In the meantime here are a few free programs I’ve found to fix the issues: Malwarebytes, Spy Bot and Ad Aware.

    Good Luck

  6. Good News..Joseph M. Bochner has since been re-instated to practise law in California. He had failed to pay his bar fee but since has paid it.

  7. I too have been infected by the dang things, but have been successful in removing them with a really good system scan and virus remover. As far a lawsuit, I am all game for it. But, do you really think you are going to get these guys in a USA Courtroom when these programs come from places like Poland, Russia, Ukraine, etc…The folks that do this are SCUM but there are not dumb. They know lawsuits will be coming at them. And by getting out of the country they make it very to catch them. Besides, the operation is probally already shut down and another one started. Just get yourself a very good anti-virus program and scan your PC often. The lawsuit crap will just waste your time, these guys know what they are doing. They blame the virus on “their advertizing agents” and are willing to “help” you catch them…….. :-(

  8. I was recently struck by WinAntiVirus under the name of VistaAntiVirus (file vav.exe et.al.). I had to do a complete recovery because the virus removed all my restore points. Needless to say, I lost everything. It ate my backups. I was hopeful of becoming a part of the class action but it seems that according to the State Bar as of July 1, 2008, attorney Joseph M. Bochner can no longer practice law in California.

  9. Hey.. I repair computers in my spare time and if anyone has some nasty spyware and can’t figure out how to get rid of it email me and I can either walk you thru it for free or for a small fee + shipping I can repair the windows software on your hard drive or the whole PC if you don’t know how to remove the hard drive.

    E-mail me at toowickkidd@yahoo.com and I can try to help you.

  10. yes. these fuckers should eat glass. i just removed that shit entirly i hope u make them bankrupt!

  11. The latest news isn’t good. The suit has been dropped due to lack of interest by law enforcement. Some even doubted that a crime had taken place. It looks like that pimply faced hillbilly James Reno is going to get away with this for some time to come. The reactions of the FBI and the FTC regarding this kind of fraud are apalling!

  12. I have been fighting these jackoffs since 2005 when winantivirus was highly praise. When I down loaded the program it came with 500+ viruses, trojons and other nasty things. To this day I still haven’t been able to get ride of them. I true;y feel everyones pain. Lets hang them for the highest tree and stone them to death.

  13. HELP! I’ve been hit with “Virus
    Ranger” and “Virus Heat” What do
    I do to get rid of them. Every time
    I right click on my mouse to delete
    them they “pop up” for installation

    The things are like a school of
    blood sucking flying leaches that
    haven’t eaten for a week.

  14. I was also infected by a Vundo Virus. It took me over a week to clkean my system. I would certainly be interetsed in supporting a lawsuit, if anyone can find thses guys.

  15. I am a novice computer user and I am one of us who has drive cleaner, winantivirus and winantivirus pro 2007 downloaded on my home pc. I am going to try and get it off of my computer asap. I think I will try Luke’s process of remove. Contact me Luke by email as I may need your help. Thanks ddwelsh at frontiernet dot net

  16. I work at a computer repairs store, and we get this problem often on customer machines. I have just finished saving another machine from these programs. Here’s how I fix them – Go to add/remove programs and uninstall them, go to Program Files and delete its files (be sure to check Common Files too) then use CCleaner and other such programs to clean out your registry, then do some anti virus and spyware scans; i use SuperAntiSpyware, it does a good job of getting rid of these programs. Lastly, turn off system restore and restart. Test to see if it seems to be gone, and if so you can turn system restore back on.

  17. This crap somehow got on my laptop. I have mcafee so i’m pissed at them too for lettin this through. I tried to google how to get rid of it and Winantivirus hijacks every site and sends me to the Mother F*cking Winantivirus site. WTF! Ive been to like thirty on them! this morning I’m going to email my congressman and ask for them tho pass more stringent laws and add mandatory jail time so that these companies can’t just file bankrupt and walk off with money they didnt earn. I did not pay for the crap, but my wife almost did.
    I would sudjest you all write your congressmen/women too. and hopefully these clowns will go down.

    Oh, and may satan save a special place in hell for these @$$holes

  18. I finally have some information on James Reno who is involved in the distribution of winantivirus. Here is the address and phone for his company bytehosting. support@bytehosting.com phone 1-866-894-6192×2 address 3864 McMann rd. Suite A, Cincinnati, Ohio 45245 and another company that he is involved with that works with winantivirus; billingnow. Their email is help@billingnow.com . Billingnow seems to be a shell website with links and features that lead nowhere. Why don’t you give them a call and tell them what you think of James Reno and winantivirus or send them an email, better yet, send them LOTS of emails at help@billingnow.com

  19. When I find an email address for James Reno I will post it. He is responsible for the distribution of this malware. You might email his company bytehosting in Amelia Ohio and tell him what you think of him, his product, and his mama!!! Oh, he’s also connected with a company called billingnow. They are the ones who try to collect for winantivirus. You may also want to tell them what you think of them!!

  20. Bloody fucking winfixer bastards. I will fuck your entire family upside down. U cause nothing but trouble. I hope justice will take its cause and scumbags like you will be excuted!

  21. Thanks for the action. I have beeen harassed by this maicious software. I hope these people will be hanged or jailed for life. They cause so much trouble to the world. SCUMS OF THE EARTH!

  22. If you have come to this site it is most probably too late to warn you but I can now recall how I was caught out. A dialogue box which had an extremely credible Windows Security Centre banner including the coloured shield appeared and I clicked install without a second thought thinking it was from Windows Security(a lesson learned). Warn your friends to beware of this as it will catch out a lot of people. I also found, like J Davis, I had no way of getting rid of ‘winfixer’ and have since read it is a clever program which apparently teaches your computer not to detect it. I had recently installed McAfee having used Norton for a number of years without a serious virus infecting my PC. It would be interesting to know which security suites it is by-passing. Prevention is far easier than cure which in my case was to re-format and then improve my security.

  23. I was recently infected with this malicious program. The 2007 version is very difficult to get rid of. It seemed to know when you are trying to get rid of it and will lock up your pc. It would not allow me to download spy bot. I had to have my hard drive cleaned and lost files not to mention lost work time. There is now a lawsuit which names two of the scumbags involved in the distribution of this malware. James Reno of bytehosting and billingnow and Marc Cohen of vipfares. All these companies have been the subject of numerous consumer complaints and maintain fake websites complete with links that go nowhere and buttons that don’t work. I hope both these guys are given lengthy prison sentences and are forced to pay the thousands who have been victimized by their fraud.

  24. Thought I had good security and still got hit by winfixer’s programs. Was trying to get rid of it when hard porn started appearing which is embarrasing and could be upsetting if you have kids using your computer. My only solution was to format the ‘c’ drive as I save the important stuff on partitions. This isn’t particularly difficult to do with XP even for a computer novice as there is plenty info on the net. I have since installed Spybot which is a free download and should prevent it getting back in. While it has cost me time and inconvenience at least the b*****ds didn’t get any money out of me.

  25. P. Davis, you are correct to a degree. The truth is, as soon as you SEE the message about WinAntiSpyware on your task bar, it’s too late. I have had a number of users asking me to help remove this Betrayware from their home PCs and I’m starting to dislike the product with a passion.
    I’m also finding the software (or something it downloads) will also LEARN as you try to remove it from your PC and starts denying access to the areas you have to go, even in safe mode! The one I’m working on at the moment I have been restricted (on all accounts!) from accessing Control Panel, Start Menu, Task Manager, Run Command, Regedit, running applications from the CD, copy and paste and even system properties (so system restore is even difficult)
    This is a Nasty piece of software and I hope the programmers suffer the direst penalty available to law!

  26. I would just like to add that when these programs ‘ask’ if you would like to download and install their program the internet user sometimes seemingly has no choice, as it appears from numerous posts on boards like this (probably near the thousands) indicates that even clicking the deny button or closing the download box via the ‘X’ in the top right corner still results in the automatic download of a self extracting .exe file. I don’t know much about Internet law, but isn’t the idea that you expressly deny permission for a stranger to enter your home and then they force their way after you’ve shut the door called ‘breaking and entering’. The amount of man-hours that have been employed to clean up this mess across offices seems absolutely beyond the pale. They are a public menace and should serve a satisfactory prison sentence for the years of damage they seem to have done.

  27. I had to do a system restore on my desktop after it was infected with WINANTISPYWARE2007 there was no other way to get rid of it. I spend a week removing files, fixing the registry and running utilities to no avail, it kept comming back until I restored the entire system and then had to spend 2 days updating and recovering everything. I would like to join the class action.

    Daniel Dale Davis Sr.
    1346 Chancellor DR
    Holiday, FL 34690

  28. I had one of these Java popups come up on me out of nowhere, urging me to install software on my computer since, according to the popup, if my registry had problems that I could experience trouble with my computer.

    Thanks, SystemDoctor, except I know that’s BS since this popup happened on my Mac and OS X does not use a registry. (Yes, this partcular Javascript just runs in the way it was programmed, regardless of what computer it’s running on.)

    Of course, it still tried to make me download the application, but I’m always prompted first if I want to download it. Even if I did download it, it won’t run on OS X.

    This is one of those moments I’m glad I use my Mac more than my Windows machine.

  29. What these pricks do is essentially practice fraud and perpetuate the damage of machines by loss of data from the freezes and crashes that occur when their pop-ups conflict with a legitimate ad-blocker, they should certainly face jail time for it, and I hope the plaintiffs win and put them in the poor house. I suffer this rubbish from the belief I was downloading a small burning program the file was only about 2MB but installed a hoard of malware, I should have been aware to be honest. Most of it has been cleaned up but I still cannot get rid of the occasional freezes, site redirects and new instances of my browser opening a new window. I’m also glad the names of ‘James Reno’ and ‘Marc J. Cohen’ are now out in the public, perhaps an acquaintance of theirs who’s computer has been affected will gladly break their noses. As I was typing this an ad for WinAntiVirus has cropped up twice.

  30. When trying to dismiss the pop-up dialog away by clicking the cross, the user is automatically taken, against his or her wish, to errorsafe.com. Depending on how one defines `visiting`, by arriving on errorsafe.com, one complies to errorsafe.com’s Privacy Policy, from which I will quote the relevant excerpt:

    “By visiting and purchasing products through errorsafe.com’s Web site, you authorize errorsafe.com to collect and use the information described above.”

    In short, the user is forced to accept said policy against his will.

  31. This adware/spyware, is making my life miserable, shut’s Internet explorer in the middle of a chat and freeze the computer. I have to reboot. Take me 30 min to get back to were I was. Please do something. I can’t believe it’s possible to have someone wreck you system and get away with it. I want to join this law suit.

  32. I’m just fixing my computer now as a bad download got me the Vundo virus which keeps popping up WinAntiVirusPro and other stuff. I’m doing a Symantec tool to remove it right now, the last tool from someone didn’t work, the system was forced to lock up and shut down to prevent me from removing it. It started small, then Antivirus and Spyware software stopped working- e.g. Trend Micro’s online virus scan Housecall, which has usually fixed anything my installed security software cant, closes before I can remove what it finds. Then AVG which I installed, gives loads of false finds including classing itself as a virus. Then now I have to be in safe mode as I just get logged straight back out if I log in normally and other applications have stopped working. I really think sites like this should be shut down as soon as possible. I noticed someone mentioning it’s our fault and we should be careful but many people are novices. My dad messed his computer up once, as he was suckered in by these we have found viruses on your comouter pop-ups. Also I might not be the brightest in computing but I know a bit and I’m safe and usually don’t pick anything up, but it can happen to even the experts. You know there are legal hackers that companies hire to hack into their systems and so on, well why not have legal hackers hacking into sites like this. I know they probablly will just fix it or make a new one, but while they are doing that, somone could be tracing them or something.

  33. I bought my daughter a new computer 6 months ago. It was great, until VinAntiPro Virus or whatever infested the computer. I would delete it from files run scans and do everything to get rid of it….Turn on the computer, and there is was again. It downloaded itself. Today, the computer crashed and we can’t get to anything……I would love to be involved in any class action suit against whoever. Can someone advise…..I don’t know if this can be fixed.

  34. I never saw the Winfixer ads, seeing how I use Firefox, with NoScript and the like.
    However, lately my tabs(In Firefox) have been malfunctioning – – it takes as long as 15 seconds for it to do ANYthing when I click a tab. I end up clicking the still faded tab a hundred times in a fury and then when it actually moves it goes crazy trying to obey all the clicks I did at the same time.
    Using Spybot I found 2(?) entries for ErrorSafe a few minutes ago. (It must have downloaded on its own because I never saw the pop up.) I got rid of it, and five minutes later, just as I’m writing this message, I find my tabs working normally again. I think it was ErrorSafe because everything else I found were just tracking cookies.

    What’s ironic about all this, is that I NEVER saw Errorsafe actually ‘Pop Up’ and do its supposed damage to my computer. Guess I just got lucky. I didnt know about the ‘full’ version they were ‘selling’ since I never saw their pop ups, but I can only imagine what it must be like.

    I doubt I’m old enough to participate in law, but at least I can add to the numbers who want to end this scam.
    I never really ‘lost’ anything (Thank goodness) but I could have been close. Hopefully our computers will be a bit safer knowing we can trust all programs once again, if(Or hopefully, once) ‘Winfixer’ goes underground.

  35. These people should face jail time plus pay back double the amount to the users who downloaded their program and a new computer to everyone who is affected, including me.

  36. This WinAntiVirus has made me curse like I haven’t since I was a teenager. I have purchased programs that I didn’t need and messed in the registry where I don’t belong. Can someone say “class-action lawsuit” lets get rid of these bums once and for all.

  37. This is wrong. It is a waste of everyones time to try and fix this kind of thing. I will push for them to be sewed. The should pay everyone for their time and effort to remove this from their machines. So far they can pay me for 5 hrs already and more soon because I see it again now.

  38. I am also one of the victoms that had their computer hijacked, some how they can install their software in anyones computer. The names that I find them under is Winantivirus.pro, or virus ranger, virus heal, anti spy gold, system. doctor, error save, and winfixer.

  39. I guess I’ll have to buy a mac too. I can’t get rid of WinAntiVirus. I can barely afford to pay to put my daughter thru college, and now I guess we need to buy a new laptop because I can’t expect her to live with these constant pop-ups and downloads that Microsoft, Symantec, Spyware Doctor and Registry Mechanic can’t fix. These companies are all wasting our time and money.

  40. I found a simple solution to stop these horrible things from being a part of my life. I bought a mac. Our work computers suffer under this dreaded winfixer, and we all hate it. Mac OS X is imune to this an all other known viruses. Well worth the few hundred extra you pay for a mac.

  41. How do I get rid of this crap on my computer. Its really getting to be a pain in the ass.

  42. I have been through SO MANY different spyware/malware programs to try to get rid of these DAMN ANNOYING POPUPS BY SYSTEM DOCTOR, WINANTIVIRUS AND DRIVECLEANER. I am absolutley sick to death of them. I
    knew it was all a load of bullshit but didn’t know it went this far. I have spent large amounts of money on programs I don’t even need to get rid of this problem, Thanks a lot you stupid cyber nerd FUCKHEADS.

  43. i swear to God, if i were to see any of you winfixer bitches, i’d beat the shit out of you, and your mother.

  44. You guys r right i cant even finish typing my school work and that damn winantivirus keeps popping up to see if i wanna purchase it and dat shit is definitely setting me on fire and these computer geeks have no life but to mess up other peoples computer

  45. I was in the middle of reading very important medical information when my site was hijacked. Who would want to do business with such jackasses?

  46. Ruben, if I shoot you with a gun, is it your fault you’re not bullet proof? Also remember that these guys SELL this product to people as well as force people to download it

  47. I surfed to this article to get additional information about the dreaded ErrorSafe/Winfixer. Upon arrival here, guess whose advertisement was promptly displayed at the top of the page?

    If you guessed “WinFixer”, then you are correct.

    —John Johnson

  48. Yes, I suppose that you can file a lawsuit against these guys. But I really doubt that that will change the actual situation. Because a good operating system doesn’t get corrupted by a couple of clicks in your browser. “You should check your own back yard before looking at someone else’s.”

  49. Put me on the list,,,going on over 8 hours trying to get rid of this thiefware! Whats really crazy is the number of other sites offering to sell you this junk

  50. God BLess you for taking this step…Enough is enough…wonder how these morons can actually badger and pester ppl to buy these highly annoying products…

  51. wishing you all the power in the world to sue the hell out of these people. computers are full of enough trouble to have such intrusive marketing make more problems. i feel really sorry for less ‘computer savvy’ folks who must get completely freaked out by systemdoctors aggresive marketing.

  52. My computer was infected with many errors and trojans viruses and the like. I too will press for a lawsuit. Pleas keep me informed as to what you do.

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