When PC security researchers see the message ‘get free smilies’, it immediately sets off multiple red flags. This is because the offer of free emoticons is one of the most common ways in which criminals entice inexperienced computer users into downloading and installing malware onto their computer system. SweetIM, associated with the website and toolbar search.sweetim.com, is one of many dodgy companies that lures its victims with the promise of free emoticons but delivers nothing but plenty of hassles and security risks. Because of this, security researchers strongly advise computer users to stay away from SweetIM or from the search.sweetim.com website. Contact with this ‘free’ service will do nothing but bring infections to your computer system and install a toolbar that cannot be removed through normal means.
The Main Problems with SweetIM
Computer users visiting websites that do not take care to make sure that advertisements they display are not associated with malware will often have come across obtrusive banner advertisements promising free emoticons for your computer. These obnoxious advertisements will often use pop-up windows or sound in order to obstruct computer users’ normal online activity. SweetIM follows all of these tactics. If a computer user downloads SweetIM, SweetIM will immediately block all web browsers except Internet Explorer, since SweetIM is designed to take advantage of Internet Explorer’s known vulnerabilities to Browser Helper Objects (that is, malicious toolbars designed to affect your web browser in some way or another). Then, once installed, SweetIM will not allow the victim to remove the SweetIM toolbar from the web browser through normal uninstall procedures. Since the search.sweetim.com toolbar has several obtrusive features (such as being associated with browser redirects and pop-ups, as well as containing elements that may be spying on your online activity), many computer users will quickly want to remove this obnoxious presence from the web browser.
Removing the SweetIM Toolbar
Since SweetIM does not allow removal through Internet Explorer’s ‘remove add-on’ feature and it cannot be removed from the Control Panel, SweetIM may end up leaving a frown on many of its victims’ faces. However, removing SweetIM can be done by downloading a particular tool which will erase this obtrusive presence from your computer system. Many anti-virus or anti-malware programs will not detect SweetIM for what SweetIM is, although some of the top anti-malware programs on the market will include tools that allow computer users to deal with infections similar to SweetIM. Downloading and installing the latest definitions for your anti-malware software should help in detecting any malware that may have entered your system as a result of installing SweetIM.
How Can You Detect SweetIM?
SweetIM Removal Details
SweetIM has typically the following processes in memory:
- C:\Program Files\Macrogaming\SweetIMBarForIE\toolbar.dll
SweetIM creates the following files in the system:
- C:\Program Files\Macrogaming\
- C:\Program Files\Macrogaming\SweetIMBarForIE\Greetingcards_23×18.bmp
- C:\Program Files\Macrogaming\SweetIMBarForIE\SmileyWink.bmp
- C:\Program Files\Macrogaming\SweetIMBarForIE\toolbar.crc
- C:\Program Files\Macrogaming\SweetIMBarForIE\SmileySmile.bmp
- C:\Program Files\Macrogaming\SweetIMBarForIE\
- C:\Program Files\Macrogaming\SweetIMBarForIE\Mobile_23×18.bmp
- C:\Program Files\Macrogaming\SweetIMBarForIE\version.txt
- C:\Program Files\Macrogaming\SweetIMBarForIE\Thumbs.db
- C:\Program Files\Macrogaming\SweetIMBarForIE\basis.xml
- C:\Program Files\Macrogaming\SweetIMBarForIE\Cache\
- C:\Program Files\Macrogaming\SweetIMBarForIE\Games_23×18.bmp
- C:\Program Files\Macrogaming\SweetIMBarForIE\affid.dat
- C:\Program Files\Macrogaming\SweetIMBarForIE\sweetimicons.bmp
- C:\Program Files\Macrogaming\SweetIMBarForIE\Cache\cd2005c66fba47ff715ecc444d3bc1fb.xml