A new variant of an old spyware infection was discovered this morning by the Schrock Innovations research department called Popcorn.net. Popcorn.net replaces the well known MoviePass infection that Internet users intentionally or unintentionally installed on their computers while attempting to download music or movies from the Internet. Once the free trial software expires, Popcorn.net demands $29.99 a month from unsuspecting victims. Those who refuse to pay can be slapped with a $359.88 bill and a damaged credit report.
According to Thor Schrock, owner of Schrock Innovations, the Popcorn.net software blurs the line somewhat between a legitimate software subscription service and a dangerous spyware threat. The software seems to provide a legitimate service, but also collects information about all of the programs on your computer to prevent “software conflicts.” This same information could be used to detect anti-spyware programs and build counter measures into the Popcorn.net software.
Schrock said a telltale sign of the presence of this software is when your computer starts displaying Popcorn.net messages asking you for billing information. Schrock recommends that unless you wish to continue subscribing to the Popcorn.net service, you immediately call Popcorn.net and cancel your account before you remove the software
The Popcorn.net and MediaPipe software do have uninstallers that are provided by the company and located in the Add/Remove Programs folder. While the uninstallers remove a great deal of the software, they do not remove everything so a manual cleanup is required of up to 5 folders in the Program Files folder on your computer’s hard drive.
Schrock Innovations has created a free tutorial that instructs consumers how to contact Popcorn.net to unsubscribe, as well as how to stop the annoying pop-ups generated by the Popcorn.net software.