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Tech Q&A: Stop online theft of PC processing power

Steve Alexander, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Science & Technology News

Q: About once a day, a dialog box pops on my Windows 10 PC. It says: "Zupdate. Error creating process." That's followed by a long location address on my hard drive, and the words "Reason: Insufficient system resources exist to complete the requested service." I'm asked to click "OK." I don't have a clue what this means. What should I do?

-- Lisa Nekich, Minneapolis

A: "Zupdate" is a malware program that allows someone on the internet to steal more than 90% of your PC's processing power for other uses.

You need to remove Zupdate (known to malware researchers as ZUpdater.exe) from your PC by running the free version of the Malwarebytes security program (see tinyurl.com/y5c375y8), then check the removal with two other programs (see tinyurl.com/y3r9bcp2).

Zupdate lets a hacker use your PC to process online financial transactions. This makes your PC run slower. And the PC is used so intensively that its internal temperature rises, which may shorten the lifetime of its processor.

Because of the invention of digital currency in the 1990s, it is possible to buy and sell goods and services internationally using digital currency (such as Bitcoin, Litecoin or Novacoin), instead of conventional money (such as U.S. dollars, European euros or Japanese yen.) But, in order for people to trust these digital currencies, there needs to be a way to verify their financial transactions. Verification is done by hordes of privately owned computers that process complicated mathematical problems. The owners of these computers make a profit based on how many transactions they verify.

 

This is where your PC comes in. Some hackers would also like to make money by verifying digital currency transactions, but without buying a lot of computer equipment. Instead, they steal the use of consumer PCs by using malware that turns the PCs into financial workhorses.

You can stop these hackers by removing the malware from your PC.

Q: I keep getting a "low memory" warning on my phone, an Alcatel OneTouch Pixi Pulsar A460G. I added a 20-gigabyte removable memory card and offloaded some apps, photos and videos to it, leaving me with 2 gigabytes of free storage space on the phone. But that didn't help because the Google Play Services app quickly filled much of the 2 gigabytes. I realize that I can't uninstall Google Play Services because it's part of the phone's basic services. What can I do?

-- Stacey Jeffries, Akron, Ohio

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