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Spyware in Cracked Earth

Some types of spyware are practically harmless and are used for legitimate purposes.  Some bog your computer down with advertisements, terribly effecting it's performance.  Others are used with malicious intent, secretly collecting your personal data and reporting it back to third-party sources.  CrackedEarth is one example of spyware that has the ability to do all of the above and much more. 

What is CrackedEarth? 

CrackedEarth is a BHO (browser helper object) program that is downloaded without a victim's knowledge.  It is typically installed along with shareware applications or Trojan horses masquerading as useful programs.  This type of spyware is also distributed via Active X drive-by downloads in which it is contracted by visiting compromised web sites.  CrackedEarth functions by hijacking the Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser and often modifies a users homepage and search page.  It may also install additional toolbar features such as bookmarks and links in the Favorites list.  The CrackedEarth program is executed every time a user launches the Internet Explorer web browser. 

CrackedEarth is not to be confused with a virus or Trojan though it does have characteristics similar to a Trojan horse.  It may work as an adware dropper by delivering adware components and other malicious programs into a user's system.  When executed, a setup window is displayed which indicates that a folder has been created and files have been dropped.  The CrackedEarth installer drops a DLL. file which is injected into the Internet Explorer application.  The DLL. files is responsible for redirecting a user to specific sites when certain keywords are typed into the address bar.   

It is recognized that such a program may have a genuine purpose in the context where an authorized user has knowingly installed the application.  If you have agreed to the licensing terms of this software or that of another bundled program, there may be legal obligations attached to removing CrackedEarth or using the original application without conjunction of this application. 

Removing CrackedEarth

A common way to remove this type of spyware is to uninstall CrackedEarth using the "Add/Remove Program" utility of your operating system.  Unfortunately, this method often leaves behind scattered spyware files that enable CrackedEarth to completely reappear following a system reboot.

Here are a few tips for detecting and removing this stubborn piece of spyware:      

Step 1: From your desktop screen, go to "Start">"Search">"All Files and Folders"

Step 2: In the box that reads "All or part of the file name" enter "CrackedEarth"

Step 3: If CrackedEarth files are discovered during the search, hover your cursor over the folder, highlight and right-click it. 

Step 4: When the dialog box displays, navigate down and click "Delete".  This should move the CrackedEarth folder and all of it's files to the Recycle Bin. 

Step 5: Access the Recycle Bin from your Desktop screen and "Empty" the program files from your system.

In order to avoid the risk of damaging your computer or not completely disposing of the program, security experts recommend using a reliable anti-spyware application to automatically detect and remove CrackedEarth along with other types of spyware that pose a threat to your system. 

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In 2003, Americans spent 300 million hours resolving issues related to identity theft.

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