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    Responding to the Computer Skeptic

    March 13, 2019 by Kayla Elliott in Newsletter,tips

    It has been brought to PC Pitstop's attention, the Courier Journal published an opinion piece regarding PC Matic - written by self-proclaimed "computer techie", Jim Fisher.

    Unfortunately, the article was littered with misinformation about PC Pitstop, PC Matic and even personal attacks against the company's CEO, Rob Cheng. Moreover, there is no indication that Mr. Fisher even attempted to test any of the products.

    It should be noted, the PC Matic team made several attempts to reach out to Mr. Fisher regarding his article, without response.

    That being said, everyone is entitled to their opinion; however, it is important PC Matic takes the time to go through his post and share a response.

    The article beings with,

    You have probably heard of them. Their cringe-worthy commercials are everywhere. Their actors are horrible. The owner reminds me of one of those creepy head statues on Easter Island.

    This is merely a personal attack against the company and CEO.

    Moving on to his numerous false claims.

    Perhaps “scam” is too strong a word for this horrible program but I’m gonna stick with the term because scamming is how these people got their start and once a scammer; always a scammer. You need to know that they are not deserving of your dollars.

    PC Pitstop, the maker of PC Matic, did not originate as a scam. This is PC Pitstop's 20th year in business and has built their company by addressing the needs of computer users as those needs have evolved.

    PC Pitstop originated as a free diagnostic website to help identify common computer problems. Over ten years, PC Pitstop developed various programs including Optimize, Erase, Exterminate, Driver Alert, and Disk MD to continue to meet the needs of PC users. Then in 2009, the company recognized a need for a security solution, which led to the creation of PC Matic. This product continued to evolve into the whitelist-based security solution used today.

    The company is also a member of the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization (AMTSO), is PCI-DSS compliant, and FIPS 140-2 compliant. In addition, PC Pitstop was recognized for IT Achievement of the Year by Networks Products Guide and Vendor of the Year by InfoSecurity Products Guide in 2018.

    PC Matic appeared on my radar years ago as “PC Pitstop.” It was one of many fake antivirus programs that people were tricked into installing on their computer. Once this software was on a computer, it would display all sorts of horrible problems that needed to be fixed or Bad Things would happen.

    PC Pitstop was never marketed as antivirus software. As mentioned earlier, PC Pitstop did develop PC Matic in 2009. Until December 2018, PC Matic did offer a free scan option. This would scan your PC and let you know what would be fixed if you purchased the software. This was not a scare tactic, but enabled the potential customer to view real-time scan results explaining what PC Matic would do, if they opted to purchase.

    Of course there was a convenient link to purchase the software that would “fix” the problems you didn’t have. Eventually PC Matic, much like some mafia bosses, made enough money scamming people to “go legit.”

    Not everything listed in these scan results would be classified as a problem. The scan results are color-coded and range from found malicious software to simple enhancements to increase the efficiency of the computer. Claiming they were all problems is inaccurate.

    So how does PCMatic actually perform compared to other antivirus programs? Well, if you listen to their commercials, they get 100% perfect scores. No one in my line of business would believe that claim and you shouldn’t either. No antivirus program is perfect but there are some objective ways to determine which ones offer the best protection.

    Check out the test results! PC Matic received a 99.99% detection rate in independent testing from Virus Bulletin. In addition, PC Matic earned a 100% protection rating in the most recent round of testing with AV-Test, and PC Magazine scored PC Matic with 100% malware detection and malicious URL blocking capabilities.

    PC Magazine

    I visited PC Matic’s website to look at their own review of their product. They referenced an independent comparison of various antivirus published in PC Magazine (a reputable source) who apparently gave them the “best” score. Skeptical of this claim, I went to the source (a skeptic always goes to the source) and here is what they actually said, “PC Matic scored highest in the latest test, with 94.75%, but failed overall due to many false positives."

    They FAILED! False positives are never a good thing. What that means is that PCMatic will shutdown many innocent programs which is exactly what I see in my shop. People with PC Matic complain of all sorts of warnings and stuff just not working right (such as not being able to access the internet). We remove PC Matic and, miraculously, the PC starts running well.

    Following Mr. Fisher's advice, the PC Matic team went back to PC Magazine to see what exactly was said. However, they were unable to find the quote referenced by Mr. Fisher. PC Matic's testing scores from PC Magazine were however obtained, and have been included in an early portion of this article.

    Getting back to the matter at hand -- false positives. These are often a topic of discussion since PC Matic uses an application whitelist technology as its primary method of malware detection.

    When using a whitelist, only known trusted programs are allowed to execute. All other unknown files are blocked until testing is completed to determine the security of the file. If a trusted program is blocked, as it may be with the use of a whitelist, it is deemed a false positive. This does happen with PC Matic, but the occurrence is a rarity.

    To keep false positives to a minimum, PC Matic tests unknown files daily, enabling the software's global whitelist to remain updated in real-time. This testing ensures almost all of the common software PC Matic users deploy is on PC Matic's global whitelist. In the most recent AV-Test results, PC Matic's false positive percentage was .0027%

    The false positive scare can be a bit more severe for businesses, so PC Matic Pro does offer two unique options, learning mode, and an onboarding team. Learning Mode allows customers to automate the whole deployment process while the PC Matic Pro team captures the unique applications for them and categorizes them within the first 24-48 hours.

    Also, the onboarding team works with every new account to assist them with not only the full deployment process but ensures any unique applications are whitelisted quickly to avoid any interruption in company operations and/or productivity. 

    My biggest problem with PC Matic is that they do keep inching up in the ranks of independent evaluations. But they are getting there because they started out as scammers, did more scammy things to boost sales such as offering “registry cleaners” and “driver updates” for an extra charge (which are worthless, by the way).

    They recently stopped charging extra for those because so many of us techie people gave them grief about it but they are still scammers at the core and should not be rewarded for the evil they’ve done!

    Mr. Fishers claims about PC Pitstop and PC Pitstop software are baseless. The company has, and always will, be an advocate for computer users.  Whether that is offering free technical support, or a 30-day money back guarantee or going above and beyond in the IT industry. PC Pitstop has been on the front lines of the fight against some of the earliest spyware, conducted industry-leading research of the dangers of lithium-ion batteries in laptops, increased awareness for the importance of reading EULAs and continues to offer free resources to the general public - including internet speed test, weekly newsletters, and public forums

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