CCleaner, one of the most popular clean-up and tune-up tools worldwide, has been the victim of an embarrassing hack - recent versions of the software have had a virus hidden in the code. We explain how to find out if your PC has an affected copy of Piriform's CCleaner and what to do.
The first point to emphasise is not to panic - dramatic as this hack has been, with one of the most trusted software names around having its good reputation tarnished, the vast majority of CCleaner users are likely to be unaffected.
Even if you have downloaded a virus-laden version of CCleaner, a fixed version has been released, and the impact of the virus appears to be reasonably limited for consumers.
CCleaner hack explained
A virus-laden version of CCleaner was available to download between 15 August and 12 September 2017, when Piriform and parent-company Avast spotted the threat and updated its servers with a new version of CCleaner.
Piriform said that the malware could have sent non-sensitive information from the user’s computer, including 'computer name, IP address, list of installed software, list of active software, list of network adapters', to a third-party server in the US.
If you download CCleaner prior to the 15 August, or since 12 September, then there is no risk to your PC.
If you downloaded CCleaner during this period, or have version v5.33.6162 of the software on your PC, you’ll need to follow a few steps.
What to do if you have an infected version of CCleaner
Uninstall CCleaner from your computer if the version you have is infected, or if this whole affair has left you out of love with Piriform's software. See our guide on how to uninstall software from Windows 10.
We would then recommend conducting a thorough virus scan of your computer to ensure that nothing harmful has been left on your system. Be sure to use up-to-date security software to catch the latest threats.
If you're happy to give Piriform another chance, and wish to reinstall a clean version of CCleaner, you can do so for free from the official Piriform CCleaner website.