1-2-3 Spyware: security software that not only looks bad but performs bad as well
1-2-3 Spyware Free is alleged security software that can “comprehensively scan your PC for unwanted components and will suggest their removal.” Unfortunately, the promises just remain as such, as the app not only uses fake scan results but is also considered to be a potentially unwanted program by 16 security vendors.
From first sight, it might look like just a regular security tool that maybe could be used to protect your Windows PC. Unfortunately, this could not be further from the truth – from its appalling UI to false positives to deceptive distribution techniques – this software is something you should not install in the first place.
False Positives are used to scare users in order to make the purchase the app
1-2-3 Spyware Free uses false positives in order to mislead users about their computer health. We have tested the program on an absolutely clean computer that was never infected with spyware, adware threats, trojans, viruses, or any other malicious parasites. However, the application managed to detect one spyware infection – the swdoctor.exe file and a few related items.
Further analysis revealed that the swdoctor.exe executable actually belongs to PC Tools Spyware Doctor, one of the best legitimate anti-spyware products. This fact clearly shows that 1-2-3 Spyware Free cannot be trusted. Take a look at one of the screenshots provided below.
Poor detection performance
The program's scan engine and parasite detection techniques are really ineffective. We have used the program to scan a badly infected machine. However, 1-2-3 Spyware Free did not detect any threats, although the system was infected with the SpyFalcon trojan, SaveU SaveNow, and Surf SideKick adware, a few downloader trojans, and tracking cookies.
While the application seems to implement real-time protection, it is useless. It could not identify any malicious running processes, and therefore could not terminate them or prevent parasite installation attempts. The free version refuses to remove any threats it finds and asks to register and purchase the full product.
1-2-3 Spyware Free is nothing more than a simple but useless application, which is not worth trying. Using this “spyware remover” can severely damage installed software. The official website is www.smartpctools.com, which specializes in many other similar product distributions. We highly advise you to avoid this app at all costs.
The verdict: look for a better security tool
There are many anti-malware products currently available on the market – from free Windows Defender to dozens of reputable third-party apps. Therefore, you should rely on one of those programs instead of using something that gladly employs scare tactics by using false positives and fails to detect real threats.
Possibly the most concerning issue with 1-2-3 Spyware Free is that it is detected as adware, riskware, or a potentially unwanted program by many security vendors. According to Virus Total, the app can be detected under the following names:
- Unsafe.AI_Score_58%, etc.
Based on our observations, our verdict is very simple: 1-2-3 Spyware Free is a potentially unwanted program that is spread via third-party websites and software bundling; it fails to detect real threats and promotes false positives; it is considered to be a PUP by many vendors. Avoid.