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Pup.MyWebSearch


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#1 TheCause

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 05:50 PM

I scanned with MBAM a few days back, and it found 200+ infections. 98% of them were PUP.MyWebSearch.
After removal, everything I was fine. I left my computer on for a few days (not logging out or anything). After I logged out a few days later, facebook started having problems. It seems like something is wrong with the "style". Google Chrome works fine, but this isn't my computer so I can't say "Well just use Chrome."

Here is what FB looks like:

Posted Image

As you can see, the style is messed up, and there is a black transparent shade over the whole page. If I go to View > Style > •No Style, it gets rid of the black shadow, but thats it.

(obviously I "blocked out" my friend's names)

I tried Googling PUP.MyWebSearch removal tools, but all the ones I could find require me to pay for them. I am sure there is a free removal tool JUST for this piece of adware out there somewhere.


*EDIT* Ok, I downloaded SuperAntiSpyware (free edition), and removed the PUP.MyWebSearch files.

I rebooted the PC, and it is still doing it.
Any ideas?

Edited by TheCause, 21 June 2012 - 06:54 PM.


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#2 theCaptain

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 09:53 AM

The best way to uninstall MyWebSearch is actually by using add/remove programs. SAS and MBAM don't always remove 100% of it. It's not clear that it was the cause (I see SiteAdvisor in your browser too), but perhaps it's time to restore Firefox to default settings?

Easily done by holding down the shift key and launching the program. Follow the prompts to restore Firefox to it's original state. Alternatively you can try to run in safe mode to see if it fixes the problem.

Let me know how it goes.

#3 quietman7

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 09:48 PM

MyWebSearch/MyWebSearch Assistant is one of many browser toolbar add-ons (to include MyWay Searchbar, MySearch, MyWay Search Assistant, and MyWay Speedbar) which are created and distributed by Ask Jeeves. These toolbars are often bundled with "free software" such as wallpaper and screensavers offered by third party software vendors and part of the Fun Web Products suite of utilities (Smiley Central, Cursor Mania, FunBuddyIcons, FunWebProducts, MyFunCards, My Mail Stationary, My Mail Signature, PopSwatter, Popular Screensavers, Webfetti, My Way website portal, etc). The toolbar is also aggressively offered via annoying banner ads and pop ups advertised on third party web sites that target kids. For a more detailed overview, refer to the Ask Jeeves Software Review conducted by Sunbelt Software Research Center.

MyWebSearch and MyWay were pre-installed on new Dell computers starting in November 2004 as reported in The Pharmer In The Dell. Dell had a link to "What is the Dell MyWebSearch Home Page?" but it was redirected to the "Dell My Way" Home Page and at some point removed. Dell now uses the "Dell Search Assistant " where they address some of the same concerns previously addressed in the redirected link.

Although MyWebSearch is not technically spyware, the program uses tracking cookies and transmits information regarding search requests performed through the toolbar's search facility. As such, componets of the toolbar are considered adware and some anti-virus and anti-malware programs (i.e. Spybot, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware) detect it as a non-viral threat (i.e. not-a-virus:AdTool.Win32.MyWebSearch) or Potentially Unwanted Program resulting in the removal of individual files and registry entries. However, even after these security tools remove these detections, remnants previously undetected may still be found during subsequent scans.
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#4 theCaptain

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 11:38 AM

The information regarding

refer to the Ask Jeeves Software Review conducted by Sunbelt Software Research Center.


The net net of this report from 2005 was to remove the toolbars from the heinous "adware/spyware" category that it was ERRONEOUSLY placed in and move it to a benign category.

MyWebSearch and MyWay were pre-installed on new Dell computers


Your information is is not correct. To be fair, NOBODY has ever had the real scoop on what transpired. Regardless, that was 2004?!?!?!

Although MyWebSearch is not technically spyware, the program uses tracking cookies and transmits information regarding search requests performed through the toolbar's search facility. As such, componets of the toolbar are considered adware and some anti-virus and anti-malware programs (i.e. Spybot, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware) detect it as a non-viral threat (i.e. not-a-virus:AdTool.Win32.MyWebSearch) or Potentially Unwanted Program resulting in the removal of individual files and registry entries. However, even after these security tools remove these detections, remnants previously undetected may still be found during subsequent scans.


None of our toolbars has ever been classified as "adware" by any reputable security profesional that has evaluated it. What you describe is the act of processing a search request from our toolbar, and nothing more. I don't think that would qualify under the the definition provided by the Antispyware Coalition and if it did, then Google and Yahoo would fall into that category.

But you touch on the main point here, which is "remnants". Our software when uninstalled will not leave any remnants behind after rebooting (sometimes 2 reboots). Maybe the odd empty folder and a registry entry, but nothing material. When active remnants are left behind (such as a DLL set to run at startup time), it's because some third party software interfered with operation by trying to "take it out" as if it were malicious. There is no cause for doing so, and as you can see, it has the ability to mess up a users' machine to the point where they need assistance to resolve it. It really causes extra work and extra grief on everyone involved. Malwarebytes and SuperAntispyware, as good as they are, are not always current with our latest releases and cannot guarantee a safe removal.

So, the bottom line here is that I would ask all helpers to recommend using the onboard uninstaller (either within the toolbar itself or withing add/remove programs) if they are to advise removing the toolbars. Please.

Thank you.

#5 quietman7

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 12:38 PM

None of our toolbars has ever been classified as "adware" by any reputable security profesional that has evaluated it.


According to SystemLookup it is detected as such by Malwarebytes which is a reputable security scanner.

MyWebSearch/MySearch, detected by Malwarebytes Anti-Malware as PUP.MyWebSearch or Adware.MyWebsearch

http://www.systemlookup.com/search.php?type=name&search=MyWebSearch&s=

Symantec classifies it as Adware.Websearch.
Emsisoft classifies it as Adware.Win32.MyWebSearch Toolbar.
Bitdefender classifies it as Adware.Mywebsearch.DV.

That is the reason Helpers still call it adware.


MyWebSearch and MyWay were pre-installed on new Dell computers

As I recall that was the information provided by Dell on one of their web pages several years ago but unfortunately that link no longer works.
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#6 theCaptain

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 02:21 PM

I understand that there are lots of legacy bits of information (based on hearsay or erroneous assumptions like MyWebSearch = Websearch as you have pointed out) that exist calling our software adware, spyware, trojans and worse --- that helpers take as gospel. But really that's not the issue here. The issue here screwing up users' computers by trying to use third party tools to forcibly remove the software leaving a mess behind, when it doesn't need to be forced... just asked. Do the users a favor and suggest Add/Remove programs (and a reboot) first. That's all I'm saying.

#7 quietman7

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 02:42 PM

The issue here screwing up users' computers by trying to use third party tools to forcibly remove the software leaving a mess behind, when it doesn't need to be forced... just asked. Do the users a favor and suggest Add/Remove programs (and a reboot) first. That's all I'm saying.

I can't speak for all users but I always recommend going into Add/Remove or Programs and Features in Vista/Windows 7, as the first place to check for the very reason you cite.
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