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Nationzoom.com Browser Hijacker Removal Guide

By on December 9, 2013 @ 11:57 AM | Read 52,466 times.
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The Nationzoom.com adware is a browser hijacker that is bundled with certain free programs that you can download off of the Internet. This adware is considered a browser hijacker because it changes your web browser's home page and default search provider to nationzoom.com without your permission. Furthermore, this adware will append the argument http://www.nationzoom.com/?type=hp&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id> to various web browser shortcuts and sometimes non-internet related programs. This causes the nationzoom.com web page to open when you launch one of these hijacked shortcuts. Unfortunately, there is no Uninstall Programs entry that uninstalls Nationzoom from your computer and instead you need to use the specialized tools found in this guide to clean your computer.

 

Nationzoom.com Browser Hijacker Screen Shot
Nationzoom.com Browser Hijacker Screen Shot
For more screen shots of this infection click on the image above.
There are a total of 1 images you can view.

 

Without a doubt, this adware was created to promote the nationzoom website without giving you the option to remove it and revert back to your original browser settings. To remove this browser hijacker and clean the affected shortcuts, please use the removal guide below.

 

Threat Classification:

 

Advanced information:

View Nationzoom.com files.
View Nationzoom.com Registry Information.

 

Tools Needed for this fix:

 

Symptoms that may be in a HijackThis Log:

R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Default_Page_URL = http://www.nationzoom.com/?type=hp&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>
R0 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Start Page = http://www.nationzoom.com/?type=hp&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>
R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Default_Page_URL = http://www.nationzoom.com/?type=hp&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>
R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Default_Search_URL = http://www.nationzoom.com/web/?type=ds&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>&q={searchTerms}
R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Search Page = http://www.nationzoom.com/web/?type=ds&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>&q={searchTerms}
R0 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Start Page = http://www.nationzoom.com/?type=hp&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>
R0 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Search,SearchAssistant = http://www.nationzoom.com/web/?type=ds&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>&q={searchTerms}
R0 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Search,CustomizeSearch = http://www.nationzoom.com/web/?type=ds&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>&q={searchTerms}
O23 - Service: Wpm Service (Wpm) - Cherished Technololgy LIMITED - %CommonAppData%\WPM\wprotectmanager.exe

 

Guide Updates:

12/09/13 - Initial guide creation.

 


Automated Removal Instructions for Nationzoom.com using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and Shortcut Cleaner:

 

  1. Print out these instructions as we may need to close every window that is open later in the fix.

  2. It is possible that the infection you are trying to remove will not allow you to download files on the infected computer. If this is the case, then you will need to download the files requested in this guide on another computer and then transfer them to the infected computer. You can transfer the files via a CD/DVD, external drive, or USB flash drive.

  3. Before we can do anything we must first end the processes that belong to Nationzoom.com so that it does not interfere with the cleaning procedure. To do this, please download RKill to your desktop from the following link.

    RKill Download Link - (Download page will open in a new tab or browser window.)

    When at the download page, click on the Download Now button labeled iExplore.exe download link. When you are prompted where to save it, please save it on your desktop.

  4. Once it is downloaded, double-click on the iExplore.exe icon in order to automatically attempt to stop any processes associated with Nationzoom.com and other Rogue programs. Please be patient while the program looks for various malware programs and ends them. When it has finished, the black window will automatically close and you can continue with the next step. If you get a message that RKill is an infection, do not be concerned. This message is just a fake warning given by Nationzoom.com when it terminates programs that may potentially remove it. If you run into these infections warnings that close RKill, a trick is to leave the warning on the screen and then run RKill again. By not closing the warning, this typically will allow you to bypass the malware trying to protect itself so that rkill can terminate Nationzoom.com . So, please try running RKill until the malware is no longer running. You will then be able to proceed with the rest of the guide. If you continue having problems running RKill, you can download the other renamed versions of RKill from the rkill download page. All of the files are renamed copies of RKill, which you can try instead. Please note that the download page will open in a new browser window or tab.

    Do not reboot your computer after running RKill as the malware programs will start again.


  5. Now you should download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, or MBAM, from the following location and save it to your desktop:

    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Download Link (Download page will open in a new window)


  6. Once downloaded, close all programs and Windows on your computer, including this one.

  7. Double-click on the icon on your desktop named mbam-setup.exe. This will start the installation of MBAM onto your computer.

  8. When the installation begins, keep following the prompts in order to continue with the installation process. Do not make any changes to default settings and when the program has finished installing, make sure you leave both the Update Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and Launch Malwarebytes Anti-Malware checked. Then click on the Finish button. If MalwareBytes' prompts you to reboot, please do not do so.

  9. MBAM will now automatically start and you will see a message stating that you should update the program before performing a scan. As MBAM will automatically update itself after the install, you can press the OK button to close that box and you will now be at the main program as shown below.


    MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Screen

  10. On the Scanner tab, make sure the the Perform full scan option is selected and then click on the Scan button to start scanning your computer for Nationzoom.com related files.

  11. MBAM will now start scanning your computer for malware. This process can take quite a while, so we suggest you go and do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan. When MBAM is scanning it will look like the image below.


    MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Scanning Screen

  12. When the scan is finished a message box will appear as shown in the image below.


    MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Scan Finished Screen

    You should click on the OK button to close the message box and continue with the Nationzoom Browser Hijacker removal process.

  13. You will now be back at the main Scanner screen. At this point you should click on the Show Results button.

  14. A screen displaying all the malware that the program found will be shown as seen in the image below. Please note that the infections found may be different than what is shown in the image.


    MalwareBytes Scan Results


    You should now click on the Remove Selected button to remove all the listed malware. MBAM will now delete all of the files and registry keys and add them to the programs quarantine. When removing the files, MBAM may require a reboot in order to remove some of them. If it displays a message stating that it needs to reboot, please allow it to do so. Once your computer has rebooted, and you are logged in, please continue with the rest of the steps.

  15. When MBAM has finished removing the malware, it will open the scan log and display it in Notepad. Review the log as desired, and then close the Notepad window.

  16. You can now exit the MBAM program.

  17. We now need to clean up the various Windows shortcuts that have been hijacked by Nationzoom Browser Hijacker . To do this, please download Shortcut Cleaner from the following web page and save it to your Windows desktop.

    Shortcut Cleaner Download Link - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/shortcut-cleaner/

  18. Once the file is downloaded, double-click on the ss-cleaner.exe file that should now be on your desktop. If you are using Windows Vista, 7, or 8 you will need to allow it to run when the prompt appears. Shortcut Cleaner will now start and scan your computer for hijacked Windows shortcuts and if any are found it will automatically clean them for you. When it is done, it will show you a log that contains a list of shortcuts that were cleaned. When you have finished reviewing the log file, please close it and continue with the rest of the steps.

  19. We now need to reset the home page for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and any other browsers you may have installed. Please perform the following steps for each of the installed browsers.

    1. Internet Explorer - Internet Explorer should already be reset. If not, then open IE and click on the Tools menu and then select Internet Options. On the General tab, change your home page to your desired home page and then close the options screen.

    2. Firefox- To reset Firefox click on the Tools menu and then select Option. When the settings screen opens, click on the General tab and change your home page to your desired site.

    3. Chrome - To reset Chome click on the menu button (Chrome Menu). When the menu appears, click on the Settings menu option. When the Settings screen opens, click on the Set Pages link under the On Startup category to specify the pages that should start automatically when Chrome opens.

  20. As many malware and unwanted programs are installed through vulnerabilities found in out-dated and insecure programs, it is strongly suggested that you use Secunia PSI to scan for vulnerable programs on your computer. A tutorial on how to use Secunia PSI to scan for vulnerable programs can be found here:

    How to detect vulnerable and out-dated programs using Secunia Personal Software Inspector

 

Your computer should now be free of the Nationzoom Browser Hijacker program. If your current anti-virus solution let this infection through, you may want to consider purchasing the PRO version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to protect against these types of threats in the future.

If you are still having problems with your computer after completing these instructions, then please follow the steps outlined in the topic linked below:

Preparation Guide For Use Before Using Malware Removal Tools and Requesting Help

 


 

Associated Nationzoom.com Files:

%CommonAppData%\WPM\
%CommonAppData%\WPM\update\
%CommonAppData%\WPM\wprotectmanager.exe
c:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\searchplugins\nationzoom.xml

File Location Notes:

%CommonAppData% refers to the Application Data folder for the All Users Profile. By default, this is C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data for Windows 2000/XP and C:\ProgramData\ in Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.

%CommonAppData% refers to the Application Data folder in the All Users profile. For Windows XP, Vista, NT, 2000 and 2003 it refers to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\, and for Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 it is C:\ProgramData.

 

Associated Nationzoom.com Windows Registry Information:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes\{33BB0A4E-99AF-4226-BDF6-49120163DE86}
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes\{33BB0A4E-99AF-4226-BDF6-49120163DE86}
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\WPM
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\nationzoomSoftware
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\supWPM
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Wpm
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main "Default_Page_URL" = "http://www.nationzoom.com/?type=hp&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>"
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\TabbedBrowsing "NewTabPageShow" = "1"
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main "Start Page" = "http://www.nationzoom.com/?type=hp&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>"
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes "DefaultScope" = "{33BB0A4E-99AF-4226-BDF6-49120163DE86}"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Clients\StartMenuInternet\FIREFOX.EXE\shell\open\command "(Default)" = "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe http://www.nationzoom.com/?type=sc&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Clients\StartMenuInternet\Google Chrome\shell\open\command "(Default)" = "C:\Documents and Settings\test\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" http://www.nationzoom.com/?type=sc&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Clients\StartMenuInternet\IEXPLORE.EXE\shell\open\command "(Default)" = "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe http://www.nationzoom.com/?type=sc&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Clients\StartMenuInternet\Opera\shell\open\command "(Default)" = ""C:\Program Files\Opera\Opera.exe" http://www.nationzoom.com/?type=sc&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Clients\StartMenuInternet\Opera.exe\shell\open\command "(Default)" = ""C:\Program Files\Opera\Opera.exe" http://www.nationzoom.com/?type=sc&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Clients\StartMenuInternet\Safari.exe\shell\open\command "(Default)" = ""C:\Program Files\Safari\Safari.exe" http://www.nationzoom.com/?type=sc&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Clients\StartMenuInternet\SEAMONKEY.EXE\shell\open\command "(Default)" = "C:\Program Files\SeaMonkey\seamonkey.exe http://www.nationzoom.com/?type=sc&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main "Default_Page_URL" = "http://www.nationzoom.com/?type=hp&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main "Default_Search_URL" = "http://www.nationzoom.com/web/?type=ds&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>&q={searchTerms}"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main "Search Page" = "http://www.nationzoom.com/web/?type=ds&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>&q={searchTerms}"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main "Start Page" = "http://www.nationzoom.com/?type=hp&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Search "CustomizeSearch" = "http://www.nationzoom.com/web/?type=ds&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>&q={searchTerms}"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Search "SearchAssistant" = "http://www.nationzoom.com/web/?type=ds&ts=<timestamp>&from=tugs&uid=<hard drive id>&q={searchTerms}"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes "DefaultScope" = "{33BB0A4E-99AF-4226-BDF6-49120163DE86}"

 


 

This is a self-help guide. Use at your own risk.

BleepingComputer.com can not be held responsible for problems that may occur by using this information. If you would like help with any of these fixes, you can ask for malware removal assistance in our Virus, Trojan, Spyware, and Malware Removal Logs forum.

If you have any questions about this self-help guide then please post those questions in our Am I infected? What do I do? and someone will help you.


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