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Wallpaper hijacked, fake Spyware threats


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#1 Ian G

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 09:30 AM

I'm very IT literate, but this one has me stumped. Trying to fix my parents' computer. Their Windows wallpaper has been hijacked. It's now blue and says: "Warning: Spyware threat has been detected on your PC." I'm getting all kinds of fake pop-ups that "An Internet Attack was Detected" and that sort of thing. Now I know there are a bunch of messages on the net and in these forums about this problem. Here's my issue: All of the "resolutions" begin with either running SpyBot, or doing a HijackThis log... I can't run SpyBot. When I run the program, it goes to an hourglass and then that's it. I have zero internet access from Firefox, IE, or my Anti-Virus Live Update. But I can go to a command prompt and ping Google no problem. I ran a NAV scan (with the definitions I had) and it came back clean. The Task Manager has been disabled. I was able to install AdAware and run it, but again, I can't do any program updates whatsoever. System Restore was turned off so that's not an option either.

I'm at a bit of a loss here. Without being able to run any programs, not sure how the heck to begin trouble shooting this problem. Any recommendations?

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#2 quietman7

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 09:35 AM

Some types of malware will disable security tools. If they will not run, try renaming. Right-click on the program and change the .exe extension to .bat, .com, .pif, or .scr and then double-click on it to run.

Please download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and save it to your desktop.
alternate download link 1
alternate download link 2
  • Make sure you are connected to the Internet.
  • Double-click on mbam-setup.exe to install the application.
  • When the installation begins, follow the prompts and do not make any changes to default settings.
  • When installation has finished, make sure you leave both of these checked:
    • Update Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
    • Launch Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
  • Then click Finish.
MBAM will automatically start and you will be asked to update the program before performing a scan.
  • If an update is found, the program will automatically update itself.
  • Press the OK button to close that box and continue.
  • If you encounter any problems while downloading the updates, manually download them from here and just double-click on mbam-rules.exe to install. Alternatively, you can update through MBAM's interface from a clean computer, copy the definitions (rules.ref) located in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Malwarebytes\Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware from that system to a usb stick or CD and then copy it to the infected machine.
On the Scanner tab:
  • Make sure the "Perform Quick Scan" option is selected.
  • Then click on the Scan button.
  • If asked to select the drives to scan, leave all the drives selected and click on the Start Scan button.
  • The scan will begin and "Scan in progress" will show at the top. It may take some time to complete so please be patient.
  • When the scan is finished, a message box will say "The scan completed successfully. Click 'Show Results' to display all objects found".
  • Click OK to close the message box and continue with the removal process.
Back at the main Scanner screen:
  • Click on the Show Results button to see a list of any malware that was found.
  • Make sure that everything is checked, and click Remove Selected.
  • When removal is completed, a log report will open in Notepad.
  • The log is automatically saved and can be viewed by clicking the Logs tab in MBAM.
  • Copy and paste the contents of that report in your next reply and exit MBAM.
Note:
-- If MBAM encounters a file that is difficult to remove, you may be asked to reboot your computer so it can proceed with the disinfection process. Regardless if prompted to restart the computer or not, please do so immediately. Failure to reboot normally (not into safe mode) will prevent MBAM from removing all the malware.

-- MBAM may make changes to your registry as part of its disinfection routine. If you're using other security programs that detect registry changes (like Spybot's Teatimer), they may interfere with the fix or alert you after scanning with MBAM. Please disable such programs until disinfection is complete or permit them to allow the changes.

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#3 Ian G

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 10:26 AM

Thanks for the help! The trick was the renaming... everything else was a piece of cake. Everytime I tried to fire up a security tool, the screen flickered and shut it down immediately. Renaming worked like a charm and I'm back to normal. Great advice!

#4 quietman7

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 09:57 PM

You're welcome.

If there are no more problems or signs of infection, you should Create a New Restore Point to prevent possible reinfection from an old one. Some of the malware you picked up could have been saved in System Restore. Since this is a protected directory your tools cannot access to delete these files, they sometimes can reinfect your system if you accidentally use an old restore point. Setting a new restore point AFTER cleaning your system will help prevent this and enable your computer to "roll-back" to a clean working state.

The easiest and safest way to do this is:
  • Go to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools and click "System Restore".
  • Choose the radio button marked "Create a Restore Point" on the first screen then click "Next". Give the R.P. a name, then click "Create". The new point will be stamped with the current date and time. Keep a log of this so you can find it easily should you need to use System Restore.
  • Then use Disk Cleanup to remove all but the most recently created Restore Point.
  • Go to Start > Run and type: Cleanmgr
  • Click "Ok". Disk Cleanup will scan your files for several minutes, then open.
  • Click the "More Options" tab, then click the "Clean up" button under System Restore.
  • Click Ok. You will be prompted with "Are you sure you want to delete all but the most recent restore point?"
  • Click Yes, then click Ok.
  • Click Yes again when prompted with "Are you sure you want to perform these actions?"
  • Disk Cleanup will remove the files and close automatically.

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