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Internet access headaches in Windows (but not in Ubuntu)


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#1 DarMol

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Posted 17 December 2008 - 08:49 PM

I decided to post this problem here after I ran out of resources myself.

On May 2008 I installed Windows XP SP3 and Ubuntu 8.04 in my new computer, on different partitions. Everything went fine for some months, until September this same year, when Windows had huge Internet connection problems: navigation was very slow on every browser, and messages in MSN Messenger got lost in the way. When using the "Diagnose Connection Problems" tool in Internet Explorer, it recurrently reported a Winsock Provider Catalog problem.

I formatted the Windows XP partition in October and reinstalled the OS, hoping that this would resolve my problems, and began slowly installing all the programs I used again. The Internet connection ran well at first, but some weeks later the navigation and Messenger problems began reappearing. I don't want to try reinstalling the OS again, as this has not given good results.

As none of these problems appear when booting with Ubuntu, I ruled out a problem with my ISP. Here is a summary of my current issues:

- Both browsers in Windows XP (Internet Explorer 7 and Opera 9) run awfully slow. They sometimes take literally minutes to load a page that in Ubuntu (using Firefox 2) loads instantly, and sometimes directly display the dreaded "Page not found" message.
- More or less often, messages sent through MSN Messenger (in Windows) don't reach their destination, and my contacts report the messages they send to me do not reach me. This doesn't happen with the Messenger clones I use in Ubuntu.
- When running the "Diagnose Connection Problems" tool from Internet Explorer 7, it doesn't report any problem at all. The recurring Winsock Provider Catalog problem that appeared before reinstalling Windows doesn't appear anymore, but no other cause for these issues is detected.
- When running the antivirus (avast!) thoroughly in Windows, no virus is detected.
- The Windows OS and the rest of the applications in the system do not present any slowness. The slowness is only present in these applications that require Internet access.

Any help to diagnose these problems would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advanced for all the help.

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#2 rigel

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Posted 17 December 2008 - 09:06 PM

Hi DarMol - welcome to BC! Let's take a look using Malwarebytes

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.
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.

"In a world where you can be anything, be yourself." ~ unknown

"Fall in love with someone who deserves your heart. Not someone who plays with it. Will Smith


#3 DarMol

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 10:47 AM

Rigel, thanks for your prompt reply.

In installed and ran the Malwarebytes program as you advised. When performing the Quick Scan, no malware was detected. I then performed the Full Scan, and two trojans were detected in an obscurely located folder.

The report from this last scan is the following:


Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware 1.31
Database version: 1513
Windows 5.1.2600 Service Pack 3

12/18/2008 1:42:45 PM
mbam-log-2008-12-18 (13-42-45).txt

Scan type: Full Scan (C:\|D:\|E:\|S:\|)
Objects scanned: 253338
Time elapsed: 1 hour(s), 32 minute(s), 45 second(s)

Memory Processes Infected: 0
Memory Modules Infected: 0
Registry Keys Infected: 0
Registry Values Infected: 0
Registry Data Items Infected: 0
Folders Infected: 0
Files Infected: 2

Memory Processes Infected:
(No malicious items detected)

Memory Modules Infected:
(No malicious items detected)

Registry Keys Infected:
(No malicious items detected)

Registry Values Infected:
(No malicious items detected)

Registry Data Items Infected:
(No malicious items detected)

Folders Infected:
(No malicious items detected)

Files Infected:
E:\System Volume Information\_restore{CEFFEE31-D33A-45D2-BDA6-91A4B08A5A32}\RP572\A0056214.exe (Trojan.Downloader) -> Quarantined and deleted successfully.
E:\System Volume Information\_restore{CEFFEE31-D33A-45D2-BDA6-91A4B08A5A32}\RP572\A0056217.exe (Trojan.Downloader) -> Quarantined and deleted successfully.

#4 rigel

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 01:29 PM

The areas of Drive E that Malwarebytes picked up is in your system restore archive. Let's flush that and continue with the next step...

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.
  • 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.
Next...

Please download ATF Cleaner by Atribune & save it to your desktop. alternate download link DO NOT use yet.
Please download and install SUPERAntiSpyware Free
  • Double-click SUPERAntiSypware.exe and use the default settings for installation.
  • An icon will be created on your desktop. Double-click that icon to launch the program.
  • If asked to update the program definitions, click "Yes". If not, update the definitions before scanning by selecting "Check for Updates". (If you encounter any problems while downloading the updates, manually download them from here and unzip into the program's folder.)
  • Under the "Configuration and Preferences", click the Preferences... button.
  • Click the "General and Startup" tab, and under Start-up Options, make sure "Start SUPERAntiSpyware when Windows starts" box is unchecked.
  • Click the "Scanning Control" tab, and under Scanner Options, make sure the following are checked (leave all others unchecked):
    • Close browsers before scanning.
    • Scan for tracking cookies.
    • Terminate memory threats before quarantining.
  • Click the "Close" button to leave the control center screen and exit the program.
  • Do not run a scan just yet.
Reboot your computer in "Safe Mode" using the F8 method. To do this, restart your computer and after hearing your computer beep once during startup (but before the Windows icon appears) press the F8 key repeatedly. A menu will appear with several options. Use the arrow keys to navigate and select the option to run Windows in "Safe Mode".

Double-click ATF-Cleaner.exe to run the program.
  • Under Main "Select Files to Delete" choose: Select All.
  • Click the Empty Selected button.
  • If you use Firefox browser click Firefox at the top and choose: Select All
  • Click the Empty Selected button.
    If you would like to keep your saved passwords, please click No at the prompt.
  • If you use Opera browser click Opera at the top and choose: Select All
  • Click the Empty Selected button.
    If you would like to keep your saved passwords, please click No at the prompt.
  • Click Exit on the Main menu to close the program.
Note: On Vista, "Windows Temp" is disabled. To empty "Windows Temp" ATF-Cleaner must be "Run as an Administrator".

Scan with SUPERAntiSpyware as follows:
  • Launch the program and back on the main screen, under "Scan for Harmful Software" click Scan your computer.
  • On the left, make sure you check C:\Fixed Drive.
  • On the right, under "Complete Scan", choose Perform Complete Scan and click "Next".
  • After the scan is complete, a Scan Summary box will appear with potentially harmful items that were detected. Click "OK".
  • Make sure everything has a checkmark next to it and click "Next".
  • A notification will appear that "Quarantine and Removal is Complete". Click "OK" and then click the "Finish" button to return to the main menu.
  • If asked if you want to reboot, click "Yes" and reboot normally.
  • To retrieve the removal information after reboot, launch SUPERAntispyware again.
    • Click Preferences, then click the Statistics/Logs tab.
    • Under Scanner Logs, double-click SUPERAntiSpyware Scan Log.
    • If there are several logs, click the current dated log and press View log. A text file will open in your default text editor.
    • Please copy and paste the Scan Log results in your next reply.
  • Click Close to exit the program.

"In a world where you can be anything, be yourself." ~ unknown

"Fall in love with someone who deserves your heart. Not someone who plays with it. Will Smith


#5 DarMol

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 10:17 PM

I followed the steps you outlined, but it seems SUPERAntiSpyWare didn't find anything malicious.
Here is the log:

SUPERAntiSpyware Scan Log
http://www.superantispyware.com

Generated 12/18/2008 at 11:56 PM

Application Version : 3.9.1008

Core Rules Database Version : 3259
Trace Rules Database Version: 1270

Scan type : Complete Scan
Total Scan Time : 05:18:41

Memory items scanned : 171
Memory threats detected : 0
Registry items scanned : 4912
Registry threats detected : 0
File items scanned : 188255
File threats detected : 0


What steps, if any, should I be following now?

#6 rigel

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 01:20 PM

Let's try one more scan...

Please run the F-Secure Online Scanner
Note: This Scanner is for Internet Explorer Only!
Follow the Instruction here for installation.
Accept the License Agreement.
Once the ActiveX installs,Click Full System Scan
Once the download completes, the scan will begin automatically.
The scan will take some time to finish, so please be patient.
When the scan completes, click the Automatic cleaning (recommended) button.
Click the Show Report button and Copy&Paste the entire report in your next reply.

"In a world where you can be anything, be yourself." ~ unknown

"Fall in love with someone who deserves your heart. Not someone who plays with it. Will Smith


#7 DarMol

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 04:32 PM

I ran the F-Secure scan.

It detected 9 viruses and 2 malwares. I pressed "Automatic Cleanup", but a "Could not load page" error was displayed in the browser window :thumbsup:

As I could not access the report, I ran the scan again. This time no malware was found at all, so I guess the Automatic Cleanup was successful, although I couldn't retrieve the report the other time.

Is there anything else than needs to be done?

#8 rigel

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 08:16 PM

Please update and rerun Malwarebytes and post a new log. We should see 0's this time.


How are things running now? Do you have a firewall that may be causing slowdowns due to a high protection setting?

"In a world where you can be anything, be yourself." ~ unknown

"Fall in love with someone who deserves your heart. Not someone who plays with it. Will Smith


#9 DarMol

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 12:04 PM

This time Malwarebytes resulted in 0's. Here's the log:

Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware 1.31
Database version: 1528
Windows 5.1.2600 Service Pack 3

12/21/2008 2:47:48 PM
mbam-log-2008-12-21 (14-47-48).txt

Scan type: Full Scan (C:\|D:\|E:\|S:\|)
Objects scanned: 247097
Time elapsed: 1 hour(s), 31 minute(s), 30 second(s)

Memory Processes Infected: 0
Memory Modules Infected: 0
Registry Keys Infected: 0
Registry Values Infected: 0
Registry Data Items Infected: 0
Folders Infected: 0
Files Infected: 0

Memory Processes Infected:
(No malicious items detected)

Memory Modules Infected:
(No malicious items detected)

Registry Keys Infected:
(No malicious items detected)

Registry Values Infected:
(No malicious items detected)

Registry Data Items Infected:
(No malicious items detected)

Folders Infected:
(No malicious items detected)

Files Infected:
(No malicious items detected)


Browsing seems to be much faster now... I don't experience slowness in most of the pages.
Regarding the firewall, it is the Windows firewall, which is on, but allowing exceptions to the specified applications I selected to access the Internet.

I think I'll monitor the connectivity behaviour for some days, to ensure everything has gone back to normality.

Many, many thanks for all your help and support :thumbsup:

#10 rigel

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 03:46 PM

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.
  • 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.
I agree - run malwarebytes a couple of times over the next week just to see if anything appears.

Safe Surfing!

rigel

"In a world where you can be anything, be yourself." ~ unknown

"Fall in love with someone who deserves your heart. Not someone who plays with it. Will Smith





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