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Google links going to advertising - possible spyware?


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#1 Chuck Edgar

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 02:35 PM

Attached is the hijackthis log. Could not run DDS as this is Windows Vista 64 bit. Using Mozilla Firefox. Spybot, Ad-Aware, Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware, SuperAntiSpyware, AVG free, and online versions of Kaspersky, TrendMicro, and Panda ActiveScan all find nothing wrong. However, every time I click on a google link, it goes to some advertising page. I go back and click the link again and get a different advertising page. It takes two or three attempts to get to the proper link. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks!

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#2 myrti

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 08:20 AM

Hello and welcome to Bleeping Computer

We apologize for the delay in responding to your request for help. Here at Bleeping Computer we get overwhelmed at times, and we are trying our best to keep up. Please note that your topic was not intentionally overlooked. Our mission is to help everyone in need, but sometimes it takes just a little longer to get to every request for help. No one is ignored here.

If you have since resolved the original problem you were having, we would appreciate you letting us know. If not please perform the following steps below so we can have a look at the current condition of your machine.

If you have not done so, include a clear description of the problems you're having, along with any steps you may have performed so far.

Upon completing the steps below another staff member will review and take the steps necessary with you to get your machine back in working order clean and free of malware.

If you have already posted a DDS log, please do so again, as your situation may have changed.
Use the 'Add Reply' and add the new log to this thread.


Thanks and again sorry for the delay.

We need to see some information about what is happening in your machine. Please perform the following scan:
  • Download DDS by sUBs from one of the following links. Save it to your desktop.
  • Double click on the DDS icon, allow it to run.
  • A small box will open, with an explaination about the tool. No input is needed, the scan is running.
  • Notepad will open with the results.
  • Follow the instructions that pop up for posting the results.
  • Close the program window, and delete the program from your desktop.
Please note: You may have to disable any script protection running if the scan fails to run. After downloading the tool, disconnect from the internet and disable all antivirus protection. Run the scan, enable your A/V and reconnect to the internet.

Information on A/V control HERE

regards _temp_

is that a bird?  a plane? nooo it's the flying blueberry!

If I have been helping you and haven't replied in 2 days, feel free to shoot me a PM! Please don't send help request via PM, unless I am already helping you. Use the forums!

 

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#3 Chuck Edgar

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 06:49 PM

I'm currently running a 64 bit version of Vista and DDS will not run in my environment. I would be happy to try anything else that might help though. Basically, my problem is that under Firefox Google searches, clicking on the links will take me to advertising pages instead of the link. It takes two or three tries before the link will work properly. Primarily, the links seem to go to ads under this ip address: 78.41.205.57. I know something seems to be redirecting Firefox, but I can't find anything causing it.

#4 myrti

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 07:39 PM

Hi,

sorry, I missed that.

Please run OTL instead:
  • Please download OTL from one of the following mirrors:
  • Save it to your desktop.
  • Double click on the Posted Image icon on your desktop.
  • Click the "Scan All Users" checkbox.
  • Push the Posted Image button.
  • Two reports will open, copy and paste them in a reply here:
    • OTListIt.txt <-- Will be opened
    • Extra.txt <-- Will be minimized
regards _temp_

is that a bird?  a plane? nooo it's the flying blueberry!

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#5 Chuck Edgar

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 09:45 PM

OTL and Extras are attached. Thanks!

Chuck

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#6 m0le

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 07:53 PM

Hi Chuck Edgar,

Welcome to Bleeping Computer. My name is m0le and I will be helping you with your log.
  • Please subscribe to this topic, if you haven't already.
  • Please avoid installing/uninstalling or updating any programs and attempting any unsupervised fixes or scans. This can make helping you impossible.
  • Please reply to this post so I know you are there.
The forum is busy and we need to have replies as soon as possible. If I haven't had a reply after 3 days I will bump the topic and if you do not reply by the following day then I will close the topic.

Thanks :thumbup2:
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#7 Chuck Edgar

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 09:35 PM

I'm here and hoping to get this problem resolved. Thanks!

Chuck

#8 m0le

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 05:47 AM

64 bit machines aren't always able to run all the tools that I have in my armoury. Please forgive me if I post a tool which doesn't work.

Let's try this fix.

Please download GooredFix from one of the locations below and save it to your Desktop
Download Mirror #1
Download Mirror #2
  • Ensure all Firefox windows are closed.
  • To run the tool, double-click it (XP), or right-click and select Run As Administrator (Vista).
  • When prompted to run the scan, click Yes.
  • GooredFix will check for infections, and then a log will appear. Please post the contents of that log in your next reply (it can also be found on your desktop, called GooredFix.txt).
Then please do this

Please download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and save it to your desktop.
  • Make sure you are connected to the Internet.
  • Double-click on mbam-setup.exe to install the application or, if you are using Vista, right-click and select Run As Administrator 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 Full 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, they may alert you after scanning with MBAM. Please permit the program to allow the changes.

Thanks :thumbup2:
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#9 Chuck Edgar

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 11:49 AM

Did a scan with both apps. I have run Malwarebytes in the past but it doesn't appear to have found anything. Both logs are attached.

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#10 m0le

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 04:46 PM

Nothing there either. Let's try this.

Before we start fixing anything you should print out these instructions or copy them to a NotePad file so they will be accessible. Some steps will require you to disconnect from the Internet or use Safe Mode and you will not have access to this page.

Please download DrWeb-CureIt and save it to your desktop. DO NOT perform a scan 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".

Scan with Dr.Web CureIt as follows:
  • Double-click on launch.exe to open the program and click Start. (There is no need to update if you just downloaded the most current version
  • Read the Virus check by DrWeb scanner prompt and click Ok where asked to Start scan now? Allow the setup.exe to load if asked by any of your security programs.
  • The Express scan will automatically begin.
    (This is a short scan of files currently running in memory, boot sectors, and targeted folders).
  • If prompted to dowload the Full version Free Trial, ignore and click the X to close the window.
  • If an infected object is found, you will be prompted to move anything that cannot be cured. Click Yes to All. (This will move any detected files to the C:\Documents and Settings\userprofile\DoctorWeb\Quarantine folder if they can't be cured)
  • After the Express Scan is finished, put a check next to Complete scan to scan all local disks and removable media.
  • In the top menu, click Settings > Change settings, and uncheck "Heuristic analysis" under the "Scanning" tab, then click Apply, Ok.
  • Back at the main window, click the green arrow "Start Scanning" button on the right under the Dr.Web logo.
  • Please be patient as this scan could take a long time to complete.
  • When the scan has finished, a message will be displayed at the bottom indicating if any viruses were found.
  • Click Select All, then choose Cure > Move incurable.
  • In the top menu, click file and choose save report list.
  • Save the DrWeb.csv report to your desktop.
  • Exit Dr.Web Cureit when done.
  • Important! Reboot your computer because it could be possible that files in use will be moved/deleted during reboot.
  • After reboot, post the contents of the log from Dr.Web in your next reply. (You can use Notepad to open the DrWeb.cvs report)
Let's see if that roots it out. :thumbup2:
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#11 Chuck Edgar

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 09:15 PM

Ran the program. It listed a driver from my printer application as a virus so I allowed it to move it. However, upon booting back up in normal mode, did another search on Google, followed the links, and after about the fifth link, it went to spam sites again. Is it possible that it is an add-on to Firefox? I'm going to run some tests under Internet Explorer and see if I can recreate the problem or if it is just limited to Firefox. Attached is the drweb log.

Attached Files


Edited by Chuck Edgar, 05 July 2009 - 09:55 PM.


#12 Chuck Edgar

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 09:34 PM

Is there a way to monitor what addons may be activated during use of a browser? There seems to be no consistent way to recreate this problem. I have not been able to recreate it in Internet Explorer (as of yet) but it also has not recreated itself in Firefox. This seems to be an extremely random act.

OK, ran some tests and I can now (for the most part) recreate this. It does not occur in Internet Explorer. It only occurs in Firefox. Also, I can't seem to recreate it if I open a new tab and go directly to google.com, but if I use either toolbar add-on, then it redirects the links to spam. I uninstalled one of the toolbars but have not altered the other yet. If I open a tab and use the google shortcut, within five links I'll recreate the problem. In order to repeat the problem, I have to close the tab and use the shortcut again. So, it seems to be something that loads randomly upon first using the shortcut and then closes again after the initial use. I'm going to try and follow my process explorer and see if something runs but I suspect that it is something possibly attached to Firefox itself, which would explain why no program is recognizing it as a virus. Just a guess.

OK, further research found that something had renamed my hosts file on the 21st of June, which may coincide with when these problems first surfaced. I have since renamed it back to its original file name. I have not been able to recreate the problem, but I don't think it can be as simple as just putting my hosts file back in place. If anything, it should simply prevent me from loading these spam sites, but not necessarily stop me from being redirected. Still haven't found anything that can be causing the redirect.

Edited by Chuck Edgar, 05 July 2009 - 10:31 PM.


#13 m0le

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 05:44 PM

Hi Chuck Edgar,

The behavious you are explaining coupled with the lack of found malware points to a rootkit.

We need to scan for Rootkits with GMER
  • Please download GMER from one of the following locations, and save it to your desktop, please rename it as gamer.exe.
    • Main Mirror
      This version will download a randomly named file (Recommended)
    • Zip Mirror
      This version will download a zip file you will need to extract first. If you use this mirror, please extract the zip file to your desktop.
  • Close any and all open programs, as this process may crash your computer.
  • Double click Posted Image or Posted Image on your desktop.
  • Allow the gmer.sys driver to load if asked.
  • You may see this window. If you do, click No.
    Posted Image
  • Click on Posted Image and wait for the scan to finish.
  • If you see a rootkit warning window, click OK.
  • Push Posted Image and save the logfile to your desktop.
  • Copy and Paste the contents of that file in your next post.

Then we'll see where we go from there.
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#14 Chuck Edgar

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 12:32 AM

Nothing found with that one either. ARGH! I'm at a loss. Any other ideas?

#15 m0le

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 03:58 PM

Let's try this.

Please download ComboFix from one of these locations:* IMPORTANT !!! Save ComboFix.exe to your Desktop but rename it Combo-Fix.exe
  • Disable your AntiVirus and AntiSpyware applications, usually via a right click on the System Tray icon. They may otherwise interfere with our tools. (Click on this link to see a list of programs that should be disabled. The list is not all inclusive.)
  • Double click on Combo-Fix.exe & follow the prompts.
  • As part of it's process, ComboFix will check to see if the Microsoft Windows Recovery Console is installed. With malware infections being as they are today, it's strongly recommended to have this pre-installed on your machine before doing any malware removal. It will allow you to boot up into a special recovery/repair mode that will allow us to more easily help you should your computer have a problem after an attempted removal of malware.
  • Follow the prompts to allow ComboFix to download and install the Microsoft Windows Recovery Console, and when prompted, agree to the End-User License Agreement to install the Microsoft Windows Recovery Console.
**Please note: If the Microsoft Windows Recovery Console is already installed, ComboFix will continue it's malware removal procedures.

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Once the Microsoft Windows Recovery Console is installed using ComboFix, you should see the following message:

Posted Image


Click on Yes, to continue scanning for malware.

When finished, it shall produce a log for you. Please include the C:\ComboFix.txt in your next reply.

Thanks :thumbup2:
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