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High probability of a rootkit infection


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#1 DaveInPhx

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 02:11 AM

Hello!

I have a friend's machine which seems to have caught a nasty cold. Proxy has been mysteriously enabled and points to 127.0.0.1:5555 while the hosts file has been filled with all sorts of junk. The machine is relatively new, clean inside, and is running XP Pro.

It has Symantec AV installed, but he didn't keep up his subscription so it has lapsed and is non-working. I installed Spybot S&D and a full scan found nothing (two tracking cookies only ). I also installed Avast! but have not yet completed a scan, the machine locks up and has to be rebooted (possibly due to the still installed Symantec, possibly not - I'm removing the Symantec completely as I type this)

I am connecting from my own clean machine and have a thumb drive to sneaker net to the "patient" machine - I'm not connecting it to the network at this time until its absolutely needed.

Any assistance would be appreciated!

Dave

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#2 quietman7

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 09:06 AM

Some infections will alter the Proxy settings in Internet Explorer which can affect your ability to browse or download tools required for disinfection. If you are experiencing such a problem, check those settings. To do that, please refer to Steps 1-4 under the section Error 732 when trying to update Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware in this guide.

The HOSTS file is a text file that maps an IP address to a name. It has no extension and can be viewed using notepad. At the top is an explanation of the simple syntax. Each line is an IP address, a domain name, and an optional comment placed after a # sign. In Windows XP, 127.0.0.1 localhost is the universal IP address of all local computers and is the standard hostname given to the address of the loopback network interface which refers to the local computer only.

Anything that appears in your HOSTS file without an # at the beginning, except from the "127.0.0.1 localhost" line, should be viewed with suspicion. If you see 127.0.0.1 next to the domain name of security related sites such as an antivirus vendor, then your HOSTS file has likely been altered by malware so that it blocks access to those sites. When redirecting to another site, malware will substitute an illegitimate IP address for the legitimate one.

Although malware can be responsible for altering the HOSTS file in an attempt to redirect your browser, it does not do so without infecting other areas of your system. There are several legitimate security programs like Spybot S&D, SpySweeper and STOPzilla, etc which can add entries to the HOSTS file and that action may be detected as a change. If you use Spybot's immunization facility the "Global (Hosts)" profile adds entries to the HOSTS file. If you downloaded and used a custom HOSTS file or made edits that too would trigger a change detection. If you did not make any changes, use a custom HOSTS file or have a security programs with these features, then you need to investigate what the changes are.Anything that appears in your HOSTS file without an # at the beginning, except from the "127.0.0.1 localhost" line, should be viewed with suspicion. Although malware can be responsible for altering the HOSTS file in an attempt to redirect your browser, it does not do so without infecting other areas of your system.

To view the folder containing your Hosts file, go to Posted Image > Run..., and in the Open box, type: %windir%\system32\drivers\etc\
Click Ok.

The easiest way to access and view the contents is by using Notepad.
  • Double-click on the HOSTS file.
  • A message will appear saying Windows can't open the file or Choose the program you want to open this file.
  • Scroll down the list of programs until you see Notepad.
  • Select it and click OK.
To view the Hosts file in Notepad automatically, go to Posted Image > Run..., and in the Open box, type:
notepad %windir%\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
Click Ok.


Please download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (v1.44) and save it to your desktop.Download Link 1
Download Link 2
MBAM may "make changes to your registry" as part of its disinfection routine. If using other security programs that detect registry changes (ie Spybot's Teatimer), they may interfere or alert you. Temporarily disable such programs or permit them to allow the changes.
  • Make sure you are connected to the Internet.
  • Double-click on mbam-setup.exe to install the application.
    For instructions with screenshots, please refer to the How to use Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware Guide.
  • 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 definition 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. Be sure to post the complete log to include the top portion which shows MBAM's database version and your operating system.
  • Exit MBAM when done.
Note: If MBAM encounters a file that is difficult to remove, you will be asked to reboot your computer so MBAM can proceed with the disinfection process. If asked to restart the computer, please do so immediately. Failure to reboot normally (not into safe mode) will prevent MBAM from removing all the malware.
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#3 DaveInPhx

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 04:14 AM

Sorry for the delay in responding. I figured out how to resolve the problem and the PC is now clean. Thanks for your response, please close this ticket out :thumbsup:

#4 quietman7

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 08:03 AM

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 backed up, renamed and 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 Posted Image > 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.
Vista and Windows 7 users can refer to these links: Create a New Restore Point in Vista or Windows 7 and Disk Cleanup in Vista.


:thumbsup: Tips to protect yourself against malware and reduce the potential for re-infection:

Keep Windows and Internet Explorer current with all critical updates from Microsoft which will patch many of the security holes through which attackers can gain access to your computer. If you're not sure how to do this, see Microsoft Update helps keep your computer current.

Avoid gaming sites, porn sites, pirated software, cracking tools, keygens, and peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing programs (i.e. Limewire, eMule, uTorrent). They are a security risk which can make your computer susceptible to a smörgåsbord of malware infections, remote attacks, exposure of personal information, and identity theft. Malicious worms, backdoor Trojans IRCBots, and rootkits spread across P2P file sharing networks, gaming, porn and underground sites. Users visiting such pages may see innocuous-looking banner ads containing code which can trigger pop-up ads and malicious Flash ads that install viruses, Trojans, and spyware. Ads are a target for hackers because they offer a stealthy way to distribute malware to a wide range of Internet users. Porn sites can lead to the Trojan.Mebroot MBR rootkit and other dangerous malware. The best way to reduce the risk of infection is to avoid these types of web sites and not use any P2P applications.Beware of Rogue Security software as they are one of the most common sources of malware infection. They infect machines by using social engineering and scams to trick a user into spending money to buy a an application which claims to remove malware. For more specific information on how these types of rogue programs and infections install themselves, read:Keeping Autorun enabled on USB (pen, thumb, jump) and other removable drives has become a significant security risk as they are one of the most common infection vectors for malware which can transfer the infection to your computer. To learn more about this risk, please read:Many security experts recommend you disable Autorun asap as a method of prevention. Microsoft recommends doing the same.

...Disabling Autorun functionality can help protect customers from attack vectors that involve the execution of arbitrary code by Autorun when inserting a CD-ROM device, USB device, network shares, or other media containing a file system with an Autorun.inf file...

Microsoft Security Advisory (967940): Update for Windows Autorun
How to Maximize the Malware Protection of Your Removable Drives

Other security reading resources:Browser Security resources:• Finally, if you need to replace your anti-virus, firewall or need a reliable anti-malware scanner please refer to:
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