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heretofind.com hijack of homepage


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4 replies to this topic

#1 jpb7373

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Posted 21 October 2004 - 11:35 PM

When opening IE, I am taken to the homepage mk:@MSITStore:C:\spe\start.chm::/start.html#. Any web addresses entered without manually typing the "http://" leads to a website at heretofind.com. I have run the latest versions of Ad-Aware and Spybot S&D, and I would greatly appreciate any help offered in this matter. Thanks in advance. My HijackThis log is as follows:

Logfile of HijackThis v1.98.2
Scan saved at 11:10:17 PM, on 10/21/2004
Platform: Windows XP SP2 (WinNT 5.01.2600)
MSIE: Internet Explorer v6.00 SP2 (6.00.2900.2180)

Running processes:
C:\WINDOWS\System32\smss.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\winlogon.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\services.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\lsass.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\svchost.exe
C:\WINDOWS\System32\svchost.exe
C:\Program Files\Sygate\SPF\smc.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\spoolsv.exe
C:\WINDOWS\Explorer.EXE
C:\WINDOWS\System32\hkcmd.exe
C:\Program Files\Intel\Modem Event Monitor\IntelMEM.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\dla\tfswctrl.exe
C:\WINDOWS\System32\DSentry.exe
C:\PROGRA~1\COMMON~1\AOL\ACS\acsd.exe
C:\Program Files\Dell\Media Experience\PCMService.exe
C:\Program Files\MUSICMATCH\MUSICMATCH Jukebox\mm_tray.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\ccProxy.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\ccApp.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Dell\EUSW\Support.exe
C:\Program Files\MUSICMATCH\MUSICMATCH Jukebox\mmtask.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\ccSetMgr.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Real\Update_OB\realsched.exe
C:\Program Files\Norton Internet Security\Norton AntiVirus\navapsvc.exe
C:\Program Files\Dell\Support\Alert\bin\NotifyAlert.exe
C:\Program Files\MSN Messenger\MsnMsgr.Exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\SNDSrvc.exe
C:\WINDOWS\wanmpsvc.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\ccEvtMgr.exe
C:\Program Files\AWS\WeatherBug\Weather.exe
C:\Program Files\NETGEAR\WG121 Configuration Utility\wlancfg8.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\wscntfy.exe
C:\Program Files\Hijack This\HijackThis.exe
C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe
C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe

R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Default_Page_URL = http://www.dell4me.com/myway
R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Search Page = http://www.heretofind.com/show.php?id=15&q=%s
R0 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Start Page = mk:@MSITStore:C:\spe\start.chm::/start.html#
R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Default_Page_URL = http://www.dell4me.com/myway
R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Search Page = http://www.heretofind.com/show.php?id=15&q=%s
R0 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Start Page = mk:@MSITStore:C:\spe\start.chm::/start.html#
R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Connection Wizard,ShellNext = http://www.dell4me.com/myway
O2 - BHO: AcroIEHlprObj Class - {06849E9F-C8D7-4D59-B87D-784B7D6BE0B3} - C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 5.0\Reader\ActiveX\AcroIEHelper.ocx
O2 - BHO: (no name) - {53707962-6F74-2D53-2644-206D7942484F} - C:\Program Files\Spybot - Search & Destroy\SDHelper.dll
O2 - BHO: (no name) - {549B5CA7-4A86-11D7-A4DF-000874180BB3} - (no file)
O2 - BHO: DriveLetterAccess - {5CA3D70E-1895-11CF-8E15-001234567890} - C:\WINDOWS\system32\dla\tfswshx.dll
O2 - BHO: Web assistant - {9ECB9560-04F9-4bbc-943D-298DDF1699E1} - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\AdBlocking\NISShExt.dll
O2 - BHO: NAV Helper - {BDF3E430-B101-42AD-A544-FADC6B084872} - C:\Program Files\Norton Internet Security\Norton AntiVirus\NavShExt.dll
O2 - BHO: ADP UrlCatcher Class - {F4E04583-354E-4076-BE7D-ED6A80FD66DA} - C:\WINDOWS\System32\msbe.dll
O2 - BHO: (no name) - {FDD3B846-8D59-4ffb-8758-209B6AD74ACC} - (no file)
O3 - Toolbar: Web assistant - {0B53EAC3-8D69-4b9e-9B19-A37C9A5676A7} - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\AdBlocking\NISShExt.dll
O3 - Toolbar: Norton AntiVirus - {42CDD1BF-3FFB-4238-8AD1-7859DF00B1D6} - C:\Program Files\Norton Internet Security\Norton AntiVirus\NavShExt.dll
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [IgfxTray] C:\WINDOWS\System32\igfxtray.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [HotKeysCmds] C:\WINDOWS\System32\hkcmd.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [IntelMeM] C:\Program Files\Intel\Modem Event Monitor\IntelMEM.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [dla] C:\WINDOWS\system32\dla\tfswctrl.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [StorageGuard] "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Sonic\Update Manager\sgtray.exe" /r
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [DVDSentry] C:\WINDOWS\System32\DSentry.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [PCMService] "C:\Program Files\Dell\Media Experience\PCMService.exe"
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [QuickTime Task] "C:\Program Files\QuickTime\qttask.exe" -atboottime
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [MMTray] C:\Program Files\MUSICMATCH\MUSICMATCH Jukebox\mm_tray.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [ccApp] "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\ccApp.exe"
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [URLLSTCK.exe] C:\Program Files\Norton Internet Security\UrlLstCk.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [DwlClient] C:\Program Files\Common Files\Dell\EUSW\Support.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [mmtask] C:\Program Files\MUSICMATCH\MUSICMATCH Jukebox\mmtask.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [TkBellExe] "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Real\Update_OB\realsched.exe" -osboot
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [SmcService] C:\PROGRA~1\Sygate\SPF\smc.exe -startgui
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [MsnMsgr] "C:\Program Files\MSN Messenger\MsnMsgr.Exe" /background
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [Symantec NetDriver Monitor] C:\PROGRA~1\SYMNET~1\SNDMon.exe
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [Yahoo! Pager] C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Messenger\ypager.exe -quiet
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [Weather] C:\Program Files\AWS\WeatherBug\Weather.exe 1
O4 - Global Startup: America Online 9.0 Tray Icon.lnk = C:\Program Files\America Online 9.0\aoltray.exe
O4 - Global Startup: Smart Wizard Wireless Settings.lnk = ?
O8 - Extra context menu item: E&xport to Microsoft Excel - res://C:\PROGRA~1\MICROS~4\OFFICE11\EXCEL.EXE/3000
O9 - Extra button: (no name) - {08B0E5C0-4FCB-11CF-AAA5-00401C608501} - C:\WINDOWS\System32\msjava.dll (file missing)
O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Sun Java Console - {08B0E5C0-4FCB-11CF-AAA5-00401C608501} - C:\WINDOWS\System32\msjava.dll (file missing)
O9 - Extra button: Corel Network monitor worker - {81C531B2-5C92-4662-BF82-470083B839DE} - (no file)
O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Corel Network monitor worker - {81C531B2-5C92-4662-BF82-470083B839DE} - (no file)
O9 - Extra button: Research - {92780B25-18CC-41C8-B9BE-3C9C571A8263} - C:\PROGRA~1\MICROS~4\OFFICE11\REFIEBAR.DLL
O9 - Extra button: Real.com - {CD67F990-D8E9-11d2-98FE-00C0F0318AFE} - C:\WINDOWS\System32\Shdocvw.dll
O9 - Extra button: Messenger - {FB5F1910-F110-11d2-BB9E-00C04F795683} - C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe
O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Windows Messenger - {FB5F1910-F110-11d2-BB9E-00C04F795683} - C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe
O9 - Extra button: Corel Network monitor worker - {81C531B2-5C92-4662-BF82-470083B839DE} - (no file) (HKCU)
O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Corel Network monitor worker - {81C531B2-5C92-4662-BF82-470083B839DE} - (no file) (HKCU)
O9 - Extra button: WeatherBug - {AF6CABAB-61F9-4f12-A198-B7D41EF1CB52} - C:\PROGRA~1\AWS\WEATHE~1\Weather.exe (HKCU)
O12 - Plugin for .spop: C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\Plugins\NPDocBox.dll
O13 - DefaultPrefix: http://www.heretofind.com/show.php?id=15&q=
O13 - WWW Prefix: http://www.heretofind.com/show.php?id=15&q=
O13 - Home Prefix: http://www.heretofind.com/show.php?id=15&q=
O13 - Mosaic Prefix: http://www.heretofind.com/show.php?id=15&q=
O13 - Gopher Prefix: http://www.heretofind.com/show.php?id=15&q=
O16 - DPF: {B9191F79-5613-4C76-AA2A-398534BB8999} (YAddBook Class) - http://us.dl1.yimg.com/download.yahoo.com/...utocomplete.cab

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#2 ddeerrff

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Posted 22 October 2004 - 10:19 AM

I'm looking over your log now jpb7373. Be back with you soon.
Derfram
~~~~~~

#3 ddeerrff

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Posted 22 October 2004 - 04:45 PM

Hello jpb7373 and welcome to BleepingComputer.

The free version of Weather Bug is generally considered to be adware. As such, it is up to you whether you wish to remove it or leave it installed. The information here and here may help you decide. If you wish to uninstall this: First, right click the WeatherBug icon in the systray and disable it, then go to Control Panel, open Add/Remove Programs and uninstall from there.


Please download this tool to fix the start.chm hijack. Startchmfix.exe

Run it and extract the folder to the desktop. Open the folder after extracted. Please make sure all Internet Explorers are closed, and double click the fix.bat.

Only run it once or you will lose the backups although they shouldn't be needed.

Notepad will open at the end with a message and the bad file listing at the end. Please post that bad file listing line here. If no files show in the bad file listing then do a Reboot and do a search for any of these files and DELETE them:

C:\Windows\System32\C_10230.DLL
C:\WINDOWS\System32\CRTV2_32.DLL
C:\WINDOWS\System32\CRT32_V2.DLL
C:\WINDOWS\CRTV2_32.DLL
C:\WINDOWS\CRT32_V2.DLL


Start HJT and click on the SCAN button. Put a check mark in front of the following lines if they still show:

R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Search Page = http://www.heretofind.com/show.php?id=15&q=%s
R0 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Start Page = mk:@MSITStore:C:\spe\start.chm::/start.html#
R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Search Page = http://www.heretofind.com/show.php?id=15&q=%s
R0 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Start Page = mk:@MSITStore:C:\spe\start.chm::/start.html#

O2 - BHO: (no name) - {549B5CA7-4A86-11D7-A4DF-000874180BB3} - (no file)
O2 - BHO: ADP UrlCatcher Class - {F4E04583-354E-4076-BE7D-ED6A80FD66DA} - C:\WINDOWS\System32\msbe.dll
O2 - BHO: (no name) - {FDD3B846-8D59-4ffb-8758-209B6AD74ACC} - (no file)

O9 - Extra button: (no name) - {08B0E5C0-4FCB-11CF-AAA5-00401C608501} - C:\WINDOWS\System32\msjava.dll (file missing)
O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Sun Java Console - {08B0E5C0-4FCB-11CF-AAA5-00401C608501} - C:\WINDOWS\System32\msjava.dll (file missing)
O9 - Extra button: Corel Network monitor worker - {81C531B2-5C92-4662-BF82-470083B839DE} - (no file)
O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Corel Network monitor worker - {81C531B2-5C92-4662-BF82-470083B839DE} - (no file)
O9 - Extra button: Corel Network monitor worker - {81C531B2-5C92-4662-BF82-470083B839DE} - (no file) (HKCU)
O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Corel Network monitor worker - {81C531B2-5C92-4662-BF82-470083B839DE} - (no file) (HKCU)

O13 - DefaultPrefix: http://www.heretofind.com/show.php?id=15&q=
O13 - WWW Prefix: http://www.heretofind.com/show.php?id=15&q=
O13 - Home Prefix: http://www.heretofind.com/show.php?id=15&q=
O13 - Mosaic Prefix: http://www.heretofind.com/show.php?id=15&q=
O13 - Gopher Prefix: http://www.heretofind.com/show.php?id=15&q=

If removing WeatherBug, also check these lines if they still exist:

O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [Weather] C:\Program Files\AWS\WeatherBug\Weather.exe 1
O9 - Extra button: WeatherBug - {AF6CABAB-61F9-4f12-A198-B7D41EF1CB52} - C:\PROGRA~1\AWS\WEATHE~1\Weather.exe (HKCU)

With ALL OTHER WINDOWS CLOSED, click on Fix Checked.


Reboot into Safe Mode and enable viewing of Hidden and System files. Open Windows Explorer (Windows key+e), drill down and delete the following files and folders if found:

C:\spe <--Folder
C:\WINDOWS\System32\msbe.dll <--File

C:\Program Files\AWS <--Folder, ONLY if removing WeatherBug


Reboot and post a new HJT log please.
Derfram
~~~~~~

#4 jpb7373

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Posted 22 October 2004 - 05:27 PM

I really appreciate your help... I'd be lost without it. After following your instructions, here is my new logfile:

Logfile of HijackThis v1.98.2
Scan saved at 5:26:12 PM, on 10/22/2004
Platform: Windows XP SP2 (WinNT 5.01.2600)
MSIE: Internet Explorer v6.00 SP2 (6.00.2900.2180)

Running processes:
C:\WINDOWS\System32\smss.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\winlogon.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\services.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\lsass.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\svchost.exe
C:\WINDOWS\System32\svchost.exe
C:\Program Files\Sygate\SPF\smc.exe
C:\WINDOWS\Explorer.EXE
C:\WINDOWS\system32\spoolsv.exe
C:\PROGRA~1\COMMON~1\AOL\ACS\acsd.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\ccProxy.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\ccSetMgr.exe
C:\Program Files\Norton Internet Security\Norton AntiVirus\navapsvc.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\SNDSrvc.exe
C:\WINDOWS\wanmpsvc.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\ccEvtMgr.exe
C:\WINDOWS\System32\hkcmd.exe
C:\Program Files\Intel\Modem Event Monitor\IntelMEM.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\dla\tfswctrl.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Sonic\Update Manager\sgtray.exe
C:\WINDOWS\System32\DSentry.exe
C:\Program Files\Dell\Media Experience\PCMService.exe
C:\Program Files\MUSICMATCH\MUSICMATCH Jukebox\mm_tray.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\ccApp.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Dell\EUSW\Support.exe
C:\Program Files\MUSICMATCH\MUSICMATCH Jukebox\mmtask.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Real\Update_OB\realsched.exe
C:\Program Files\MSN Messenger\MsnMsgr.Exe
C:\Program Files\Dell\Support\Alert\bin\NotifyAlert.exe
C:\Program Files\AWS\WeatherBug\Weather.exe
C:\Program Files\NETGEAR\WG121 Configuration Utility\wlancfg8.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\wscntfy.exe
C:\WINDOWS\system32\wuauclt.exe
C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe
C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe
C:\Program Files\Hijack This\HijackThis.exe
C:\PROGRA~1\Symantec\LIVEUP~1\LUCOMS~1.EXE

R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Default_Page_URL = http://www.dell4me.com/myway
R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Default_Page_URL = http://www.dell4me.com/myway
R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Connection Wizard,ShellNext = http://www.dell4me.com/myway
O2 - BHO: AcroIEHlprObj Class - {06849E9F-C8D7-4D59-B87D-784B7D6BE0B3} - C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 5.0\Reader\ActiveX\AcroIEHelper.ocx
O2 - BHO: (no name) - {53707962-6F74-2D53-2644-206D7942484F} - C:\Program Files\Spybot - Search & Destroy\SDHelper.dll
O2 - BHO: DriveLetterAccess - {5CA3D70E-1895-11CF-8E15-001234567890} - C:\WINDOWS\system32\dla\tfswshx.dll
O2 - BHO: Web assistant - {9ECB9560-04F9-4bbc-943D-298DDF1699E1} - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\AdBlocking\NISShExt.dll
O2 - BHO: NAV Helper - {BDF3E430-B101-42AD-A544-FADC6B084872} - C:\Program Files\Norton Internet Security\Norton AntiVirus\NavShExt.dll
O3 - Toolbar: Web assistant - {0B53EAC3-8D69-4b9e-9B19-A37C9A5676A7} - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\AdBlocking\NISShExt.dll
O3 - Toolbar: Norton AntiVirus - {42CDD1BF-3FFB-4238-8AD1-7859DF00B1D6} - C:\Program Files\Norton Internet Security\Norton AntiVirus\NavShExt.dll
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [IgfxTray] C:\WINDOWS\System32\igfxtray.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [HotKeysCmds] C:\WINDOWS\System32\hkcmd.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [IntelMeM] C:\Program Files\Intel\Modem Event Monitor\IntelMEM.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [dla] C:\WINDOWS\system32\dla\tfswctrl.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [StorageGuard] "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Sonic\Update Manager\sgtray.exe" /r
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [DVDSentry] C:\WINDOWS\System32\DSentry.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [PCMService] "C:\Program Files\Dell\Media Experience\PCMService.exe"
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [QuickTime Task] "C:\Program Files\QuickTime\qttask.exe" -atboottime
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [MMTray] C:\Program Files\MUSICMATCH\MUSICMATCH Jukebox\mm_tray.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [ccApp] "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\ccApp.exe"
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [URLLSTCK.exe] C:\Program Files\Norton Internet Security\UrlLstCk.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [DwlClient] C:\Program Files\Common Files\Dell\EUSW\Support.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [mmtask] C:\Program Files\MUSICMATCH\MUSICMATCH Jukebox\mmtask.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [TkBellExe] "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Real\Update_OB\realsched.exe" -osboot
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [SmcService] C:\PROGRA~1\Sygate\SPF\smc.exe -startgui
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [MsnMsgr] "C:\Program Files\MSN Messenger\MsnMsgr.Exe" /background
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [Symantec NetDriver Monitor] C:\PROGRA~1\SYMNET~1\SNDMon.exe
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [Yahoo! Pager] C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Messenger\ypager.exe -quiet
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [Weather] C:\Program Files\AWS\WeatherBug\Weather.exe 1
O4 - Global Startup: America Online 9.0 Tray Icon.lnk = C:\Program Files\America Online 9.0\aoltray.exe
O4 - Global Startup: Smart Wizard Wireless Settings.lnk = ?
O8 - Extra context menu item: E&xport to Microsoft Excel - res://C:\PROGRA~1\MICROS~4\OFFICE11\EXCEL.EXE/3000
O9 - Extra button: Research - {92780B25-18CC-41C8-B9BE-3C9C571A8263} - C:\PROGRA~1\MICROS~4\OFFICE11\REFIEBAR.DLL
O9 - Extra button: Real.com - {CD67F990-D8E9-11d2-98FE-00C0F0318AFE} - C:\WINDOWS\System32\Shdocvw.dll
O9 - Extra button: Messenger - {FB5F1910-F110-11d2-BB9E-00C04F795683} - C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe
O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Windows Messenger - {FB5F1910-F110-11d2-BB9E-00C04F795683} - C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe
O9 - Extra button: WeatherBug - {AF6CABAB-61F9-4f12-A198-B7D41EF1CB52} - C:\PROGRA~1\AWS\WEATHE~1\Weather.exe (HKCU)
O12 - Plugin for .spop: C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\Plugins\NPDocBox.dll
O16 - DPF: {B9191F79-5613-4C76-AA2A-398534BB8999} (YAddBook Class) - http://us.dl1.yimg.com/download.yahoo.com/...utocomplete.cab

#5 ddeerrff

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Posted 22 October 2004 - 10:26 PM

Nice job, the log is clean.

After using the machine for a few days, you can clean up the files/folders that startchmfix left. To do so:

Delete the downloaded file;
Delete the desktop folder it created;
and delete the folder C:\!backup.


Now that you are clean, here are some simple steps to help keep your computer clean and secure:

Visit Microsoft's Windows Update Site Frequently - It is important that you visit http://www.windowsupdate.com regularly. If there are new critical updates to install, install them immediately, reboot your computer, and revisit the site until there are no more critical updates. This will ensure your computer is up to date and the operating system is safe from the latest threats.


Use an AntiVirus Software - It is very important that you have an anti-virus software running on your machine. This alone can save you a lot of trouble with malware in the future.

Equally as important is that you keep your AV up to date. Set it to auto-update if that option is available, otherwise update it at least weekly. If you do not keep your antivirus current, then it will not be able to catch any of the new variants that may come out.

Use a Firewall - I can not stress how important it is that you use a Firewall on your computer. Without a firewall your computer is susceptible to being hacked and taken over. Simply using a Firewall in its default configuration can lower your risk greatly.

The firewall built into Windows XP is better than nothing, but third party firewalls offer more complete protection. A very good firewall, with a free for personal use version, is ZoneAlarm, available from Zone Labs. Firewalls are also part of the Symantec and McAfee Security Suites.

You can test your firewall at one of the following sites:
Symantec Security: http://security.symantec.com
Gibson Research: http://www.grc.com (follow the links to Shield's-Up!)
DSL Reports Port Scanner: http://www.dslreports.com/scan

For a more in-depth tutorial, and an expanded listing of available firewalls, see
Understanding and Using Firewalls.


Make your Internet Explorer more secure - This can be done by following these simple instructions:
  • From within Internet Explorer click on the Tools menu and then click on Options.
  • Click once on the Security tab
  • Click once on the Internet icon so it becomes highlighted.
  • Click once on the Custom Level button.
    • Change the Download signed ActiveX controls to Prompt
    • Change the Download unsigned ActiveX controls to Disable
    • Change the Initialize and script ActiveX controls not marked as safe to Disable
    • Change the Installation of desktop items to Prompt
    • Change the Launching programs and files in an IFRAME to Prompt
    • Change the Navigate sub-frames across different domains to Prompt
    • When all these settings have been made, click on the OK button.
    • If it prompts you as to whether or not you want to save the settings, press the Yes button.
  • Next press the Apply button and then the OK to exit the Internet Properties page.
A in-depth treatise on IE privacy and security by Eric Howes can be found here


Install Spybot - Search and Destroy - Download and install the latest version of Spybot - Search and Destroy with its TeaTimer option. This will provide realtime spyware & hijacker protection on your computer as an adjunct to your virus protection. Keep this program updated and scan your system periodically with it just as you do with your antivirus software.

A tutorial on installing & using this product can be found at:
Using Spybot - Search & Destroy to remove Spyware , Malware, and Hijackers


Install Ad-Aware SE - Download and install the latest version of Ad-Aware SE. Keep this program updated and use it to scan for malware on a regular basis just as you would an antivirus software in conjunction with Spybot.

A tutorial on installing & using this product can be found at:
Using Ad-aware to remove Spyware, Malware, & Hijackers from Your Computer


Install SpywareBlaster - SpywareBlaster will added a large list of programs and sites into your Internet Explorer settings that will protect you from downloading and running known malicious programs.

A tutorial on installing & using this product can be found at:
Using SpywareBlaster to protect your computer from Spyware and Malware


Update all these programs regularly - Make sure you update all the programs I have listed regularly. Without regular updates you WILL NOT be protected when new malicious programs are released.

Finally, practice safe computer habits. Don't click on strange email attachments thinking your AV will defend you. Usually it will, but sometimes it won't.

Follow this list and your potential for being infected again will be dramatically reduced.
Derfram
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