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Adware Registry Entry - Safe to Remove?


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#1 Mitexi

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 01:22 PM

I am using Windows Vista, and last night the "Vista Total Security" alert popped up on my computer. It proceeded to cause all other programs not to function or open, no matter what I tried. At a complete loss, I did a system restore back to a time before this happened. All of my programs began working again, and the Vista Total Security alerts were no more. I then ran a scan with Malwarebytes, which came up with an infected registry key. I don't know if this is related to the Vista Total Security thing, or if it's something completely different I had before that even happened. But I would like to know if its safe to remove with Malwarebytes. I'm always wary of messing with registry keys. This is the key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Stats\{1D4DB7D2-6EC9-47A3-BD87-1E41684E07BB} (Adware.MyWebSearch) -> Not selected for removal.

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#2 quietman7

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 02:09 PM

MyWebSearch is one of many browser toolbar add-ons (to include MyWay Searchbar, MySearch, MyWay Search Assistant, and MyWay Speedbar) which are created and distributed by Ask Jeeves. These toolbars are often bundled with "free software" such as wallpaper and screensavers offered by third party software vendors and part of the Fun Web Products suite of utilities (Smiley Central, Cursor Mania, FunBuddyIcons, FunWebProducts, MyFunCards, My Mail Stationary, My Mail Signature, PopSwatter, Popular Screensavers, Webfetti, My Way website portal, etc). The toolbar is also aggressively offered via annoying banner ads and pop ups advertised on third party web sites that target kids. For a more detailed overview, refer to the Ask Jeeves Software Review conducted by Sunbelt Software Research Center.

MyWebSearch and MyWay were pre-installed on new Dell computers starting in November 2004 as reported in The Pharmer In The Dell. Dell had a link to "What is the Dell MyWebSearch Home Page?" but it was redirected to The "Dell My Way" Home Page and at some point removed. Dell now uses the "Dell Search Assistant " where they address many of the same concerns previously addressed in the redirected link.

Although MyWebSearch is not technically spyware, the program uses tracking cookies and transmits information regarding search requests performed through the toolbar's search facility. Some anti-virus and anti-malware programs detect the toolbar as a non-viral threat (i.e. not-a-virus:AdTool.Win32.MyWebSearch) or Potentially Unwanted Program, while others (Spybot, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, Ad-aware...) may detect or remove individual files and registry entries. However, even after these security tools remove files/registry entries, remnants previously undetected may still be found during subsequent scans.
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