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Will reformatting kill a root kit, or is there more?

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#1 GeoNOregon


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Posted 01 December 2012 - 02:43 PM

I haven't paid much attention to the advancement in the rootkit wars, so I'm in need of an up to date sit rep on the battle(s).

I have a system with a rootkit that just won't go away, (I got it about two years ago, made a concerted effort to get rid of it then, and about a year later, but never did kill it). I was able to neutralize it by renaming the IE executable. Since I don't use IE, it was no big deal. The only residual was a gradual memory drain in one of the service processes, that made rebooting once a week necessary.

I was planning on taking another run at it this Winter, but Thursday night I performed a routine Window security update. I was reading an article while it was updating, and finished the article before rebooting. While I was reading the article, (and clicking reboot later), I lost Internet access. Didn't lose the page I was reading, but lost link function. I thought it was a Comcast router problem, but have since found something else.

It turns out my D-Link router quit working. When I bypassed it, I found I was infected with what appears to be the Blaster worm, (Sasser?). There's a variety of OS & Firefox dysfunction and I get the phony 'services.exe has stopped' error message and the 60 second countdown to system shutdown popup.

The bizzare part is the virus is NOT found by any AV software I have been able to run, online or stand alone, (most AV apps won't run). I downloaded Symantec's Blaster fix and it says the systems no infected. It gives all the symptoms of the Blaster worm, but it is not recognized as such, I'm beginning to think it's something new, based on something old. (If anybody wants more info, let me know.)

Anyway, I don't want to fight with this, I'm just going to re-install the OS. I configured this system in case this happened. It has a smallish IDE HD as the C:, with nothing more than XP SP3 on it. I have migrated all of the system files I can to an S: drive, (menus, desktop, quick launch, anything OS related I can move from C, I have moved). I don't install ANY apps in the Program Files folder unless it won't install elsewhere. In spite of that, the 10 gb drive is getting full anyway, (can we say M$ bloatware?), so I thought I'd nuke the drive and start over.

I've been reading there are some rootkits that don't go away with a reformat. How prevalent are these and should I just buy a new HD?

I have also been reading there are some rootkits that are getting into the BIOS. Will a BIOS flash nuke them?

Thanks, in advance, for any help or advice.


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#2 boopme


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Posted 03 December 2012 - 03:58 PM

Please read this.. http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic450110.html/page__p__2667379__hl__reformat__fromsearch__1#entry2667379

IMPORTANT NOTE about: TDSS/TDL3 rootkit.

Rootkits, backdoor Trojans, Botnets, and IRCBots are very dangerous because they compromise system integrity by making changes that allow it to be used by the attacker for malicious purposes. Rootkits are used by Trojans to conceal its presence (hide from view) in order to prevent detection of an attacker's software and make removal more difficult. Many rootkits can hook into the Windows 32-bit kernel, and patch several APIs to hide new registry keys and files they install. They can disable your anti-virus and security tools to prevent detection and removal. Remote attackers use backdoors as a means of accessing and taking control of a computer that bypasses security mechanisms. This type of exploit allows them to steal sensitive information like passwords, personal and financial data which is send back to the hacker. To learn more about these types of infections, you can refer to:If your computer was used for online banking, has credit card information or other sensitive data on it, all passwords should be changed immediately to include those used for banking, email, eBay, paypal and online forums. You should consider them to be compromised. They should be changed using a clean computer and not the infected one. If not, an attacker may get the new passwords and transaction information. Banking and credit card institutions should be notified of the possible security breach. Because your computer was compromised please read:Although the rootkit was identified and may be removed, your machine has likely been compromised and there is no way to be sure the computer can ever be trusted again. It is dangerous and incorrect to assume the computer is secure even if the malware appears to have been removed. In some instances an infection may have caused so much damage to your system that it cannot be completely cleaned or repaired so you can never be sure that you have completely removed a rootkit. The malware may leave so many remnants behind that security tools cannot find them. Tools that claim to be able to remove rootkits cannot guarantee that all traces of it will be removed. Many experts in the security community believe that once infected with this type of malware, the best course of action is to wipe the drive clean, reformat and reinstall the OS. Please read:
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