Hello and thank you in advance for your help,
I have a fairly new computer running Windows 7 64 bit. I took some time away from home recently, and when I got back, failed to update Java as expediently as I should have. Earlier this week I ran a scheduled Microsoft Security Essentials scan, which turned up three detected items:
I promptly removed the three items (MSE reported that they were successfully removed), and started a scan using Spybot-SD, followed by another full scan by MSE. Neither of these showed any threats. At this point, I also made sure that my versions of Java and Adobe flash were up to date.
However, since then, I've noticed perioidic slow-downs while internet browsing using Firefox. Yesterday, several alerts popped-up in 10 minute intervals stating that a process was blocked from attempting to access the internet. Unfortunately, I did not take a screen shot, or record the exact message. However, I do remember that each process was listed as a long url with seemingly random strings of alphabetic characters.
At that point, I did another full scan by MSE, which did not detect any items. I then downloaded Malware Bytes: Anti-Malware, updated the definitions, unplugged my ethernet cable and disabled my firewall/MSE, and then ran Malware Bytes. However, no items were detetected.
After enabling my firewall/MSE and reconnecting my ethernet cable, I noticed that four instances of internet explorer were listed under processes in my Task Manager, which I found odd, since I currently did not have any browser open, and when I do surf the internet, I use Firefox. I used Task Manager to kill the processes, but they returned about 2 minutes later. Each of the uses about 10,000k memory on average, although occaisionally, one will spike to about 120,000k memory without me actively doing anything.
Finally, I thought to restart the computer in safe mode using the F8 on startup, but after several attempts, I was not able to get safe mode to start on boot-up. I downloaded and scanned using Malware Bytes Anti-Rootkit, but nothing was found.
I am not very knowledgeable on the subject, but I am worried that I have a rootkit infecting the Master Boot Record, which is causing both the instances of IE and the inability to boot to safe mood.
I'm not opposed to reformatting the harddrive, but would like to make sure I do actually have a problem before I do so.
Thank you for your help!