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Stupid question (well... maybe not): Best method to remove Sirefef


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#1 Explore100

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 10:53 PM

I have a stupid question.

 

I have the Sirefef virus on my computer since 1 year. I and a specialised anti-virus removal technician on this very forum have helped me and tried during several months with all the known scanning and malware-virus removal tools to remove it and it failed.

 

I then investigated the idea of re-installing Windows XP Pro via a USB key (as my internal disk reader was already dead Before the virus episode happened, but to make things more complicated, my computer is a refurbished and bought from a 3rd party and came with NO Windows disk or CD and uses a Service Pack 3 version of WIndows), and i found out that Windows XP Pro SP3 is almost impossible to reinstall via the USB key method because apparently you NEED XP SP2 to reinstall it... and to make matters even worse, there are a lot of different methods and associated softwares and sub-softwares and tools (often all bundled together but not always) to do this and more softwares to prepare a USB key to make it bootable and its very hard to find out which one really works and which do not (to make it even worse i found out that some of these softwares to make a USB key into a bootable Windows OS incorporate a virus... I collected many of the tools and methods to do this and kept them into a file on a 2nd un-infected computer i am using right now before deciding which one i would use.

 

Last week i ran a new series of scans with a fresh copy of Combofix as well as a new copy of Avast and with your new tool, RKill. I am sorry to say that RKill failed on my infected computer, i have a series of files that keep reappearing in the TEMP file and which Cannot be deleted. They are extremely cleverly dissimulated into one or more of the running processes or softwares of my computer, each time i try to delete them various tools the softwares tell me this cannot be done because they are being used by another running processs. So i ran RKill and... the damn things regenerated themselves like they have done hundreds of times before right before my eyes. So scratch that new method... it Cannot get rid of Sirefef and or some of its last sub-components (because i already got several of the Sirefef components deleted last year, with Malwarebyte and other tools like Combofix (files starting by @ and so on). Obviously these did NOT get rid of all the components since they have remained Very active since 1 year and still block most of my commercial softwares including my main work tool for 3D CAD, as well they block my internet access, they stop me from moving any file and to drag and drop files or to open photos and webpages (can only open webpages with a USB key specially formatted to use a mini-Linux OS).

Oh, and i 'nuked' my XP machine with D7 (i changed the permissions) last year. It did not work, but on the smaller computer of my wife (which also got infected last year by Sirefef) it worked, because it runs on Win 7.

 

Right now i also think the small computer of my wife which i am using right now have probably become infected a few weeks ago via the web, as i now Cannot save any page and any photos on webpages i visit online when i use Firefox. I can still do it with Explorer though, but it is more slow and a bit more complicated to go in the menu to do so and it saves pages more slowly than Firefox. I ran scans with a new Combofix and before that a scan at bootup time with a new Avast. Avast did find some virus, but turns out what it found were not virus but PUP that it said had a low risk and were in fact components of some other softwares that we signed for or from some of the video downloading softwares we use to communicate with the makers of the softwares in question, or whatever, in any case, not viruses. The other stuff were things that had already been caught earlier and were in the quarantine since months already. Oh, and one of the scans i did to remove viruses from the 2nd computer (the one not affected by Sirefef) "neatly" deleted my copies of DDS from it... (it recorded it as "high risk virus"...). (UPDATE: from a few minutes ago: i wasn't even able to copy and paste the text of this message that i wrote on wordpad into the forum while navigating on Firefox, i had to go to Explorer to be able to do this...).

 

Oh, and i also went the "Dell expired warranty customer service" route and to change the ownership of my computer so i could reinstall Windows via a USB key, i tried it 3 times via their website and waited for more than 3 weeks each time and it never worked. I had also called them prior to this (i talked to 12 customer reps the first time during 1 hour and a half to finally find a guy who said, (after MUCH insistence from me and nearly threatening to sue them because they are not respecting Canadian laws when it comes to providing things that are needed for their computers to operate, and which by law they are supposed to sell for up to 10 YEARS after the computer was made (such as battery packs, and OS) and he finally came back to tell me he had "found" one last copy of a disk with the SP3 OS in his office, but he had to wait for me to go online and follow the instructions to change the ownership of the computer and wait for 3 weeks and then come back to call customer service once the ownership change was done. I did and i royally waisted my time, the change never appeared in their system. I had to do this again, went on the phone after 4 weeks, could never reach the guy i had initially talked to, went through some 10 more reps, arguing with almost every single one of them to convince them to let me talk to the guy in question (i had his employee number and name), just to be bounced to more departments. Till i got one guy who knew him but could not let me talk to him and told me it is not true, that they do not have one last copy of SP3 OS available there, that i had wrongly understood the guy i spoke to earlier (all this makes me wonder why they made me do all that for nothing since they don't have XP Pro SP3 disks anymore and STILL made me redo the whole change of ownership online....? And yes, i did it 2 more times, and now i am fed up...).

 

So my question, to make this short, i don't want to run anymore scans, malware removal scans and log scans, i did this for far too long and they all failed to remove the virus last active components during 1 year. So i want to know:

 

If i simply manually REMOVE the HARD DISK from my infected computer and REPLACE IT with a brand new one and then reinstall Windows XP Pro after formatting the new disk, will this get RID of the Sirefef virus components once and for all and i can reinstall my Windows XP Pro SP3 via an external CD reader ?

 

(I bought an external reader last winter, but i did not use it until now by fear of getting it infected virus).

 

Please let me know if replacing the Hard Disk will FIX the Sirefef virus problem, because i am about ready to throw this computer (even though it cost me lots of money) and get a 2nd used one (same model) to replace it (and run the risk that i might be getting an infected machine or one that have some problemS, as a lot of these being sold used right now might actually be refurbished machines that were never truly repaired by Dell (seen this so many times online on Dell user forums that use these specialised CAD certified machines), but i have about used up all my options and i can't afford to buy one of these high end machines new.

 

Thank you in advance for your help and thank you for reading this, and this to let you know again that the new RKill software did NOT succeed at stopping the processes that run the last active components of Sirefef (nor did new versions of Combofix, Avast and Malwarebyte)(nor older copies of D7 and SuperAntiSpyware). I also tried running Combofix at the same time RKill was running to try to defeat the active virus components but it did not remove them.


Edited by Explore100, 21 July 2013 - 11:16 PM.


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#2 Crazy Cat

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 12:33 AM

If i simply manually REMOVE the HARD DISK from my infected computer and REPLACE IT with a brand new one and then reinstall Windows XP Pro after formatting the new disk, will this get RID of the Sirefef virus components once and for all and i can reinstall my Windows XP Pro SP3 via an external CD reader?

Yes, you can boot from CD drive, the Windows XP Pro operating system on CD (F12 for boot menu), and do a complete new install.

Using the existing hard drive, can also be done, if you don't want to buy another or care about saving personal files?

Can I suggest to use the Symantec Trojan.Zeroaccess Removal Tool before a fresh new install?

Sirefef virus variants.
Trojan.Zeroaccess http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2011-071314-0410-99&tabid=2
Trojan.Zeroaccess.B http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2011-122300-3915-99&tabid=2
Trojan.Zeroaccess.C http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2012-080900-3758-99&tabid=2
Trojan.Zeroaccess!inf4 http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2012-080901-4610-99&tabid=2

Trojan.Zeroaccess Removal Tool. http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2011-121607-4952-99

Edited by Crazy Cat, 22 July 2013 - 07:53 PM.

 

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. ― Albert Einstein ― Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.

 

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#3 Explore100

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 01:01 AM

 

If i simply manually REMOVE the HARD DISK from my infected computer and REPLACE IT with a brand new one and then reinstall Windows XP Pro after formatting the new disk, will this get RID of the Sirefef virus components once and for all and i can reinstall my Windows XP Pro SP3 via an external CD reader?


Yes, you can boot from CD drive, the Windows XP Pro operating system on CD (F12 for boot menu), and do a complete new install.

Using the existing hard drive, can also be done, if you don't want to by another or care about saving personal files?

Can I suggest to use the Symantec Trojan.Zeroaccess Removal Tool before a fresh new install?

Sirefef virus variants.
Trojan.Zeroaccess http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2011-071314-0410-99&tabid=2
Trojan.Zeroaccess.B http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2011-122300-3915-99&tabid=2
Trojan.Zeroaccess.C http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2012-080900-3758-99&tabid=2
Trojan.Zeroaccess!inf4 http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2012-080901-4610-99&tabid=2

Trojan.Zeroaccess Removal Tool. http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2011-121607-4952-99

 

Hi Crazy Cat,

 

Thank you for your answer, i already had all my data saved to an external hard disk prior to the infection. CD drive on my machine is totally dead, it's a problem not related to the virus, it's a SONY and DELL problem. Tried all kinds of fixes already, that's why i bought an external CD drive in prevision of a reinstall of XP but now i don't wanbt to risk destroying that CD reader due to the Sirefef virus.

 

What about replacing my hard drive to get rid of Sirefef ?

 

 



#4 AngryRaisin

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 01:02 AM

long question, short answer - yes you should be able to install windows on the new blank hard drive with and external usb cd/dvd drive without reinfecting the computer.

I have more worries about you dragging a virus back from backups or copies of secondary programs that you may want to install after you have a clean windows install.

I have cleaned up several computers for virus infections - if the person comes back in 1 - 3 days (roughly) I missed something and did not do my job properly - they come back after 1 month they have gone back to the same behavior that got them infected in the first place.

Edited by AngryRaisin, 22 July 2013 - 01:03 AM.


#5 LesterFry

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 08:58 AM

For next time you should buy the refurbished tower from a reliable shop with products with guarantee. So I buyed an refurbished tower from www.relando.de and I had a similar problem. But they were fair and changed the device on their own costs. Maybe thats an option for next pc.Cheers!

   

 



#6 Explore100

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 03:38 PM

Hi ! Thank you Angry Raisin. I think i will do that. 

 

Yes, i think there might be a slight possibility that there might be an infection on the external hard disk because i used it a few times on my wife's computer after the infection got my Dell, cannot be 100% sure it is not infected.

 

But when i needed to save some of the last documents i made after the infection occured on my Dell i did always used a special Linux OS mounted on a USB key to boot the infected machine and save those last few documents on the external hard disk, so there is theorically no risk that the infection got into the external disk from my Dell computer. However i did try to run D7 on that disk as recommended by the technician who helped me here, not too sure if it worked because i think normally when you change permissions with D7 you do this on an OS, not on a pure memory hard disk that doesn't have an OS installed on it ? In any case, i also know the exact webpage that infected my machine, it was a Russian website.



#7 Explore100

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 03:47 PM

For next time you should buy the refurbished tower from a reliable shop with products with guarantee. So I buyed an refurbished tower from www.relando.de and I had a similar problem. But they were fair and changed the device on their own costs. Maybe thats an option for next pc.Cheers!

   

 

 

Hi LesterFry, well, several things, i did try to get a professional refurb machine for CAD from the Dell website, they won't sell them outside the US. Tried the same with another brand, same thing... So when i found this one and saw what it was and how powerfull it is, and the price, i ran back home to get some specs and then ran back to the store to purchase it as it was an occasion too good to be missed. I think the disk reader conked out a couple of months after i bought it when i ran a session of some 20-30 CDs in it to check my pictures and then one DVD that stayed stuck inside. Took it apart, removed the drive, dismantled it, removed the DVD, put everything back together. That machine have always been rock solid and a very high performance computer (better and much more stable than most of the new models from Dell and much more battery autonomy than any of the new quad-cores (and better quality high end graphic card).

 

Yes, i agree with you, the store was not so good, in fact i was not happy at them for some of the things they did and how they handled the computer while checking why the wi-fi was not working initially (that got fixed), but i was determined not to lose that one and i did get a very good deal. New it would have cost me over 2000$, and i could live without the CD burner (and now got an external one). It was really a Sony DVD burner problem, i don't think the store would have made it any better if i had returned it, i did not trust how they worked on that machine after seeing them opening it and working on the components inside while it was still plugged on the wall and handling it roughly and then forgetting to put back one of the underside doors when they were eager to see me leave because they wanted to go back home.. I would not recommend the store to anyone, i just bought from them because of that special CAD machine and its price, nothing else.I think the 30 days warranty was already over in any case.


Edited by Explore100, 22 July 2013 - 03:59 PM.


#8 Crazy Cat

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 08:19 PM

Hi ! Thank you Angry Raisin. I think i will do that. 
 
Yes, i think there might be a slight possibility that there might be an infection on the external hard disk because i used it a few times on my wife's computer after the infection got my Dell, cannot be 100% sure it is not infected.
 
But when i needed to save some of the last documents i made after the infection occured on my Dell i did always used a special Linux OS mounted on a USB key to boot the infected machine and save those last few documents on the external hard disk, so there is theorically no risk that the infection got into the external disk from my Dell computer. However i did try to run D7 on that disk as recommended by the technician who helped me here, not too sure if it worked because i think normally when you change permissions with D7 you do this on an OS, not on a pure memory hard disk that doesn't have an OS installed on it ? In any case, i also know the exact webpage that infected my machine, it was a Russian website.


When you have installed a fresh XP, do this, http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/501129/recovery-partition/#entry3104230 Do not connect your USB hard drive until you have imaged the new fresh XP install.

Then install your anti-virus, if you haven't already, and connect your USB hard drive, do a full scan.

Internet security and privacy is another issue altogether, so you don't get infected again when you surf?
 

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. ― Albert Einstein ― Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.

 

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#9 boopme

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 09:00 PM

If you have made a disk image with an imaging tool (i.e. Acronis True Image, Drive Image, Ghost, Macrium Reflect, etc.) before your system was infected, then using it is another option. Disk Imaging allows you to take a complete snapshot (image) of your hard disk which can be used for system recovery in case of a hard disk disaster or malware resistent to disinfection. The image is an exact, byte-by-byte copy of an entire hard drive (partition or logical disk) which can be used to restore your system at a later time to the exact same state the system was when you imaged the disk or partition. Essentially, it will restore the computer to the state it was in when the image was made. You will then have to reinstall all programs that you added afterwards. This includes all security updates and patches from Microsoft.

Reformatting a hard disk deletes all data. You can back up all your important documents, personal data files, photos, music, videos to a CD or DVD drive, not a flash drive or external hard drive as they may become compromised in the process. The safest practice is not to backup any executable files (*.exe), screensavers (*.scr), dynamic link library (*.dll), autorun (.ini) or script files (.php, .asp, .htm, .html, .xml) files because they may be infected by malware. Avoid backing up compressed files (.zip, .cab, .rar) that have executables inside them as some types of malware can penetrate compressed files and infect the .exe files within them. Other types of malware may even disguise itself by hiding a file extension or by adding double file extensions and/or space(s) in the file's name to hide the real extension as shown here (click Figure 1 to enlarge) so be sure you look closely at the full file name. If you cannot see the file extension, you may need to reconfigure Windows to show file name extensions. Then make sure you scan the backed up data with your anti-virus prior to to copying it back to your hard drive.If your computer will not boot properly, please refer to:If you need additional assistance with reformatting, partitioning or reinstalling the OS, you can start a new topic in the Operating Systems Subforums.

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#10 Explore100

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 07:05 PM

Hi Crazy Cat,

 

I have just downloaded the Symantec Sirefef removal tool. I will try to get it installed on my Dell, not sure it will work because the last time i uninstalled softwares such as Malwarebyte (which was already being blocked from scanning by Sirefef) and a couple graphic softwares from it the virus wouldn't let me reinstall new versions of them.

 

I must say i am a total newbie when it comes to any OS reinstall, never did it before. I already bought a 2nd hand CD with XP Pro SP3 from Ebay recently, but it is not guaranteed it will work as the seller sent me a version which is for HP machines (different from the picture he had on his Ebay page) and which uses 2 CDs... (something unique to HP apparently). I may have to buy another one specifically for Dell.



#11 Crazy Cat

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 07:25 PM

Hi Crazy Cat,
 
I have just downloaded the Symantec Sirefef removal tool. I will try to get it installed on my Dell, not sure it will work because the last time i uninstalled softwares such as Malwarebyte (which was already being blocked from scanning by Sirefef) and a couple graphic softwares from it the virus wouldn't let me reinstall new versions of them.
 
I must say i am a total newbie when it comes to any OS reinstall, never did it before. I already bought a 2nd hand CD with XP Pro SP3 from Ebay recently, but it is not guaranteed it will work as the seller sent me a version which is for HP machines (different from the picture he had on his Ebay page) and which uses 2 CDs... (something unique to HP apparently). I may have to buy another one specifically for Dell.


Run the Symantec Sirefef removal tool in safe mode. The 2nd hand CD with XP Pro SP3 will install, but you may have driver issues, as that CD is a HP OEM install CD and may not have all the correct drivers for your Dell?

If that does happen? Then use SlimDrivers. Find and download driver updates. http://www.snapfiles.com/get/slimdrivers.html

SlimDrivers allows you to scan your computer for missing our outdated drivers and presents you with a list of available updates. You can review the list of available updates and then choose the drivers that you want to install. SlimDrivers will download the selected drivers and automatically launch the installation program. You have the option to create a Restore Point and back up your current driver before the new driver is installed. SlimDrivers also include a backup and restore option that allows you to restore previous version of your drivers.
 

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. ― Albert Einstein ― Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.

 

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#12 noknojon

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 12:19 AM

Original title of topic was - Best method to remove Sirefef -

 

Please download Rkill (courtesy of BleepingComputer.com) to your desktop.
There are 2 different versions. If one of them won't run then download and try to run the other one.
You only need to get one of these to run, not all of them.
NOTE : You may get warnings from your antivirus about this tool, ignore them or shutdown your antivirus.
rKill.exe: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/rkill/dl/10/
iExplore.exe (renamed rKill.exe): http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/rkill/dl/11/

  • Double-click on the Rkill desktop icon to run the tool.
  • If using Vista or Windows 7 right-click on it and choose Run As Administrator.
  • A black DOS box will briefly flash and then disappear. This is normal and indicates the tool ran successfully.
  • If not, delete the file, then download and use the one provided in Link 2.
  • Do not reboot until instructed.
  • If the tool does not run from any of the links provided, please let me know.

If normal mode still doesn't work, run the tool from safe mode.
When the scan is done Notepad will open with rKill log.
Post it in your next reply.
NOTE. rKill.txt log will also be present on your desktop.

 

 

TDSS Rootkit Removing Tool (TDSSKiller.exe) and save it to your Desktop. <-Important!!!

• Double-click on TDSSKiller.exe to run the tool for known TDSS variants.
Vista/Windows 7 users right-click and select Run As Administrator.
• If TDSSKiller does not run, try renaming it.
• To do this, right-click on TDSSKiller.exe, select Rename and give it a random name with the .com file extension (i.e. 123abc.com). If you do not see the file extension, please refer to How to change the file extension.
• Click the Start Scan button.
Do not use the computer during the scan
•If the scan completes with nothing found, click Close to exit.
• If malicious objects are found, they will show in the Scan results - Select action for found objects and offer three options.
• Ensure Cure (default) is selected, then click Continue > Reboot now to finish the cleaning process.
• A log file named TDSSKiller_version_date_time_log.txt (i.e. TDSSKiller.2.4.0.0_27.07.2010_09.o7.26_log.txt) will be created and saved to the root directory (usually Local Disk C:).
• Copy and paste the contents of that file in your next reply.

 

 

Please download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free (aka MBAM)
* Double-click MBAM -setup.exe and follow the prompts to install the program.
* At the end, be sure to Check for Updates to be so it is current
* If an update is found, it will download and install the latest version.
* Once the program has loaded, select Scan, then click Quick Scan.
* When the scan is complete, click OK, then Show Results to view the results.
* Be sure that everything is checked, and click Remove Selected.
* NOTE : You may be asked to Reboot to fully remove any found infections.
* When completed, a log will open in Notepad.
* Post the log back here.
* If you are not sure of any items, post the log and ask if it should be removed.

 

 

Please download Junkware Removal Tool to your desktop.
* Shut down your protection software now to avoid potential conflicts.

How To Temporarily Disable Your Anti-virus
* If you are using Windows Vista, 7, or 8; instead of double-clicking, right-mouse click JRT.exe and select "Run as Administrator".
* The tool will open and start scanning your system.
* On completion, a log (JRT.txt) is saved to your desktop and will automatically open.

* Post the contents of JRT.txt into your next message.

 

Thank You -



#13 Explore100

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 07:15 PM

Hi, thank you Noknojon,

 

I had tried RKill a few months ago but it did not work. Will try again to see if the other version you mention might give a result.

 

One Very important question though, is there a software that i can dowload and use that can work in conjonction with the XPUD USB drive i am using using right now so i can SAVE pages and the instructions you guys are sending me ? I abolutely can't save any pages right now with the bare bone XPUD i have, which is a huge problem now that both our computers are stuck with viruses (Sirefef and now the desktop hijacker. It won't be evident writing down all these long sets of instructions in the dark at wi-fi spots with drunks and drug addicts all around (quiet wi-fi spots are rare here, and in daytime its too bright to even see the screen)(i tend to avoid cafes, too expensive, just did that last night to upload HitmanPro tool in vain, cost me 25$ including USB drive, internet time and bus).

 

I am also looking for a software that i can use with XPUD so we can type text. D on't know if it is the computer or XPUD but the pointer is so jittery it is also a pain to type a message online because it keeps sending my next typed word or partial word back a few clicks or several lines ups... really hard to type with XPUD.



#14 Delaveguire

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 02:53 AM

I have just created an account to say thank you so much for helping me with this problem. this thread is 4 years old and it still helps people deal with these viruses. Keep up the good work guys!



#15 boopme

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 09:18 AM

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