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Scumware on Earthlink home page???


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#1 saluqi

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 10:26 PM

Installed high speed Internet a week ago.  Before that, had Earthlink dialup account (for many years).  Have not yet closed out Earthlink account (I find it useful, for the time being) and put my Earthlink home page on the Google Chrome list of pages to open, on my new Win 8 laptop.  Now I suddenly find aggressive blinking ads for "clean your computer" and such like on the Earthlink home page, that I never saw using dialup on the old Windows XP machine.  Loading SpywareBlaster did not make those things disappear.  Thought of installing the MVPS hosts file - for that to work you have to tinker with the Windows Defender settings, I believe - though I am using Avast! Internet Security which should theoretically disable Defender?

 

I did download, install and use a Driver Updater program (paid), before I realized hey, there's way too much advertising on this site.  Wonder what scans to run, to make sure that didn't bring any nasties with it?  It did seem to do a decent job of updating the drivers, and the ones I was familiar with seemed to be legit.

 

Thanks for enlightenment!



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#2 cat1092

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 12:45 AM

I've had EarthLink high speed Internet (though Time Warner does the work) for over 2 years now. Price had never increased until recently, Time Warner began charging for the modem. However I don't have to be concerned over escalating pricing from year to year & speeds are decent (15 down/1 up), so I'll keep it.

 

10 email accounts are also included.

 

However, I've never used their home page, it's unattractive, behind the times looking & as you state, many ads. Fortunately I've only had to call them once, they really try hard to sell Norton security.

 

You can easily change your home page in Google Chrome to one that you want, or even add another & let the EarthLink one be the one that you don't see. Open Google Chrome & click the tab in the upper right corner to "Customize and Control Google Chrome", right beneath the red X to close the browser. You will see the Settings.

 

Go to the second option down "On Startup". You'll have 3 options:

Open the New Tab page

Continue where you left off

Open a specific page or set of pages. Set pages

 

You want to choose the last option & click "Set Pages". Now it's up to you to find a suitable replacement page. It can be the Google Default, MSN, Yahoo, whatever you wish. Check it out.

 

Attached File  Capture (Google).PNG   11.15KB   0 downloads

 

Copy & Paste the address bar into the "Add a new Page" slot, you can even delete the EarthLink page altogether. If you have multiple computers & are signed into Google Chrome, as I am, your original will show at first, close the browser & re-open.

 

EarthLink ads gone. If you wish, you can still bookmark the page for quick access.

 

Too, what will help with the flashing ads is to install an ad blocker, such as Adblock Plus to the browser. On that same Control page, to the left, there's an Extensions option. Click it. Check "Developer Mode" at the top of the page. Now go to the bottom of the Extensions page & you'll see "Get More Extensions" or there may be a message showing you don't have any. to browse the gallery. A page will open called "Chrome Web Store".

 

There will be a Search box on the left. Type in Adblock Plus. You'll be given the option to add it, there will be a prompt about accessing your tabs & so forth, agree. Once the extension is enabled, another page will open yhere you'll have 3 more options to enable malware blocking, disable social tracking & I forget the other, but check them all. Close the browser, reopen & you'll have a fairly much ad-free Google Chrome.

 

Hope this helps to explain.

 

Cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#3 quietman7

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 05:51 AM

Resources to help prevent advertisements & block websites:
How To Block advertisements in Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Opera
BlockSite
NoScript - NoScript FAQs

About Adblock Plus
Adblock Plus Overview
- Adblock Plus for Internet Explorer
- Adblock Plus for Firefox
- Adblock Plus for Chrome
- Adblock Plus for Opera
- Adblock Plus FAQs
Element Hiding Helper for Adblock Plus - How to Use the Element Hiding Helper with Adblock Plus

Resources to help protect privacy:Ghostery is a browser tool for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, Internet Explorer, which allows you to block beacons, trackers, advertising, analytics and widgets.
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#4 scotty_ncc1701

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 07:39 AM

Even to this date, my ISP (broadband) wants me to install their troubleshooting software, and even when I first got the service, they said that they had a toolbar that needed to be installed. I called them liars to "their face" (so to speak, I was on the phone). For broadband connections, as well as dialup, you don't need the software that ISPs want you to install. Both types connections can be installed manually within the network area.

So presuming that you don't have spyware, malware, adware, etc on your computer in the "classic sense", most likely these popup stuff is coming from software that your ISP had you install, again presuming that they had you put software on your system.

You should use Firefox, because they have good add-ons that prevents things. I tested AVAST Internet Security. The Antivirus is great, I'm using it (the free version), but their Internet Security Firewall is substandard.

I use to use Comodo IS, but left it, not because it was bad, per se, but the Interface was too convoluted, and they force the user to answer too many questions. For instance, I might have said that program "X" was AOK to run with program "A" starting it. But later it would ask it again. I'd tell it that program "X" was an allowed program, but even in their configuration area, under "run", they had only "ASK" and "BLOCK", no allow. In order to prevent the questions from coming up again and again, the user had to go in manually and put an exception in. This should have been done automatically, when the user said it was an allowed application. For COMODO users... yes, I tried the training mode, and that didn't help, and yes, I downloaded the newer version, as well as running tests on different computers, even after reseting the computer. It is a COMODO issue, not my computer.

Ok, all that being said, just some things for thoughts:

1. Uninstall the "Driver Updater program", since things started after you installed it. See if that helps. Even if it does, I suggest you do at least #2, and in fact all other steps anyway.

2. Uninstall the software that your ISP may have insisted on you installing, as said, it isn't need. Don't take no as an answer from your ISP. My ISP tried the same "stuff" with me. My ISP tried that with me, and I got them, because it wasn't required by the TOS, and plus I know how to create connections without their software.

3. To be safe, backup all the files you consider critical (e.g. *.DOC, *.XLS, etc)

4. Do a deep scan with AVAST.

5. Do a scan with MALWARE blaster.

6. Do a scan with SuperAntiSpyware.

7. Do a scan with Spybot Search and Destroy.

8. Defender is just an updated version of MSE, which Microsoft has already admitted is just intended as a base line, not full protection like programs such as AVAST. Individuals using MSE/Defender is just looking for trouble. Accordingly, it was reported:

Now, Microsoft has said it sees Security Essentials as merely the first layer of protection, advising customers to use additional, third-party antivirus... Holly Stewart, senior program manager of the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, told Dennis Technology Labs that Microsoft made a decision to switch to what it calls a "baseline strategy".

Best of luck.

#5 cat1092

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 11:58 AM

 

Quote

Now, Microsoft has said it sees Security Essentials as merely the first layer of protection, advising customers to use additional, third-party antivirus... Holly Stewart, senior program manager of the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, told Dennis Technology Labs that Microsoft made a decision to switch to what it calls a "baseline strategy".

While point #8 is debatable, the quote is just another spinoff, by whomever, to fit their agenda. 

 

That is not an official Microsoft press release & shouldn't be considered a statement from the corporation. 

 

Here is the official MSE Product Information page with details about the app. Much detail is included in the links, 

 

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security-essentials-product-information#tabs1=overview

 

It's up to each consumer to decide which security best meets their needs. 

 

Cat


Edited by cat1092, 06 June 2014 - 11:59 AM.

Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#6 quietman7

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 01:08 PM

Now, Microsoft has said it sees Security Essentials as merely the first layer of protection, advising customers to use additional, third-party antivirus... Holly Stewart, senior program manager of the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, told Dennis Technology Labs that Microsoft made a decision to switch to what it calls a "baseline strategy".

The above quote is totally incorrect and has been debunked.

Nicole Kobie, the writer of the article does not provide a direct quote of Holly Stewart actually saying to use a third-party anti-virus because Ms. Stewart never made that statement. Instead Kobie takes Ms. Stewart's words out of context and misrepresents what was said during the interview. Typical of "so called" journalists these days...they would rather create a story instead of reporting it.

Sensationalist Press Got it WRONG! Microsoft Does Not Recommend Two Antivirus Programs!
Ask Leo: Do I Need to Stop Using Microsoft Security Essentials?

Microsoft: Our commitment to Microsoft antimalware
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#7 quietman7

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 01:13 PM

5. Do a scan with MALWARE blaster.
7. Do a scan with Spybot Search and Destroy.


Never heard of MALWARE blaster.

mvps.org is no longer recommending Spybot S&D (or Ad-Aware) due to poor testing results. See here - (scroll down and read under Freeware Antispyware Products). Further, most people don't understand how to use Spybot's TeaTimer and that feature can cause more problems than it's worth. TeaTimer monitors changes to certain critical keys in Windows registry but does not indicate if the change is normal or a modification made by a malware infection. The user must have an understanding of the registry and how TeaTimer works in order to make informed decisions to allow or deny the detected changes. If you don't have understanding how a particular security tool works, then you probably should not be using it. Additionally, TeaTimer may conflict with other security tools which do a much better job of protecting your computer and in some cases it will even prevent disinfection of malware by those tools.
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#8 scotty_ncc1701

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 02:06 PM

 

5. Do a scan with MALWARE blaster.
7. Do a scan with Spybot Search and Destroy.
[quote]

Never heard of MALWARE blaster.

mvps.org is no longer recommending Spybot S&D (or Ad-Aware) due to poor testing results. See here - (scroll down and read under Freeware Antispyware Products). Further, most people don't understand how to use Spybot's TeaTimer and that feature can cause more problems than it's worth. TeaTimer monitors changes to certain critical keys in Windows registry but does not indicate if the change is normal or a modification made by a malware infection. The user must have an understanding of the registry and how TeaTimer works in order to make informed decisions to allow or deny the detected changes. If you don't have understanding how a particular security tool works, then you probably should not be using it. Additionally, TeaTimer may conflict with other security tools which do a much better job of protecting your computer and in some cases it will even prevent disinfection of malware by those tools.

 

 

1.  I stand corrected on the "malware blaster", that was a typo.

2.  I've tested MSE against almost 4000+ viruses that I have saved on a flash drive, that I test on an isolated PC, and my test shows that MSE was worse on detection than AVG, and both had the most current updates.

3.  I don't use teatimer.

 

Have a good day.


Edited by scotty_ncc1701, 06 June 2014 - 02:09 PM.


#9 quietman7

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 03:06 PM

Your testing and opinion of MSE is a separate issue from the Nicole Kobie quote attributed to Holly Stewart. That misinformation has been debunked repeatedly.
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#10 saluqi

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 09:16 PM

Let me try again to explain what's happening.  I have two computers here - an old desktop still running Win XP, now used only for  E-mail and soon to be phased out altogether, and a newly repaired almost-new Dell laptop running Win 8.  I have two ISP accounts - one with Earthlink, which I have been using on dialup since 1999, and a new one with a local provider (Nova Storm Systems) which is microwave relay to fiberoptic and quite reasonably fast.

 

The high speed enters the house via an RJ-45 cable that I can plug into either computer.  On the laptop I am using Chrome, on the desktop MSIE 8 because the hardware won't support Chrome.  I have my personal Earthlink home page tabbed on both.  The objectionable ads appear only on the laptop, even when the desktop is plugged into the high speed connection.  That lets me think this is not an ISP issue.  Maybe the difference in browsers?  or maybe because I have Javascript disabled in MSIE 8?  or maybe the MVPS "hosts" file which is installed on the desktop but not yet on the laptop?  On the home pages (and some other pages too) on the desktop there are "holes" where obviously ads would otherwise have appeared.

 

Incidentally the driver updater I downloaded and used (it cost $40) is the one advertised on Bleeping Computer ... <G>

 

I have had to type this message at least ten times because a single mis-hit (???) key causes the cursor to jump to some other part of the screen, or to a quite different part of the BC site, or even logging me out, usually causing the loss of everything I have typed up to then (I am a touch typist of well above average proficiency).

 

Now I find I have been logged out again while typing this, so will have to copy it, log back in and start the reply again from scratch.  For at least the tenth time now.  That is, it says I am logged in, but when I try to post I find I cannot.



#11 cat1092

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 10:32 PM

Adblock Plus for IE to the rescue, written by the same developer as that of Chrome, Firefox & Opera.

 

https://adblockplus.org/releases/adblock-plus-11-for-internet-explorer-released

 

EDIT: I see that quietman7 has already provided links for this with very detailed information as how to configure for all browsers, including IE.

 

I also highly advise you to download & install Malwarebytes Free (a 14 day Trial of Premium will be offered), update & run a Threat Scan. You'll likely be prompted to do this anyway. Get it from MBAM direct.

 

https://www.malwarebytes.org/free/

 

Cat


Edited by cat1092, 08 June 2014 - 04:18 PM.

Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#12 quietman7

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 06:30 AM


Please download and use the following tools (in the order listed) which will search for and remove many potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), adware, toolbars, browser hijackers, extensions, add-ons and other junkware as well as related registry entries (values, keys) and remnants.

RKill created by Grinler (aka Lawrence Abrams), the site owner of BleepingComputer.
AdwCleaner created by Xplode.
Junkware Removal Tool created by thisisu.

1. Double-click on RKill to launch the tool. A black DOS box will briefly flash and then disappear. This is normal and indicates the tool ran successfully. A log file will be created and saved to the root directory, C:\RKill.log. Copy and paste the contents of RKill.log in your next reply.

Important: Do not reboot your computer until you complete the next step.

2. Double-click on AdwCleaner.exe to run the tool.
Vista/Windows 7/8 users right-click and select Run As Administrator.
  • Click on the Scan button.
  • AdwCleaner will begin...be patient as the scan may take some time to complete.
  • After the scan has finished, click on the Report button...a logfile (AdwCleaner[R0].txt) will open in Notepad for review.
  • After reviewing the log, click on the Clean button.
  • Press OK when asked to close all programs and follow the onscreen prompts.
  • Press OK again to allow AdwCleaner to restart the computer and complete the removal process.
  • After rebooting, a logfile report (AdwCleaner[S0].txt) will open automatically.
  • Copy and paste the contents of that logfile in your next reply.
  • A copy of all logfiles are saved in the C:\AdwCleaner folder which was created when running the tool.
-- Note: The contents of the AdwCleaner log file may be confusing. Unless you see a program name that you recognize and know should not be removed, don't worry about it. If you see an entry you want to keep, return to AdwCleaner before cleaning...all detected items will be listed (and checked) in each tab. Click on and uncheck any items you want to keep (except you cannot uncheck Chrome and Firefox preferences lines).


Close all open programs and shut down any protection/security software to avoid potential conflicts.

3. Double-click on JRT.exe to run the tool.
Vista/Windows 7/8 users right-click and select Run As Administrator.
  • The tool will open and start scanning your system.
  • Please be patient as this can take a while to complete depending on your system's specifications.
  • On completion, a log file named JRT.txt will automatically open and be saved to your Desktop.
  • Copy and paste the contents of JRT.txt in your next reply.
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4. As a final step, download, install and perform a THREAT SCAN with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 2.0.
Be sure to print out and follow these instructions. When done, please post the complete results of your Malwarebytes scan for review.

To retrieve the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 2.0 scan log information (Method 1)
  • Open Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
  • Click the History Tab at the top and select Application Logs.
  • Select (check) the box next to Scan Log. Choose the most current scan.
  • Click the View button.
  • Click Copy to Clipboard at the bottom...come back to this thread, click Add Reply, then right-click and choose Paste.
  • Alternatively, you can click Export and save the log as a .txt file on your Desktop or another location.
To retrieve the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 2.0 scan log information (Method 2)
  • Open Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
  • Click the Scan Tab at the top.
  • Click the View detailed log link on the right.
  • Click Copy to Clipboard at the bottom...come back to this thread, click Add Reply, then right-click and choose Paste.
  • Alternatively, you can click Export and save the log as a .txt file on your Desktop or another location.
-- Be sure to post the complete log to include the top portion which shows MBAM's database version and your operating system.
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#13 saluqi

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 12:51 PM

I will do as recommended.  I am familiar with all these tools and have used them before.  Have been using MBAM for years now.

 

In the meantime, and before doing so, I have installed the MVPS "hosts" file and hey presto! all the obnoxious ads are gone.  I did not even have to tweak Windows Defender or the DNS setting (I suppose because I am using Avast! Internet Security and Windows Defender is therefore switched off?)

 

I should add that I'm not at all "wedded" to that Earthlink home page (I will be dropping Earthlink anyway, as soon as I find an alternative host for my Web sites) and really use it mainly for the AP news feed, which is surely available elsewhere.  At the moment my very voluminous E-mail (I am owner or moderator of a number of mailing lists) is conducted in Outlook Express (!!!) but as soon as I can find time I will be converting that into a Win 8 compatible mail format.  I suppose that means either Outlook or Windows Live Mail?  I have enormous mail archives including a lot of unique and irreplaceable photos and other attachments.  I will have to convert all that to a Win 8 compatible format.  Recommendations welcome!!!



#14 saluqi

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 09:04 PM

OK, here are the requested logs.  I didn't remove the files and registry keys indicated by AdwCleaner, because I wasn't sure and wanted to ask (after all I did just pay $40 for the driver updater) but JRT got all but one of them anyway <G>.

 

I could not find rkill.log, but to the best of my recollection it found nothing.

 

AdwCleaner log:

# AdwCleaner v3.212 - Report created 07/06/2014 at 17:53:54
# Updated 05/06/2014 by Xplode
# Operating System : Windows 8  (64 bits)
# Username : Jphn - JOHNS-LAPTOP
# Running from : C:\Users\Jphn\Downloads\AdwCleaner.exe
# Option : Scan
 
***** [ Services ] *****
 
 
***** [ Files / Folders ] *****
 
File Found : C:\Windows\System32\Tasks\driverupdate startup
File Found : C:\Windows\Tasks\driverupdate startup.job
 
***** [ Shortcuts ] *****
 
 
***** [ Registry ] *****
 
Key Found : HKLM\SOFTWARE\Classes\protector_dll.protectorbho
Key Found : HKLM\SOFTWARE\Classes\protector_dll.protectorbho.1
 
***** [ Browsers ] *****
 
-\\ Internet Explorer v10.0.9200.16537
 
 
-\\ Google Chrome v35.0.1916.114
 
[ File : C:\Users\Jphn\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\preferences ]
 
 
*************************
 
AdwCleaner[R0].txt - [842 octets] - [07/06/2014 17:53:54]
 
########## EOF - C:\AdwCleaner\AdwCleaner[R0].txt - [901 octets] ##########
 

 

JRT log:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~lean
Junkware Removal Tool (JRT) by Thisisu
Version: 6.1.4 (04.06.2014:1)
OS: Windows 8 x64
Ran by Jphn on Sat 06/07/2014 at 17:58:16.98
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
 
 
 
~~~ Services
 
 
 
~~~ Registry Values
 
 
 
~~~ Registry Keys
 
Successfully deleted: [Registry Key] HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\protector_dll.protectorbho
Successfully deleted: [Registry Key] HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\protector_dll.protectorbho.1
 
 
 
~~~ Files
 
Successfully deleted: [File] "C:\Windows\Tasks\driverupdate startup.job"
 
 
 
~~~ Folders
 
 
 
~~~ Event Viewer Logs were cleared
 
 
 
 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Scan was completed on Sat 06/07/2014 at 18:03:59.09
End of JRT log
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
I will now run a MBAM scan and post the results in the next message.


#15 quietman7

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 09:13 PM

The MVPS hosts file is very good for blocking ads, banners and third-party cookies but it is not a cure all solution. I still would recommend using it along with other preventive measures/resources noted in my previous reply (Post #3).

As for your email issue and recommendations, I suggest you start a new topic in the Web Browsing/Email and Other Internet Applications forum...this one is only for assistance with malware related issues.
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