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MSN.com opens upon plugging in ethernet, software bug? virus? or network issue?


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#1 rp88

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Posted 25 April 2016 - 02:33 PM

Something freaky just happened on my HP laptop running windows 8.1. I had just turned the thing on, it had been on a few times in the last few weeks but it hasn't been connected online at all since the 1st of the month. I was turning it on today to update all it's programs/OS then upload a few files from it into google drive for accessing from another computer later.


Anyway, it turned on fine, I logged on the normal way and did nothing else with it for a few minutes as I had other things to do in the room, I came back to it and pugged in the ethernet to connect and perform some updates (I planned to do these before opening the browser) but when I inserted my ethernet cable firefox (my default browser) just suddenly opened (as soon as the little yellow triangle had gone from the flight mode/connected by wire/disconnected icon in the system tray firefox was opening. It went to the following URL, which appears a genuine URL, http://www.msn.com/en-gb/?ocid=wispr .

I have done some searching on google trying to find others having this issue and some say they've had something similar but on startup, not upon connecting to the internet several minutes after logging into the computer. Others discuss an occurrence a bit like this but with windows server 2012 not with windows 8.1. The lin below discusses it but is by someone using server 2012 and happened at log on not when he connected, but for all one knows his system could have been permanently plugged into ethernet/wifi. http://serverfault.com/questions/695874/default-browser-opens-to-msn-com-when-logging-into-windows-server

The ethernet cable had been in another computer of mine a few minutes before I plugged it into the computer on which this effect happened, with that computer had browsed to a few websites (not msn) and opened some articles to read then took the ethernet cable out of that machine, left it several minutes and then put it into the machine where msn opened so strangely.

I've checked the computer for viruses with malwarebytes and avast, no detections.

I've checked it's startups and scheduled tasks in task manager and CCleaner, found nothing which would seem likely to open msn upon connecting to the internet.

I've done the updates on the machine and hence I've restarted t a few times and connected to the internet a few times since, none of these times has firefox sprang strangely open upon inserting the ethernet cable.

I've never seen this happen before on any computer of mine, but maybe the ISP has changed something within their network in the last month and that caused this strange thing to happen when the HP machine went online for the first time in several weeks, but if that were the case I'd expect t have seen it on my other machine on atleast one occasion.

Any thoughts what's happened here? Is it something to worry about, a symptom of a virus or a symptom of something breaching the firewall the moment I connected or something? Or is this just a benign software bug, or something harmless caused by my ISP changing their network or something?

P.S. Note, the way my isp works is one literally just plugs in the ethernet cable to a wall socket at one end and one's computer at the other. There's no router as such, I don't have any network equipment of that kind, I think the ISP has all that tucked away in a room somewhere in the building (block of flats). If you think what happened might be something to do with the ISP then this might be of help to you, if you think this event was a software bug or some kind of malware attack then it might not be of relevance.

Thanks

Edited by rp88, 25 April 2016 - 02:37 PM.


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#2 dc3

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 10:09 AM

Try the 3 troubleshooting options at this Microsoft website.


Edited by dc3, 26 April 2016 - 10:10 AM.

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On April 26, 2017 I had surgery on my right shoulder.  I have been reduced to one finger typing which makes responding to topics an exercise in frustration.  Please understand and have patience.


#3 rp88

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 12:15 PM

Sorry, to clarify, my connection is working fine on that machine. I can surf the internet without issue, my anitvirus can connect to its servers to download updates...The "problem" is this bizarre opening of that particular page upon first insertion of the ethernet lead on any given day. Yes that's right, the first time I plug the ethernet lead in on any particular day I get this behaviour but I don't get it later the same day after disconnecting and reconnecting, nor does it happen again after restarts, only when I put the ethernet lead in for the first time on another day does this occur. At all times including these times of the weird site opening my connection works, but only on the first time I plug in my ethernet cable on any particular day does firefox open up automatically and navigate to MSN.

The page you linked to is about problems connecting in the first place, it doesn't have anything about "my browser automatically opens and navigates to a particular webpage the first time I connect". As for 3 troubleshooting options on it, there are loads of troubleshooters described, but all for issues unrelated to this one. What I really want to know is what's causing this thing to happen to me?

Edited by rp88, 28 April 2016 - 12:18 PM.


#4 rp88

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 09:02 AM

Any thoughts yet, whatever this is it's still happening. Thanks

#5 rp88

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Posted 07 May 2016 - 08:34 AM

Whatever this is it still seems to be happening with that computer. it never did it before so I'm trying to work out what changed to cause it, it happened BEFORE I made the updates that day so they weren't the cause. I hadn't changed any setting on anything between the previous time I used the machine and the time I used it and found this strange automatic webpage opening. I need to work out if this is a virus or something nasty like that, can anyone think of whether this is the sort of symptom a virus might cause, or whether anyone knows of non-viral causes for the phenomenon I've experienced here? Thanks

#6 dc3

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Posted 07 May 2016 - 09:45 AM

Look in the settings for your browser and see if MSN.Com is set as your homepage in your browser?


Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.

 

On April 26, 2017 I had surgery on my right shoulder.  I have been reduced to one finger typing which makes responding to topics an exercise in frustration.  Please understand and have patience.


#7 Guest_GNULINUX_*

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Posted 07 May 2016 - 10:13 AM

One of the links in your first post gives a (the) solution...

You can disable it via setting following registry entry from 1 to 0:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\NlaSvc\Parameters\Internet\EnableActiveProbing

As why it happens?
I suppose you block some M$ addresses...  :wink:
I'm going to take a guess: msftncsi.com? Unblock it if you don't want to change the registry entry!

More info: What do Microsoft and NCSI have in common?

 

Hope this helps!



#8 rp88

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 10:55 AM

Post#7
Could be that thanks for the tips. I never disabled this NCSI thing on purpose but maybe it was disabled by some background task or during an update or something.The article is helpful, but it doesn't seem to say how to re-enable the thing to work, only that I can use the registry edit to stop the system "wanting" to try to connect to this ncsi page.Maybe the ncsi thing is somehow being blocked by my network/isp but I doubt that as my other computer connects via the same method and has never had the browser spring open and navigate to msn's page upon connection of the ethernet cable.

Post#6
No msn is definitely not my homepage, and it's not like a homepage would cause the browser itself to automatically open, rather it would just control what page the browser went to when I decided to open it.

Would I be right in guessing therefore that this effect I've been seeing is just a bug with this ncsi thing and not some sort of virus symptom or anything really worrying?
Thanks

Edited by rp88, 14 May 2016 - 10:55 AM.


#9 Guest_GNULINUX_*

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 05:25 AM

Is http://www.msftncsi.com/ncsi.txt reachable from that machine?

It should give you a page with "Microsoft NCSI" on it...

 

Greets!



#10 rp88

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 01:18 PM

It might be a few days before I can check from that machine. Will post here when I do. If I can reach that URL when I type it into the browser what does that indicate? If I can't what does that indicate? I assume that given what has happened you expect it should not load when I try to reach it, and that if it does load then the weird automatic opening of the browser upon connecting the ethernet cable that I am experiencing is not due to the system being unable to make automatic connection to the ncsi page. Thanks

#11 Guest_GNULINUX_*

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 02:38 PM

Your assumption is correct!  :wink:

 

Greets!






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