How to remove StopingSpy (Removal Instructions)

  • February 26, 2008

StopingSpy is a rogue anti-spyware program that is part of the SpyShredder family. This family of rogue applications are aggressively advertised on the web with false information, false reviews, and misleading popups. Once installed, StopingSpy will scan your computer and list a variety of problems that can not be removed unless you first purchase a license of the software. Having to pay for a software to remove an infection is not an issue, but it becomes a problem when the results are all exaggerated or outright false. For example, StopingSpy lists a variety of files as the Complexel Trojan. All of these infections, though, are legitimate Microsoft files and are only being shown to scare you into purchasing StopingSpy. As you can see from the screen shot below, StopingSpy is labeling the file C:\WINDOWS\$hf_mig$\KB927779\update as a Trojan when in fact it is a security update for Microsoft Windows.

Screen shots of StopingSpy and a false positive are shown below:

 

StopingSpy Screenshot
StopingSpy Screenshot

 

StopingSpy False Positives
StopingSpy False Positives

 

 

This guide will walk you through removing the StopingSpy program.

Self Help Guide

This guide contains advanced information, but has been written in such a way so that anyone can follow it. Please ensure your data is backed up before proceeding.

If you are uncomfortable making changes to your computer or following these steps, do not worry! Instead you can get free one-on-one help by asking in the forums.

To remove StopingSpy, follow these steps:

1

This removal guide may appear overwhelming due to the amount of the steps and numerous programs that will be used. It was only written this way to provide clear, detailed, and easy to understand instructions that anyone can use to remove this infection for free. Before using this guide, we suggest that you read it once and download all necessary tools to your desktop. After doing so, please print this page as you may need to close your browser window or reboot your computer.

2

To terminate any programs that may interfere with the removal process we must first download the Rkill program. Rkill will search your computer for active malware infections and attempt to terminate them so that they wont interfere with the removal process. To do this, please download RKill to your desktop from the following link.

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Rkill

When at the download page, click on the Download Now button labeled iExplore.exe. When you are prompted where to save it, please save it on your desktop.

3

Once it is downloaded, double-click on the iExplore.exe icon in order to automatically attempt to stop any processes associated with StopingSpy and other malware. Please be patient while the program looks for various malware programs and ends them. When it has finished, the black window will automatically close and a log file will open. Please review the log file and then close so you can continue with the next step. If you have problems running RKill, you can download the other renamed versions of RKill from the rkill download page. All of the files are renamed copies of RKill, which you can try instead. Please note that the download page will open in a new browser window or tab.

Do not reboot your computer after running RKill as the malware programs will start again.

4

Now you should download HitmanPro from the following location and save it to your desktop:

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HitmanPro

When you visit the above page, please download the version that corresponds to the bit-type of the Windows version you are using.

5

Once downloaded, double-click on the file named HitmanPro.exe (for 32-bit versions of Windows) or HitmanPro_x64.exe (for 64-bit versions of Windows). When the program starts you will be presented with the start screen as shown below.

HitmanPro Start Screen

Now click on the Next button to continue with the scan process.

6

You will now be at the HitmanPro setup screen. If you would like to install the 30 day trial for HitmanPro, select the Yes, create a copy of HitmanPro so I can regularly scan this computer (recommended) option. Otherwise, if you just want to scan the computer this one time, please select the No, I only want to perform a one-time scan to check this computer option.

Kickstart Setup Options

Once you have selected one of the options, please click on the Next button.

7

HitmanPro will now begin to scan your computer for infections, adware, and potentially unwanted programs. When it has finished it will display a list of all the items that Hitman has found as shown in the image below. Please note that the items found may be different than what is shown in the image.

MalwareBytes Scan Results

You should now click on the Next button to have HitmanPro remove the detected items. When it is done you will be shown a Removal Results screen that shows the status of the various programs that were removed. At this screen you should click on the Next button and then if prompted you should click on the Reboot button. If HitmanPro does not prompt you to reboot, please just click on the Close button.

Once your computer has has restarted or you pressed the Close button, you should now be at your Windows desktop.

8

Now please download AdwCleaner and save it to your desktop. AdwCleaner will scan your computer for adware programs that may have been installed on your computer without your knowledge. You can download AdwCleaner from the following URL:

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AdwCleaner
9

When AdwCleaner has finished downloading, please double-click on the AdwCleaner.exe icon that now appears on your desktop. Once you double-click on the icon the AdwCleaner program will open and you will be presented with the program's license agreement. After you read it, click on the I agree button if you wish to continue. Otherwise, click on the I disagree button to close the program. If Windows prompts you as to whether or not you wish to run AdwCleaner, please allow it to run.

If you selected to continue, you will be presented with the start screen as shown below.

AdwCleaner Start Screen

10

Now click on the Scan button in AdwCleaner. The program will now start to search for known adware programs that may be installed on your computer. When it has finished it will display all of the items it has found in Results section of the screen above. Please look through the results and try to determine if the programs that are listed contain ones that you do not want installed. If you find programs that you need to keep, then uncheck the entries associated with them.

For many people, the contents of the Results section may appear confusing. Unless you see a program name that you know should not be removed,please continue with the next step.

11

To remove the adware programs that were detected in the previous step, please click on the Clean button on the AdwCleaner screen. AdwCleaner will now prompt you to save any open files or data as the program will need to close any open programs before it starts to clean.

Please save your work and then click on the OK button. AdwCleaner will now delete all detected adware from your computer. When it is done it will display an alert that explains what PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) and Adware are. Please read through this information and then press the OK button. You will now be presented with an alert that states AdwCleaner needs to reboot your computer.

AdwCleaner Reboot Prompt

Please click on the OK button to let AdwCleaner reboot your computer.

12

When your computer reboots and you are logged in, AdwCleaner will automatically open a log file that contains the files, registry keys, and programs that were removed from your computer.

AdwCleaner Log

Please review this log file and then close the Notepad Window.

13

Finally, StopingSpy also changes your DNS servers from your normal ISP's servers to ones that are under their own control. In order to regain full control of your computer we will need to change your Windows configuration so that you automatically receive the proper DNS servers from your Internet Service Provider. To do this, please follow the steps below that correspond to your version of Windows:

Windows 7 & Windows 8

From the Windows 8 Start Screen type network connections and click on the View Network Connections search result that appears. This will open the Network Connections screen that shows all of your network adapters. Right-click on your active network adapter, which is typically called Ethernet, Local Area Network, or Wireless, and select Properties. In the middle of the properties dialog box look for Internet Protocal Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and double-click on it. When the properties box opens, select the Obtain DNS Server Address automatically option under the General tab. When you are done, keep clicking on the OK buttons until you are out of the properties screen. You can then close the Network Connections window that was opened.

Windows Vista

In the search field of the Start Menu type network and then click on the Network and Sharing Center search result when it appears. When the Network and Sharing Center window opens, click on the Manage network connections link in the navigation bar on the left. This will open a screen showing all of your network adapters. Right-click on your active network adapter, which is typically called Local Area Connection or Wireless, and select Properties. In the middle of the properties dialog box look for Internet Protocal Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and double-click on it. When the properties box opens, select the Obtain DNS Server Address automatically option under the General tab. When you are done, keep clicking on the OK buttons until you are out of the properties screen. You can then close the Network and Sharing center window that was opened.

Windows XP

Click on the Start button and then click on the Run option. In the Open: field type ncpa.cpl and press the OK button. This will open the Network Connections screen that shows all of your network adapters. Right-click on your active network adapter, which is typically called Ethernet, Local Area Network, or Wireless, and select Properties. In the middle of the properties dialog box look for Internet Protocal (TCP/IP) and double-click on it. When the properties box opens, select the Obtain DNS Server Address automatically option under the General tab. When you are done, keep clicking on the OK buttons until you are out of the properties screen. You can then close the Network Connections window that was opened.

14

As many malware and unwanted programs are installed through vulnerabilities found in out-dated and insecure programs, it is strongly suggested that you use Secunia PSI to scan for vulnerable programs on your computer. A tutorial on how to use Secunia PSI to scan for vulnerable programs can be found here:

How to detect vulnerable and out-dated programs using Secunia Personal Software Inspector

Your computer should now be free of the StopingSpy program. If your current security solution allowed this program on your computer, you may want to consider purchasing the full-featured version of HitmanPro to protect against these types of threats in the future.

If you are still having problems with your computer after completing these instructions, then please follow the steps outlined in the topic linked below:

Preparation Guide For Use Before Using Malware Removal Tools and Requesting Help

Are Your Protected?

While HitmanPro will scan and clean a computer for free, the free versions do not offer real-time protection. If you want to be fully protected at all times then it is recommended that you purchase a premium version.

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HitmanPro

Purchase the full-featured version of HitmanPro, which includes discover viruses, trojans, rootkits, spyware and other malware on up-to-date and fully protected computers using cloud protection and behavioral detections, to protect yourself against these types of threats in the future!

Disclaimer: While we do earn a commission from the sale of the above products, rest assured we only recommend them due to their effectiveness.

This is a self-help guide. Use at your own risk.

BleepingComputer.com can not be held responsible for problems that may occur by using this information. If you would like help with any of these fixes, you can ask for malware removal assistance in our Virus,Trojan,Spyware, and Malware Removal Logs forum.

If you have any questions about this self-help guide then please post those questions in our Am I infected? What do I do? and someone will help you.

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