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IE Home Page Keeps Changing

 
 
John Smith
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      09-19-2004
Hi
Each time I go to my home page it has changed to a company called
EZ-FINDER - is there a common solution to this or just the regular spyware
at work?
Have just run Spybot and it wasnt eliminated
Thanks
Stephen


 
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Jim Byrd
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      09-19-2004
Hi John - Yeah, malware - a variant of Cool Web Search, SBSoft/EZFinder.com
hijacker, that installs (at least in part) as a BHO. The basic bad file is
uns.dll. ToolbarCop, here: http://www.mvps.org/sramesh2k/toolbarcop.htm
may be enough to handle it (don't know how extensive it is). If not, here's
my standard CWS post which has the complete procedures:


Sounds like this might be a variant of some malware called CoolWebSearch (if
CWShredder doesn't fix it, then see AdAware, SpyBot, and HijackThis, below,
in that order). Do the following:


#########IMPORTANT#########
Before you try to remove spyware using any of the programs below, download
both a copy of LSPFIX here:

http://www.cexx.org/lspfix.htm

AND a copy of Winsockfix
http://www.tacktech.com/pub/winsockfix/WinsockFix.zip
Directions here: http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=257

The process of removing certain malware may kill your internet connection.
If this should occur, these programs, LSPFIX and WINSOCKFIX, will enable you
to regain your connection.

NOTE: It is reported that in XP SP2, the command netsh winsock reset
will fix this problem without the need for these programs.
#########IMPORTANT#########



#########IMPORTANT#########
All of the following removal tools should be run from Safe mode when
possible.Reboot and test if the malware is fixed after using each tool.
#########IMPORTANT#########


Download and run Stinger.exe, here:
http://download.nai.com/products/mca...rt/stinger.exe or from the link
on this page: http://vil.nai.com/vil/stinger/


Download sysclean.com , from Trend Micro, here:
http://www.trendmicro.com/download/dcs.asp along with the latest pattern
file, here: http://www.trendmicro.com/download/pattern.asp Be sure to read
the "How-to" info here:
http://www.trendmicro.com/ftp/products/tsc/readme.txt (You might also want
to get Art's updater, SYS-UP.Zip, here for future updating of these:
http://home.epix.net/~artnpeg/). (If you download and use the updater from
the beginning, it will automatically handle downloading the other files.)
Place them in a dedicated folder after appropriate unzipping, and then run.
This scan may take a long time, as Sysclean is VERY extensive and thorough.


Sometimes the tools below will find files which they are unable to delete
because they are in use. A program called Copylock, here,
http://noeld.com/programs.asp?cat=misc#CopyLock can aid in the process of
"replacing, moving, renaming or deleting one or many files which are
currently in use (e.g. system files like comctl32.dll, or virus/trojan
files.)" Another is Killbox, here:
http://download.broadbandmedic.com/Killbox.exe


Download, UPDATE before running, and run:
http://209.133.47.200/~merijn/files/CWShredder.exe or here:
http://hem.bredband.net/b157129/f/cwshredder.zip or here:
http://www.softpedia.com/public/scri...ero/10-17-150/ or here:
http://www.zerosrealm.com/downloads/CWShredder.zip
to remove the parasite. Be sure to close all instances of IE and OE.


There's a good tutorial about CWS and using CWShredder here:
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/foru...rial=47#domain

BE SURE that you get v.1.59.0.1 or later!

You will need to show Hidden files first and then at the end clear the
malware garbage from your System Restore backups after you've cleaned up.
It's best to perform CWShredder (and most other malware fixers too) from
Safe mode and then reboot. AFTER cleaning things up, then you can disable
and then re-enable System Restore. See ******** below.

The following links give instructions on how to do these various functions:


HOW TO Restart in Safe Mode
http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT...01052409420406

HOW TO Enable Hidden Files
http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT...02092715262339

HOW TO Disable/Flush System Restore (do this at the end AFTER cleaning or
use the suggested procedure for XP at the ******'s)
http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT...01111912274039
(WinXP)
http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT...01012513122239
(WinME)



Then download and run:
http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/regs.../iegentabs.reg to restore your
tabs and remove any restrictions that the parasite has put in place.

Now download and run:
http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/regs...oreSearch2.REG to restore
your search functions if they've been affected (as they probably will have
been).


Be sure that you also download and install hotfix Q816093, here:

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=816093

which blocks the exploit upon which this parasite family depends.



However, this also indicates that you may have acquired some other malware
along the way. If you go to this page at Jim Eshelman's site, here:
http://aumha.org/a/noads.htm and wait a little bit (be patient), an analysis
of a number of possible parasites on your machine will be made to help you
identify and remove them. NOTE: You will need to disable Ad Blocking in Zone
Alarm 3.x or later, if present or any other Ad Blocking software which
interferes with Java Scripting for this scan to work. You should get a
message between the two lines of **** giving the results of the scan.

Get Ad-Aware SE Personal Edition, here:
http://www.lavasoftusa.com/support/download/. UPDATE, set it up in
accordance with this: http://forum.aumha.org/viewtopic.php?t=5877 or the
directions immediately below and run this regularly to get rid of most
"spyware/hijackware" on your machine. If it has to fix things, be sure to
re-boot and rerun AdAware again and repeat this cycle until you get a clean
scan. The reason is that it may have to remove things which are currently
"in use" before it can then clean up others. Configure Ad-aware for a
customized scan, and let it remove any bad files found.....

<Begin Setup Directions>
Then, courtesy of NonSuch at Lockergnome, open Ad-aware then click the gear
wheel at the top and check these options to configure Ad-aware for a
customized scan:

General> activate these: "Automatically save log-file" and "Automatically
quarantine objects prior to removal"

Scanning > activate these: "Scan within archives", "Scan active processes",
"Scan registry", "Deep scan registry," "Scan my IE Favorites for banned
sites," and "Scan my Hosts file"

Tweaks > Scanning Engine> activate this: "Unload recognized processes during
scanning."

Tweaks > Cleaning Engine: activate these: "Automatically try to unregister
objects prior to deletion" and "Let Windows remove files in use after
reboot."

Click "Proceed" to save your settings, then click "Start." Make sure
"Activate in-depth scan" is ticked green, then scan your system. When the
scan is finished, the screen will tell you if anything has been found, click
"Next." The bad files will be listed. Right click the pane and click "Select
all objects" - This will put a check mark in the box at the side, click
"Next" again and click "OK" at the prompt "# objects will be removed.
Continue?"
<End Setup Directions>

Courtesy of http://www.nondisputandum.com/html/anti_spyware.html: HINT: If
Ad Aware is automatically shut-down by a malicious software, first run
AWCloak.exe, http://www.lavasoftnews.com/downloads/AAWCloak.exe, before
opening Ad Aware. When AAWCloak is open, click “Activate Cloak”. Than open
Ad Aware and scan your system.


Another excellent program for this purpose is SpyBot Search and Destroy
available here: http://security.kolla.de/ SpyBot Support Forum here:
http://www.net-integration.net/cgi-b.../ikonboard.cgi. I recommend
using both normally. After UPDATING and fixing ONLY RED things with SpyBot
S&D, be sure to re-boot and rerun SpyBot again and repeat this cycle until
you get a clean "no red" scan. The reason is that SpyBot sometimes has to
remove things which are currently "in use" before it can then clean up
others.

Note that sometimes you need to make a judgement call about what these
programs report as spyware. See here, for example:
http://www.imilly.com/alexa.htm

Both of these programs should normally be UPDATED and run after doing any
other fix such as CWShredder and, as a minimum, normally at least once a
week.



If they don't fix it then start here:

Download HijackThis, free, here:
http://209.133.47.200/~merijn/files/HijackThis.exe (Always download a new
fresh copy of HijackThis [and CWShredder also] - It's UPDATED frequently.)
You may also get it here if that link is blocked:
http://www.majorgeeks.com/downloadge...8baee6434cfc13
or here: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/file...hijackthis.zip

There's a good "How-to-Use" tutorial here:
http://computercops.biz/HijackThis.html

In Windows Explorer, click on Tools|Folder Options|View and check "Show
hidden files and folders" and uncheck "Hide protected operating system
files". (You may want to restore these when you're all finished with
HijackThis.)

Place HijackThis.exe or unzip HijackThis.zip into its own dedicated folder
at the root level such as C:\HijackThis (NOT in a Temp folder or on your
Desktop), reboot to Safe mode, start HT (have ONLY HT running - IE MUST be
closed) then press Scan. Click on SaveLog when it's finished which will
create hijackthis.log. Now click the Config button, then Misc Tools and
click on Generate StartupList.log which will create Startuplist.txt

Then go to one of the following forums:

Spyware and Hijackware Removal Support, here:
http://forums.spywareinfo.com/

or Net-Integration here:
http://www.net-integration.net/cgi-b...ST;f=27;t=6949

or Tom Coyote here: http://forums.tomcoyote.org/index.php?act=idx
or Jim Eshelman's site here: http://forum.aumha.org/
or Bleepingcomputer here: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/
or Computer Cops here: http://www.computercops.biz/forums.html



Register if necessary, then sign in and READ THE DIRECTIONS at the beginning
of the particular site's HiJackThis forum, then copy and paste both files
into a message asking for assistance, Someone will answer with detailed
instructions for the removal of your parasite(s). Be sure you include at
the beginning of your post a description of "What specific
problem(s)/symptoms you're trying to solve" and "What steps you've already
taken."


*******
ONLY IF you've successfully eliminated the malware, you can now make a new,
clean Restore Point and delete any previously saved (possibly infected)
ones. The following suggested approach is courtesy of Gary Woodruff: For XP
you can run a Disk Cleanup cycle and then look in the More Options tab. The
System Restore option removes all but the latest Restore Point. If there
hasn't been one made since the system was cleaned you should manually create
one before dumping the old possibly infected ones.
*******


Once you get this cleaned up, you might want to consider installing Eric
Howes' IESpyAds, SpywareBlaster and SpywareGuard here to help prevent this
kind of thing from happening in the future:

IESpyads - https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/ehowes/www/resource.htm "IE-SPYAD adds
a long list of sites and domains associated with known advertisers,
marketers, and crapware pushers to the Restricted sites zone of Internet
Explorer. Once you merge this list of sites and domains into the Registry,
the web sites for these companies will not be able to use cookies, ActiveX
controls, Java applets, or scripting to compromise your privacy or your PC
while you surf the Net. Nor will they be able to use your browser to push
unwanted pop-ups, cookies, or auto-installing programs on your PC." Read
carefully.

http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html (Prevents malware Active
X installs) (BTW, SpyWareBlaster is not memory resident ... no CPU or memory
load - but keep it UPDATED) The latest version as of this writing will
prevent installation or prevent the malware from running if it is already
installed, and it provides information and fixit-links for a variety of
parasites.

http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareguard.html (Monitors for attempts to
install malware) Keep it UPDATED. All three Very Highly Recommended

Next, install and keep updated a good HOSTS file. It can help you avoid
most adware/malware. See here: http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm
(Be sure it's named/renamed HOSTS - all caps, no extension) Additional
tutorials here:
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/foru...howtutorial=51
(detailed) and here: http://www.spywarewarrior.com/viewtopic.php?t=410
(overview)


Finally, go to Windows Update and ensure that ALL Critical updates are
installed.


--
Please respond in the same thread.
Regards, Jim Byrd, MS-MVP



In news:cTn3d.36437$(E-Mail Removed),
John Smith <(E-Mail Removed)> typed:
> Hi
> Each time I go to my home page it has changed to a company called
> EZ-FINDER - is there a common solution to this or just the regular
> spyware at work?
> Have just run Spybot and it wasnt eliminated
> Thanks
> Stephen


 
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