IE Home Page Keeps Changing

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by John Smith, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. John Smith

    John Smith Guest

    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
    John Smith, Sep 19, 2004
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  2. John Smith

    Jim Byrd Guest

    Hi John - Yeah, malware - a variant of Cool Web Search, SBSoft/
    hijacker, that installs (at least in part) as a BHO. The basic bad file is
    uns.dll. ToolbarCop, here:
    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:

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

    AND a copy of Winsockfix
    Directions here:

    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.

    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.

    Download and run Stinger.exe, here: or from the link
    on this page:

    Download , from Trend Micro, here: along with the latest pattern
    file, here: Be sure to read
    the "How-to" info here: (You might also want
    to get Art's updater, SYS-UP.Zip, here for future updating of these: (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, 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:

    Download, UPDATE before running, and run: or here: or here: or here:
    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:

    BE SURE that you get v. 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

    HOW TO Enable Hidden Files

    HOW TO Disable/Flush System Restore (do this at the end AFTER cleaning or
    use the suggested procedure for XP at the ******'s)

    Then download and run: to restore your
    tabs and remove any restrictions that the parasite has put in place.

    Now download and run: to restore
    your search functions if they've been affected (as they probably will have

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

    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: 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: UPDATE, set it up in
    accordance with this: 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

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

    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.
    <End Setup Directions>

    Courtesy of HINT: If
    Ad Aware is automatically shut-down by a malicious software, first run
    AWCloak.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: SpyBot Support Forum here: 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

    Note that sometimes you need to make a judgement call about what these
    programs report as spyware. See here, for example:

    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

    If they don't fix it then start here:

    Download HijackThis, free, here: (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:
    or here:

    There's a good "How-to-Use" tutorial here:

    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

    Place HijackThis.exe or unzip 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:

    or Net-Integration here:;act=ST;f=27;t=6949

    or Tom Coyote here:
    or Jim Eshelman's site here:
    or Bleepingcomputer here:
    or Computer Cops here:

    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

    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 - "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. (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. (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:
    (Be sure it's named/renamed HOSTS - all caps, no extension) Additional
    tutorials here:
    (detailed) and here:

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

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

    In news:cTn3d.36437$,
    John Smith <> 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
    Jim Byrd, Sep 19, 2004
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