https works, http does not

Posted on 2009-05-01
Last Modified: 2013-12-08
A friend of mine got infected with antispiware 2009 (I believe that is the name) .. I walked her through downloading some anti-spyware tools, the one that eventually did remove it was malwarebytes ..

After a reboot, the malicious software was gone, but now she has a very unusual problem ..if she tries to use any site that is non-secure, the browser displays a message saying that the page could not be displayed .. if using https, the page loads just fine.. she's running IE7 and I've walked her through resetting it back to defaults, which disables any third party addons .. I also had her check her hosts file and we did find some rogue entries from her infection that I walked her through removing ..

When she pings google the IP address is valid ..

I'm now at a loss, and unfortunately it's remote so I'm helping via text message :) which isn't easy to do .. I have the ie8 installation file setup on a secured link for her, but I wanted to run this by the group first to see if anyone has any knowledge on this ..

Another strange thing, sometimes when she enters an address, the address bar displays nothing but "http:///" .. three slashes, and the site name is gone..
Question by:riven1128
    LVL 9

    Expert Comment

    Sounds like the malware tempered with her winsock. See if gets you anywhere.

    What OS is she running and is this problem only occuring in internet explorer or are other browsers or applications that open http connections affected too?

    Author Comment

    She's running windows xp with the latest updates, and only has IE7 .. no other browsers installed, and nothing else seems affected.

    I can have her try the winsock thing, but that seems unlikely, it's only https that is the issue apparently, and the http:/// three slash part is just odd ..  I would only resort to the winsock fix as a last resort.
    LVL 50

    Expert Comment

    riven1128--Is AVG antivirus installed?  The AVG version available last autumn caused this exact problem.  Installing a current version might fix things.  But in any event uninstall the current AVG.
    Concerning http:/// , three slashes  usually indicates the address of a FILE on the hard drive, but then it should show as FILE:///

    Author Comment

    Interesting... she doesn't have AVG installed at home, but has installed some anti-spyware tools, I told her to try removing those..
    LVL 50

    Expert Comment

    riven1128--The reason I mention AVG is in this earlier thread (see last post which links to a now non-existent AVG site).
    But that thread has lots of other ideas you may want to consider.

    Accepted Solution

    The problem ended up being very silly indeed..

    I did have her reset IE back to factory defaults, but it didn't reset everything.. on a haunch I thought to have her check her proxy settings ... https bypasses the proxy ..

    That was it .. her proxy was set to .. no doubt by the malware ... the proxy setting was disabled and now it works, the silliest things are always checked last ..

    Thanks for the effort!

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