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My browser searches are being hijacked by malware... HELP!!!

Posted on 2014-12-02
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Last Modified: 2014-12-11
Good day. When I do browser searches in Google or Yahoo my searches seem to be getting hijacked. There are icons all around the edge of browser page. I think it may be malware. It is very annoying and slows my computer down a great deal. I have McAfee Total Protection and ran a scan last night.  It took all night to run.  It found 8 "issues" which I quarantined. Some of them were named ad..something or other and PUP .. something or another.  I rebooted and tried a search and the same thing happened. I am truly ticked at McAfee as I thought that this protection software would take care of these types of issues.

I have seen malewarebytes and other products that promise to solve this issue but now I am gun-shy of trying anything.

Help me please!!!

Thank you
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Question by:pcwizz1
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:Spartan_1337
ID: 40476169
I would try Malwarebytes first, however if that fails you will have to try something stronger like Combofix.

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/combofix/how-to-use-combofix

Usually those browser hijacks won't remove so easy with just Malwarebytes.
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LVL 22

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plusone3055 earned 100 total points
ID: 40476185
the other thing you can try  is to do a system restore the day before you started having these problems.. 99 times out of 100 the rollback will eliminate the browser hijack :)
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LVL 26

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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
Thomas Zucker-Scharff earned 100 total points
ID: 40476247
System Restore is your friend.  If this isn't feasible for some reason, some malate will turn SR off thereby deleting all restore points, try SPYBHOREMOVER from securityxploded.com.

I also highly suggest chameleon from malwarebytes.org  (chameleon.malwarebytes.org). Run the svchost file in the chameleon directory .
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LVL 18

Assisted Solution

by:web_tracker
web_tracker earned 100 total points
ID: 40476404
Three other applications I commonly use to remove browser hijackers are adwarecleaner http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/adwcleaner/       Junk removal tool (JRT) http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/junkware-removal-tool/   and the final tool is Rogue killer,
http://www.adlice.com/softwares/roguekiller/

If the system restore as mentioned by previous experts does not resolve the problem, try the tools mentioned above.

what browser are you using? Internet Explorer, google chrome, or firefox? you only mention what search engine you are using. You may need to remove the tool bars or addon in the browser or reset the browser defaults. In order to tell you how to do this I need to know which browser you are using.
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Assisted Solution

by:Kevin Portell
Kevin Portell earned 100 total points
ID: 40476479
This could be a collection of malware. I personally hate McAfee. If this is on Windows I would suggest Microsoft Security Essentials. However a solid place to start is with the previous poster's suggestion of Malware Bytes: https://www.malwarebytes.org/lp/lp4/02_r/?gclid=CKaow63ip8ICFfIF7AodIggArg
You can totally use the free version.

Also check if your browser is using any malicious plugins:
Google Chrome: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/142064?hl=en
Internet Explorer: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/internet-explorer/manage-add-ons#ie=ie-11
Firefox: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/troubleshoot-issues-with-plugins-fix-problems
 
I would then suggest nCleaner :
http://www.nkprods.com/ncleaner/
These applications will clear the registry of any junk left over in your registry.
 
If these applications cannot run I would reboot Windows into Safe Mode. You can do this by:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/start-computer-safe-mode#start-computer-safe-mode=windows-7

Then if all else fails you can system Restore. You will not lose any files. However this solution does require a past backup point. For more information on this:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/products/features/system-restore

Let me know if that helps.
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Author Comment

by:pcwizz1
ID: 40477020
Thank you all for responding to my need...

I tried a previous restore point of more than 30 days ago. The restore process seemed to have gone well.  However. after I re-booted and opened my Google Chrome browser the problem was still there. I have 3 browsers.. Google Chrome. Firefox, and Internet Explorer.  I tend to use Google as my search engine no matter which browser I choose at the moment.

I again tried a search on each browser and the takeover surfaced it's ugly head on each one. I will try and see if there is some "extension" or toolbar loaded in each one that is causing this. However, because the problem seems to be global across the board for all my browsers I am not confident that this is the problem.

If the tool bar issue does not work I will begin the process of selecting the malware killers as mentioned by many of you.

Question, should I run the malware killers in Safe Mode or normal mode.?

Thanks
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:web_tracker
ID: 40477623
run them in full mode. Note the malwarebytes the free version does install an application but it does not protect you in the background it only removes the current infections it finds. This application works fine in conjunction with other antivirus applications. The paid version of the application will protect you in the background as well you can run manual scans to detect infections.
Rogue Killer, adwcleaner and JRT do not install an application on your computer you just run the application when ever you need it. So you don't have to worry about un-installing the application when it is no longer needed.
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LVL 6

Assisted Solution

by:Rob G
Rob G earned 100 total points
ID: 40479303
As eveyone else on here has all that covered... I would also suggest going forward to get a better AV. Using AVG free is better then McAfee, which is the company that came out with a Definition update and deleted all Intel NIC drivers a few years ago on a false positive and poorly written update. While i am sure i will get flack for it on here, i still think for the home user who doesn't know much Norton AV is the best.. For someone with intermediate skills, AVG Free, NOD32, Kasperski, and Avast are pretty good..

McAfee is terrible.. (Say it like Charles Barkley)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbRUTHGLu9s
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LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
ID: 40479408
I agree wholeheartedly that McAfee is terrible.  I stay away from AVG also - bad experience worth upgrades.  Symantec lost me when their software became a resource hog  (fixed, but I've moved on). MBA Pro is excellent especially when combined with something like Winpatrol Plus. NOD32 is also excellent.
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:web_tracker
ID: 40481161
I also dislike the McAfee products, but a number of internet service providers (ISP), are bundling they security packages with a McAfee based antivirus product so there are a lot of consumers who use this as their main sense of virus/malware protection, because it is offered free from their ISP. I try to discourage users not to use the security packages that their ISP offers them, because it is usually a resource hog and does not do a good job of protecting the user, and there is a possibility of false positives, causing havic on the users computer if the scanner removes something that is legitimate such as a driver for a piece of hardware that is install on the user's computer. McAfee pays big bucks to have ISP use their software. It is almost like an advertising gimmick.
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Author Comment

by:pcwizz1
ID: 40494517
Good afternoon everyone. I again thank you all for your most welcome and useful responses. I was mistaken when I previously posted that the restore did not work. Initially it did not seem that the restore worked. After I restated the system after the restore I had the same problem. I waited several days and started the system again with intentions of using some of the malware apps you all mentioned.  However... I gleefully found that in fact the issue was totally solved!! All was back to normal. I confess that I have no clue what changed but I am very grateful.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!
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