MindSpark PUP how do I get rid of it?

Posted on 2015-02-22
Last Modified: 2015-03-03
Toshiba Portégé R705 Laptop
Windows 7 Home Premium, Service Pack 1, 64-bit
Intel Core i3 processor, M 370  @ 2.40 Ghz 2.40 Ghz
4 GB installed memory (3.73 GB usable)

User received a message from xFinity that his laptop may be infected with a bot.

User’s laptop could not download files from either Google Chrome (latest version) or Internet Explorer Version 11. Laptop was using Microsoft Essentials for virus protection.

Programs that required updates through the internet functioned properly.

Laptop was running slow so I ran CCleaner setup from my flash card. I deleted files and cleaned the registry.

Deleted the following programs: Ask Toolbar,  and Juniper, and Skype
Unable to delete Billing Edge, Quicken WillMaker 2008, Sigma Flow, One-Click Skype and Kaspersky Pure 2.0.  (All gave uninstall errors.)

Ran ComboFix, TDSS Killer, JunkwareRemoval Tool, Malware Bytes, and Rogue Killer. Still had the same problem, no change.

I removed Microsoft Essentials and installed AVG Internet 2015.

I restored the computer to a 1/25/2015 date. Interestingly the next available restore point after that was from 2013.

Ran the same sequence of virus removal tools. Used CCleaner to cleanup the registry and did a Restart. No change.

I installed and ran SpyHunter but it only found to adware programs which track internet activity.

Based on the log files I assumed I was dealing with one of the Mindspark [PUP] viruses, so I also ran ADW Cleaner and Hitman-Pro 64 bit. Neither of these two programs found any viruses.

I am moderately capable of PC troubleshooting personal computers. Since my last job was at a church, I haven’t taken any Microsoft classes since Windows NT server.

I did edit the registry several times. I removed Kaspersky 2.0, One Click Skype and SonicFlow references. Each time I was careful to back up the registry before-hand and afterward ran a CCleaner registry sweep and either a Restart or Shutdown afterword.

Somewhere in the middle of all this I deleted and re-installed Google Chrome but did not go through the registry to eliminate Google Chrome references. I’ve done nothing with Internet Explorer because the last time I tried to delete and reinstall IE I booted to a black monitor and had to repair the problem.

I installed Mozilla Firefox from a flash drive and I am able to download files but was unable to run the application. Message: These files can’t be opened Your Internet security settings prevented one or more files from being opened.

I removed AVG and re-activited Windows Defender.

Still can’t install exe files, and I followed  instructions to change Defender’s security but these didn’t work.

I probably did some things that I have listed, but I am out of ideas. So my question is “Can anyone help?”.
Question by:Mary Bock
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LVL 77

Expert Comment

ID: 40624985
Check internet options control panel, connection, Ian to make sure there was no worm/virus that set itself as the proxy which would..

Are you able to create a new user, and login as that user to see whether the issue is profile limited.

You've made too many things before identifying an issue that might explain the situation.
Younghv, who has an article on fighting might disagree again, but given you tried everything else, booting in safe mode and checking the system would be one thing to consider.

For future troubleshooting guide would be first to inquire approximately  when the issue arose.
 Then looking at the program (appwiz.cpl) to see what was installed around that time.  Have seen an application/media codec or a player the user though they were downloading and installing from a reputable source was actually loaded with malware, etc. removing applications  back to those dates helps.

C:\windows\prefetch clear all the .pf files from here.
Look at the taskmanager (tasklist) to see what is running and terminating process that do not seem "right"
LVL 91

Expert Comment

ID: 40625194

Author Comment

by:Mary Bock
ID: 40626778

I had already checked Internet Options under Control Panel. I did add BleepingComputers to the Local Intranet.  I created a new user and had no problems, so the problem is in the laptop's owners user id's profile.

I ran all removal programs under Safe Mode.  I deleted the .pf files. Afterwards the results were the same.  I downloaded JRT from BleepingComputers. I can download the file but cannot execute the program. Still getting "Files cannot be opened" message.

I ran ADWCleaner in Safe Mode. Found a problem and deleted. Did not resolve the problem. Same error message

The user vague about when the problem first occurred, just said he had been having trouble for a couple months, it was the email from xFinity that made him contact me.
LVL 77

Accepted Solution

arnold earned 167 total points
ID: 40626808
Now that you've determined/confirmed the issue is with the profile, change the new user that you created as admin, and disable the old user after you copy the files from the old profile to the new profile.

%userprofile%\application data look for files that are referenced in registry to start
in the current user profile look at hkCU\software\microsoft\windows\currentversion\run to see what is there eliminating stuff that points to application data of the user.
There are multiple location where one has to search
LVL 91

Expert Comment

ID: 40627555
run hijackthis - and post the file here  :
Scale it in WD Gold

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Author Comment

by:Mary Bock
ID: 40629623
The creator of hijackthis is not taking log files while testing a new version. Where can I upload this? I have a login for Bleeping Computer but don't know the steps to have someone review the log.
LVL 91

Assisted Solution

nobus earned 333 total points
ID: 40630043
there seems to be a lot of problems with kaspersky total security - can you uninstall it - or reinstall it
Bad news - no trace of the popup
make a restore POINT before changing things - then :

in case you don't know this - you can delete this :

O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [BackupNowEZtray] "C:\Program Files (x86)\NTI\NTI Backup Now EZ\BackupNowEZtray.exe" -k

O16 - DPF: {F27237D7-93C8-44C2-AC6E-D6057B9A918F} (JuniperSetupClientControl Class) -

O23 - Service: @%SystemRoot%\system32\ieetwcollectorres.dll,-1000 (IEEtwCollectorService) - Unknown owner - C:\windows\system32\IEEtwCollector.exe (file missing)

O23 - Service: NTI BackupNowEZSvr - NTI Corporation - C:\Program Files (x86)\NTI\NTI Backup Now EZ\BackupNowEZSvr.exe

O23 - Service: @%SystemRoot%\system32\Wat\WatUX.exe,-601 (WatAdminSvc) - Unknown owner - C:\windows\system32\Wat\WatAdminSvc.exe (file missing)

you can also uninstall a couple of toolbars from skype &

Author Comment

by:Mary Bock
ID: 40631342
Here is a new HijackThis without Kapersky installed
LVL 91

Assisted Solution

nobus earned 333 total points
ID: 40632486
now i found  these :
O9 - Extra button: &Virtual Keyboard - {4248FE82-7FCB-46AC-B270-339F08212110} - (no file)

O9 - Extra button: URLs c&heck - {CCF151D8-D089-449F-A5A4-D9909053F20F} - (no file)
O16 - DPF: {F27237D7-93C8-44C2-AC6E-D6057B9A918F} -

O23 - Service: @%SystemRoot%\system32\ieetwcollectorres.dll,-1000 (IEEtwCollectorService) - Unknown owner - C:\windows\system32\IEEtwCollector.exe (file missing)

O23 - Service: NTI BackupNowEZSvr - NTI Corporation - C:\Program Files (x86)\NTI\NTI Backup Now EZ\BackupNowEZSvr.exe

O23 - Service: @%SystemRoot%\system32\Wat\WatUX.exe,-601 (WatAdminSvc) - Unknown owner - C:\windows\system32\Wat\WatAdminSvc.exe (file missing)

Assisted Solution

by:Mary Bock
Mary Bock earned 0 total points
ID: 40634243
Thank you both for your help. The user is using a new user name and all software he needs is loaded and operative. I think Microsoft Essentials failed to stop an infected download, but without knowing the program or time frame it makes it difficult to pinpoint the cause.

Personally, I would restore the laptop to it's shipped state and reload software as there only two main suites/program which are important. Everything else he does on his tablet. But I will have to wait until he is ready to do that as he was without his laptop for a week.

Author Closing Comment

by:Mary Bock
ID: 40641574
Unfortunately I couldn't have kept the laptop long enough to resolve the problem with the time I had to work on it. And in the process I've learned many things I didn't know.

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