Web Browsers Start Page Hijacker

Posted on 2016-10-05
Last Modified: 2016-10-12
I have installed one of those free software which with one click and hard to see recommendation and agreements I ended up to a new start page (hijacked) of my browsers.
The unwanted page is 
I blocked it in the host file, but the browsers still redirect for that page when I start them.
I have the problem with internet explorer, firefox, chrome and opera.
I have tried all kind of cleaners and after some cleaning nothing could be detected anymore. Still I have the same problem.
I have rested the web browsers and only chrome is now clean.
How do I get rid of
What cleaners and methods do you recommend?
Cleaners used: MalwareBytes, Hitman Pro, SpyHunter, SuperAntiSpyware, AdwCleaner, Lavasoft Ad-Aware and other...
Question by:viki2000
LVL 37

Assisted Solution

bbao earned 75 total points
ID: 41830843
> I blocked it in the host file, but the browsers still redirect for that page when I start them.

the host file doesn't help here at all if the hijacker software uses IP addrssing directly.

> I have the problem with internet explorer, firefox, chrome and opera.

that basically means the malware has been installed and running (still active) on your computer. it might be initially injected by IE using an unsolicited ActiveX control but then implanted itself into your system once the marlicious binary code was executed at privilege rights (I guess your account is an admin, right?).

which version of Windows are you using?

anyway first try disabling all add-ons in IE, Chrome, Firefox and Opera and all unknown Auto Start items of Windows using MSCONFIG, then restart your computer and boot into Windows Safe Mode with networking support. Open a non-IE browser to see if the start page is still hijacked one. if yes, try changing it and see if it still comes back automatically.

let us know your test result.
LVL 25

Assisted Solution

by:Dr. Klahn
Dr. Klahn earned 75 total points
ID: 41830935
Restore the system to the most recent Restore Point prior to when the problem occurred.
LVL 48

Assisted Solution

dbrunton earned 75 total points
ID: 41831146
What operating system are you running?

Do you have anything loaded in your Startup folder?
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LVL 20

Author Comment

ID: 41831223
I will try your suggestions tonight when i am home. Until then here are some answers:

“the host file doesn't help here at all if the hijacker software uses IP addrssing directly”
I realized that, but at least the content is not shown any more.
My account is admin on that PC indeed.
I am using Win 8.1 64bit.
I disabled all the add-ons on all browsers and there is nothing on Auto-Start. I tried to reset all the browsers. After cleaning and the reset of browsers only Chrome became clean and does show that problem anymore.
I did not try yet the safe mode; I forgot about it, I will try tonight.

@Dr. Klahn
I never liked system restore and I do not want it. I prefer it as last solution. The reason is that I play with different programs, sometimes often and are too many changes which a system restore cannot remember as I do not make a regularly backup/save point for the system.

I use Win 8.1 64bit.
There is nothing in Startup folder.

I tried also 2 antiviruses and several antispyware, anti-adware, anti-malware and it is nothing detected. That is the strange part. So it seems somehow attached to the browser. If it would be an active malware inside Windows and tries to reach that page no matter what browser I use, then how come Chrome is now clean?
LVL 48

Assisted Solution

dbrunton earned 75 total points
ID: 41831239
Possible test.

Got Flash installed?  If so, try removing it.

Chrome uses its own version of Flash.  The others use Adobe Flash.
LVL 16

Accepted Solution

Dirk Mare earned 125 total points
ID: 41831327
use kaspersky rescue disk or bitdeffender rescue disk
quick google you can finf both of them and the tutorials

download iso install to USB or burn on CD
boot from CD/USB follow all the prompts
download latest definitions
scan pc

reset all browser settings

LVL 20

Author Comment

ID: 41832514
SpyHunter detected next:
Conduit search
If I delete sessionstore.js what do I lose except all the tabs and history?
I except that will solve the Firefox problem.
LVL 20

Author Comment

ID: 41832547
Removed Flash.
Still the same problem.
LVL 20

Author Comment

ID: 41832567
Restarted in safe mode.
The same problem.
If I remove all the tabs from Firefox and I set Show My Home Page when Firefox starts and I set My Home Page as, then that home page is hijacked. When Firefox starts it jumps to that , the same in safe mode, with firefox, opera and IE. Only Chrome is now clean.
LVL 20

Author Comment

ID: 41832594
I have made important progress.
Now I have also IE and Firefox clean.
I used next cleaner
I had to uncheck at the bottom "Exclude add-ons with a good rating", reset browser and set the home page to Google.
I downloaded Kaspersky Rescue CD and Rufus to make USB bootable, but I did not try them yet.
Now I need only Opera to be cleaned.

I could uninstall and reinstall Opera.
Other suggestions?

Assisted Solution

davidanders earned 75 total points
ID: 41832607
HijackThis is available from FileHippo, MajorGeeks, and BleepingComputer.
I have used it successfully on WinXP. It supposedly runs on Win8.
Getting advice from an online expert is recommended.
LVL 20

Author Comment

ID: 41832616
I uninstalled Opera, deleted user data and reinstalled latest version of Opera.
Now is clean.
Seems all browsers are clean now and the problem solved.
I will let this question open for several days to see if everything remains clean.
LVL 28

Assisted Solution

serialband earned 75 total points
ID: 41833699
HijackThis! should really be downloaded from SourceForge where the current latest vesion resides.  Don't send people to download aggregators, especially FileHippo.
LVL 20

Author Closing Comment

ID: 41839664
Thank you for your suggestions.
It seems I am clean now.

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