Re: Spyware problems

From: Chuck (none_at_example.net)
Date: 10/01/04


Date: 1 Oct 2004 13:40:12 -0500

On Fri, 1 Oct 2004 10:51:45 -0700, "Rosslyn"
<anonymous@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote:

>There is this company called "smart Security" that has
>somehow gotten into my computer and set up residence. My
>desktop has changed and I can't get rid of there icon. If
>I click on it, it takes me to there website where there is
>no way of clicking off of it. It has affected my
>computer's operation. How can I get rid of it? I've
>tried spyware and virus removal and also retoring to a
>previous point. Nothing helps. What can I do?
>
>Rosslyn

Rosslyn,

What spyware removal tools did you use? Browser hijacks can be very problematic
to remove; generally HijackThis and expert advice is essential. If you use HJT,
Please post a link to your log posts here.

Start by downloading each of the following free tools:
AdAware <http://www.lavasoftusa.com/>
CWShredder <http://www.majorgeeks.com/download4086.html>
CoolWWWSearch.SmartSearch (v1/v2) MiniRemoval
<http://www.majorgeeks.com/download4113.html>
HijackThis <http://www.majorgeeks.com/download.php?det=3155>
LSP-Fix and WinsockXPFix <http://www.cexx.org/lspfix.htm>
Spybot S&D <http://www.safer-networking.org/index.php?page=download>
Stinger <http://us.mcafee.com/virusInfo/default.asp?id=stinger>

Create a separate folder for HijackThis, such as C:\HijackThis - copy the
downloaded file there. AdAware and Spybot S&D have install routines - run them.
The other downloaded programs can be copied into, and run from, any convenient
folder.

First, run Stinger. Have it remove any problems found.

Next, close all Internet Explorer and Outlook windows, and run
CoolWWWSearch.SmartSearchMiniRemoval, then CWShredder. Have the latter fix all
problems found.

Next, run AdAware. First update it, configure for full scan
(<http://www.lavahelp.com/howto/fullscan/>), then scan. When scanning finishes,
remove all Critical Objects found.

Next, run Spybot S&D. First update it, then run a scan ("Check for problems").
Trust Spybot, and delete everything ("Fix Problems") that is displayed in Red.

Then, run HijackThis ("Scan"). Do NOT make any changes immediately. Save the
HJT Log.
<http://forums.spywareinfo.com/index.php?showtopic=227>
<http://www1.spywareinfo.com/articles/hijacked/prevent.php>

Finally, have your HJT log interpreted by experts at one or more of the
following security forums (and please post a link to your forum posts, here):
Aumha: <http://forum.aumha.org/index.php>
Net-Integration: <http://forums.net-integration.net/>
Spyware Info: <http://forums.spywareinfo.com/>
Spyware Warrior: <http://spywarewarrior.com/index.php>
Tom Coyote: <http://forums.tomcoyote.org/>

If removal of any spyware affects your ability to access the internet (some
spyware builds itself into the network software, and its removal may damage your
network), run LSP-Fix and / or WinsockXPFIx.

Finally, improve your chances for the future.

Harden your browser. There are various websites which will check for
vulnerabilities, here are three which I use.
http://www.jasons-toolbox.com/BrowserSecurity/
http://bcheck.scanit.be/bcheck/
https://testzone.secunia.com/browser_checker/

Block Internet Explorer ActiveX scripting from hostile websites (Restricted
Zone).
<https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/ehowes/www/main.htm> (IE-SpyAd)

Block known dangerous scripts from installing.
<http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html>

Block known spyware from installing.
<http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareguard.html>

Make sure that the spyware detection / protection products that you use are
reliable:
http://www.spywarewarrior.com/rogue_anti-spyware.htm

Harden your operating system. Check at least monthly for security updates.
http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/

Block possibly dangerous websites with a Hosts file. Three Hosts file sources I
use:
http://www.accs-net.com/hosts/get_hosts.html
http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm
(The third is included, and updated, with Spybot (see above)).

Maintain your Hosts file (merge / eliminate duplicate entries) with:
eDexter <http://www.accs-net.com/hosts/get_hosts.html>
Hostess <http://accs-net.com/hostess/>

Secure your operating system, and applications. Don't use, or leave activated,
any accounts with names or passwords with trivial (guessable) values. Don't use
an account with administrative authority, except when you're intentionally doing
administrative tasks.

Use common sense. Yours. Don't install software based upon advice from unknown
sources. Don't install free software, without researching it carefully. Don't
open email unless you know who it's from, and how and why it was sent.

Educate yourself. Know what the risks are. Stay informed. Read Usenet, and
various web pages that discuss security problems. Check the logs from the other
layers regularly, look for things that don't belong, and take action when
necessary.

Cheers,
Chuck
Paranoia comes from experience - and is not necessarily a bad thing.