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>  Spyware Problems, On Windows Operating Systems
   
 
ringwraith
  Post#1 | Dec 15 2004, 18:35 + Quote Post Go to the top of the page
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Having spent a significant amount of wasted time dealing with my first real infection of spyware, I thought I could document some of it here.

Hopefully you will never have to use this, but here goes...

First of all here is a link about one guy's experience which I read some time ago, but found it very interesting... Article

In the article they mention a group of anti-spyware heroes who operate this very useful site www.aumha.org

On that site they have several spyware detection programs that seem pretty good. I tried all of the ones that let you scan for free and noticed that they have varying degrees of detection strength.

I always had SpyBot on my computer which I thought was pretty good, considering it's free, but when I found that it couldn't get rid of something called 'IGetNet' and 'Common Hijacker' I figured it was time to move on.

Aumha.org have a comparison of some of the more popular antispyware programs and at the top of the list is XoftSpy which I found in my own comparison to be the best.

You can use this type of software to scan for free, but then they want you to pay. XoftSpy is $20 (probably in American dollars) if you buy it online.

AdAware SE definitely deserves mention here too. It's a poplular tool and is free, like SpyBot. The search strength is very good, and you don't have to pay to have it clean your system. Unfortunately in my case it could not get rid of the adware that was installed on my computer on its own. I had to consult with higher powers.

There are two other options. Assuming you can access the computer, you can either take on the registry or reinstall your operating system.

First I'll describe the registry option. You should only try this if you feel comfortable messing around with your computer!

The free scan of XoftSpy tells you which registry keys this stuff is stored in. AdAware will do this for you too. In my case it got rid of quite a bit of the 'annoyances' except for the really tricky ones as I mentioned.

If you're wondering, what the registry is, it is a database that exists in all forms of Windows since win95 in one form or another.
All of your application, system and user settings are stored there.

In Windows XP and Windows 2000 you can go to Start, Run and type regedit to edit the Windows registry database. Before you do anything go the registry menu of the registry and choose export. You can save it to some location on your hard drive. This is a backup of your registry which you can fall back on if you screw everything up. To restore it later you can simply open regedit and choose import from the registry menu and point it to where you put the backup file. I believe you can also double click on the registry file that you backed up to restore the whole thing too.

For more information on backing up and restoring registry databases for the windows 9x platforms, here is a link that describes the behaviour fairly well and includes information about third party software which can help. In a nutshell, Win 95 creates a backup of some files every time you boot. Win98 and WinME create some backup files once per day only. The problem with these files is that they will likely contain the same problem that you started with, but at least you can recover your OS if you really make a mess of it.

Registry stuff

That being said, you can either browse through the registry keys or search. Browsing works like windows explorer, with folders that you can open and registry keys instead of files. The other way is to type Ctrl F and do a search for something like 'value blaster' or whatever the spy detection software told you has infected your system. Just look for the keys and folders that relate to those programs and delete them. Once you've found one you can click F3 to search for the same thing. Lots of times there are many entries.

I cannot stress enough to be very careful. it is really easy to do damage to your operating system this way. Try using google to find out a bit about what you're deleting before doing so if you're unsure. In my experience, I was able to get rid of quite a few things using this method.

The other solution if you don't want to buy spyware protection is the painful process of backing up your stuff and reinstalling everything.
I won't explain how to reinstall, because that is a very lengthy topic and it depends on what OS you have. Some things that you may want to preserve before you do this are your internet browser bookmarks, your email, desktop wallpaper, my documents etc.

In internet explorer you can go to file, import and export to save a copy of your bookmarks to a safe place. Email can also be exported. Check your email program documentation or google for help doing this, it can be tricky. Wallpaper, My Documents and any other files that you have stored on your C drive should be put in a safe place.
Take the time to go through it, because you don't want to lose anything important or that you will miss.

You can burn it to CD, move it to another computer over a network or onto an external USB drive. It's a good idea to backup all of your stuff on other partitions too, like an E or F drive if you have them, but not usually necessary.

For GTA fans, be aware that your game saves are stored on C: in the my documents area by default, even if you have the game installed somewhere else so definitely back those up! It's in the My Documents, which is located in C:\Documents and Settings.

In my case I have been hacking away at my registry and using different tools and suggestions from Aumha.org for two days out of pure stubborness and the desire to conquer this 'annoyance'. I finally managed to rid myself of the adware without reinstalling. Here is the link to the topic that finally saved the day. There are some tools mentioned that are specially designed for dealing with the VX2 variant that my computer was infected with.

Let me know if you have any questions or notice anything that I left out and I'll update this post. It can be a very complicated matter and probably most easily fixed by purchasing software to defend yourself before you even run into a nasty situation. Some members of this forum have already submitted some further wisdom below.

Also if you're looking for a quick fix for a computer that has been infected by a virus try this stinger program. It's free!

Stinger

Good luck and may the force be with you.

This post has been edited by ringwraith: Dec 18 2004, 03:03


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Ephonetica
  Post#2 | Dec 15 2004, 18:37 + Quote Post Go to the top of the page
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How can you forget Ad-Aware?


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Nico
  Post#3 | Dec 15 2004, 18:59 + Quote Post Go to the top of the page
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ad-aware comes to good use when you've just visited a bunch of underground sites yes.gif
man those sites are packed with that sh*t


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ringwraith
  Post#4 | Dec 15 2004, 23:48 + Quote Post Go to the top of the page
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QUOTE(DeRCT13 @ Dec 15 2004, 14:37 )
How can you forget Ad-Aware?
*


You're right Ad-Aware is very good software as well, and it deserves an honourable mention. It was listed in the top 4 at aumha.org.

- Edit - Yep you're right Ad-Aware is free, sorry for the misinformation. It was a very similar program I was looking at. Last night's repair work has left me dazed and confused! blink.gif

This post has been edited by ringwraith: Dec 16 2004, 02:04


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Mister V
  Post#5 | Dec 16 2004, 00:22 + Quote Post Go to the top of the page
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umm. Ad-Aware Personal is free. which makes it cool.

Good tutorial. thanks ring praise.gif

(this deserves a PIN) shifty.gif


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ringwraith
  Post#6 | Dec 16 2004, 18:17 + Quote Post Go to the top of the page
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Glad you like it and I hope you never have to use it! By the way I've made some changes to the original post. There will likely be more, including some links to beating the VX2 variance and some of the additional freeware tools that I have had to use so far. Hopefully I can declare victory. wallbash.gif


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Mister V
  Post#7 | Dec 16 2004, 19:57 + Quote Post Go to the top of the page
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good work thumbsup.gif

anyway...i wonder to what sites have you been to get this number of horrible spyware whistling.gif what programs youve installed rolleyes.gif


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Ephonetica
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QUOTE(Mister V @ Dec 16 2004, 01:22 )
umm. Ad-Aware Personal is free. which makes it cool.

Good tutorial. thanks ring praise.gif

(this deserves a PIN) shifty.gif
*


been there, done that


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ringwraith
  Post#9 | Dec 16 2004, 21:28 + Quote Post Go to the top of the page
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QUOTE(Mister V @ Dec 16 2004, 15:57 )
anyway...i wonder to what sites have you been to get this number of horrible spyware whistling.gif what programs youve installed rolleyes.gif
*



It was from visiting someone's free website. Nothing illicit, just someone's webpage. I went there, saw a bunch of popups that my blocker couldn't deal with and ended up in this situation.


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Rikimaru
  Post#10 | Dec 17 2004, 07:38 + Quote Post Go to the top of the page
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Use Mozilla/Firefox and never have spywear/adware issues again.
 
ringwraith
  Post#11 | Dec 17 2004, 17:45 + Quote Post Go to the top of the page
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I've heard good things about Firefox. Haven't tried it yet.


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Mister V
  Post#12 | Dec 17 2004, 21:14 + Quote Post Go to the top of the page
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downloading it right now. oh, its russian, thats why it has a good anti-ware defense. right happy.gif

a question - it doesnt conflict with IE6 i hope?


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I am shocked.

Anyways I scan my computer every week or two. I usually find cookies. I just delete everything.

Once I accidently deleted a file called winlog.dll so I had to reinstall windows.

Tips: Don't go on to sites you don't know to download things
Don't visit pr0n sites
 
Mister V
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QUOTE(MasterChief @ Dec 18 2004, 02:11 )
I am shocked.

Anyways I scan my computer every week or two. I usually find cookies. I just delete everything.

Once I accidently deleted a file called winlog.dll so I had to reinstall windows.

Tips: Don't go on to sites you don't know to download things
Don't visit pr0n sites
*


wuhahaha you deleted a windows file laugh.gif

bad tips, really yes.gif whistling.gif


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ringwraith
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Yeah google it before you delete yes.gif


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Gruntarus
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QUOTE(ringwraith @ Dec 17 2004, 20:10 )
Yeah google it before you delete  yes.gif
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WTF are you talking about?
 
ringwraith
  Post#17 | Dec 18 2004, 16:47 + Quote Post Go to the top of the page
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I mean do a little bit of research with google before you start deleting system files. biggrin.gif


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BigCheese
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I have read that the best anti-spyware programme is made by a company called giant software. Apparently, you have to pay a subscription, but I'm not sure now since Microsoft have recently bought the company.


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Mister V
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QUOTE(BigCheese @ Dec 21 2004, 01:32 )
I have read that the best anti-spyware programme is made by a company called giant software. Apparently, you have to pay a subscription, but I'm not sure now since Microsoft have recently bought the company.
*


haha, well guess what, theyll be making a rival to Norton, too. if Nortion isnt theirs yet blink.gif

one of teh best antiviruses is Kaspersky...you can get the personal version for free yes.gif


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ringwraith
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Yeah you're right BC the acquisition of Giant is all over the Microsoft and Giant websites now. Maybe they'll try to integrate it into the operating system. But they'll probably want people to pay extra for it like third party software. Hopefully MS doesn't find a way to screw it up, if it's really good to start with.

Norton is still owned by Symantec. It looks like Kasperesky scans incoming email. That's pretty cool


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Mister V
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actuallly the pros say Kaspersky Internet Security pwns everything...i havent tried tho


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ringwraith
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This thread probably belongs in the new Computer/Chat Help section.


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IKHAM
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Aye. wink.gif

---topic moved---


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Microsoft Anti-Spyware - Excellent Program!
 
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QUOTE(The Hunter @ Jan 20 2005, 09:03 )
Microsoft Anti-Spyware - Excellent Program!
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yeah its great


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spywares total bs
it doesnt mess up your computer
it actually made mine better


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..spyware will *not* make your computer better.


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QUOTE(Meldince @ Jan 24 2005, 11:06 )
..spyware will *not* make your computer better.
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yeah thats right

*Cough*

it will make your computer slow down


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thats the wierdest thing in my life. unless you actually want the XXX-Search toolbar to search for pr0n, it will complicate your life, wouldnt it? huh.gif


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Such toolbars cause nothing but trouble. I hate all toolbars actually.


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